Safe driving is an endless game so keep learning new tips. Braking is an essential part of driving, just as you would say that silence is an integral part of any conversation. You should learn how to brake smoothly as can’t drive a car that cannot brake or talk to anyone who cannot stop to listen.
If you are accelerating a car, eventually you are going to slow down or stop, whether you are a beginner or you have been on the wheels for 3 decades. You better not drive a vehicle with no working brakes. If you cannot stop when you want to, do not move! However, you also wish for the stopping to be as smooth as possible, so you should apply the brake properly.
So how do you brake smoothly every time you want to stop? Braking smoothly is a fine art that takes time to master. At first, you would not be the smoothest brake puller around, but it would get into you with practice.
Once you learn this skill, your car will be less stressed because it won’t experience the warping on the brake rotor surface caused by the much heat from abrupt braking. Therefore, the car will also last longer. Your passengers will enjoy a comfortable, smooth ride free of sudden jerky stops that result in beverage spills or knocking of foreheads on front seats.
The following are the ways to follow each time you want to brake smoothly:
1. Good Estimation
One way to brake smoothly is by using a good estimation: If you do not estimate correctly, you will have to press your brakes really hard or cruise at a low speed while riding your brake for a very long time. With the correct estimation, you can smoothly press the pedal.
Always avoid braking until the last minute. Make it a habit to start braking early so that you can brake smoothly. So it would help if you mentally calculated the distance to the spot you want to stop completely and start to stop early enough.
2. Keep Safe Following Distance
You will have to slam on your brakes should the car in front suddenly stop. When you keep an appropriate following distance, you can have the time to pull the brakes smoothly without slamming. Hence, choose the right following distance that suits your speed, road condition, tire condition, and weather.
How do you even know the right following distance? You should know your stopping or braking distance to determine the right following distance. The stopping or braking distance is the distance your car travels before completely stopping after you apply the brake.
3. Understand How Your Car Responds
You need to fully understand how your car responds to braking. Every car behaves differently. Cars have different weights, levels of braking power, and brake pedal response. If you press the brake pedal just slightly, will your car come to a stop, or slow down or brake hard or brake easily? Do you have to push the brake much harder? If you are going 50 KM per hour, do you have to push the brake pedal harder for the car to stop?
No matter what an experienced driver you are, you cannot brake smoothly on faulty brakes.
Speeding contributes to rough or smooth braking. If you are driving fast, you need more force to stop the car. You need to understand the grabbing power for every speed.
A larger car requires more force to come to a complete stop, while a small car will need less force. For instance, if you belatedly see a stop sign and apply the brake while driving a large truck, it is going to be a rough stopping.
4. Use Your Right Foot To Operate The Pedal
This is not just a piece of advice for the beginners but also for the experienced drivers who still use their left foot to brake. Old habits die hard, which is why some adults need to return to driving schools. Has pressing the brake with your left foot become your habit?
First, it is dangerous to use your left foot to apply the brake because the brake pedal is designed to be pressed by the right foot. Left-foot braking cannot lead to a smooth stopping because the left foot is not as sure as the right foot. The position of the brake favors the right foot. Again, it is terrible for your car engine because you put much stress on the engine.
5. Use the Pivot Method
You can use the Pivot Method to brake smoothly. How do you use the Pivot Method to brake smoothly?
- First, place your right foot heel on the floor near the brake pedal with your ball of the foot lightly touching the center of the pedal.
- Ensure the weight of your foot is on the floor as you pivot it forward to apply light pressure to your brake pedal. Some drivers are used to leaning the foot into the pedal, stressing the pedal with unnecessary weight.
- Increase the pressure gradually until the car comes to a near-complete stop.
- Slightly withdraw your foot off the brake prior to coming to a full stop so that your car does not bounce back too hard.
6. Avoid Braking On Corners
The only situation you should brake on a corner is in an emergency. When you brake at the same time you are turning the steering wheel, your car tires suffer. Again, the tires can lose their grip on the road surface, leading to sliding, which is not what we consider smooth braking.
The way out is to turn the corner before braking.
What is the most effective way to brake?
When you’re about to turn, let off the gas pedal and slowly apply the brakes. When you start turning, lift your foot off the brake and gradually press down on the gas pedal again.
Is it better to brake quickly or slowly?
Slow braking is recommended, as it’s more gentle on the rotors and brake pads. It preserves the quality of the car’s braking system and reduces overall maintenance costs. On the other hand, fast braking raises heat and friction, resulting in wear and tear.
How many seconds should you brake?
It takes approximately 1.5 seconds to realize a possible risk in front of your vehicle. It takes another 1.5 seconds to react, hit on the brakes, and start slowing down. That said, you’ll want to give yourself 3 or more seconds between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
How to brake smoothly is one of the essential lessons you get to learn at Pierre Paul Driving School, which is in the Brooklyn part of New York. We care not just about your safety but also your car’s health. Join us today to learn more.
Our instructors go out of their way to impart the best driving habits you need to stay safe on the road.