What To Do (and Not Do) If Brakes Fail while Driving

August 11, 2020

Pumping on the brakes and realizing that they are not responding snaps you back into a cold hard reality as car brakes are like the guardian angel of the vehicle and you. Driving a car is close to being our default modes since it is a hypnotic activity for most drivers.

Your vehicle is not immune to brake failure since it can happen to anybody behind the wheel. If your brakes fade over driving through water or a mechanical issue, your brakes could stop working.

Another common cause of brake failure is when there is no brake fluid. But it would warn you by flashing the brake warning light on your dashboard.

 Experiencing sudden brake failure is unlikely to happen. Here, we will go over some of the safety driving tips to take if you experience brake failure.

1.      Keep in Mind What Not to do

Bringing the car to a halt requires a calm mind under the overwhelming pressure to maintain full control of the vehicle. Try to remember these points in case of such an emergency:

  • Do Not Panic

The few seconds of this drama that seem like hours in such a scenario are crucial to your safety. Therefore, stay clear-headed by inhaling and exhaling deeply and slowly.

  • Do Not be too Quick to Downshift

The first reaction known to qualified drivers worldwide when experiencing brake failure is downshifting to a lower gear.

While you shift speeds, try to change them orderly like from gear 4 to 3. But moving from speed 4 to 1 could cause the car to skid out of control.

  • Never Turn off the Vehicle

Also, this could result in skidding since it is not a recommended safety driving tip. It completely locks the steering wheel or disables it, making you have less control over the situation.

  • Do Not be Quick to Apply the Emergency Brake

The emergency brake is the last option to consider after all the others have failed, as this is a recommended safety driving tip.

Just after downshifting and stepping on the brake pedal is then you are allowed to pull the emergency brake.

2.      What to do when Brakes fail

  • Stay Calm While Taking Your Foot Off The Gas

It is considered the first thing to do since you would not want to increase the speed if your brakes are damaged. According to Top Driver, it is known to be a life safety driving tip to drivers around the globe.

  • Turn on Your Hazard Lights

If you have a second to do this, your hazard lights will communicate to other drivers that you are having a problem and steer them off. Also, honk your horn if some of the drivers do not react to the hazard lights.

  • Slowly Downshift

For manual car owners, this is the time to shift to a lower gear. Automatic car drivers will only have to take their foot off the gas pedal. Setting the car to neutral is not an option as this will take away your car’s ability to slow down through engine braking.

 It works only if the vehicle is in gear. Downshifting decreases the car’s momentum allowing the driver to control it calmly.

  • Try Pumping the Brakes Again

Dual braking systems that independently control the rear and front brakes are equipped in most modern vehicles. Aggressively pumping the brakes may engage half of the brakes to slow you down to a halt.

It also helps you find out if your car has a standard or an antilock brake system.

The required procedure is to firmly step on the brake as you continue to steer or use short taps to pump the brake. That said, check your car next time you start it up to know which type of brake you have.

  • Cautiously Apply the Emergency Brake

It will not bring you to a halt, but it will inevitably slow you down significantly. One might pull up the lever or press down the pedal depending on the type of car you are driving. While engaging the emergency brake, do it carefully to stay in full control.

  • Steer Yourself to Safety

As the car slows down, direct it to the side of the road. Stopping the vehicle will be a relief.

  • Have Your Brakes Thoroughly Looked at

Once you are safe, you will have your brakes checked out and repaired. That also includes taking your car to the shop for repairs. It is also advisable to have your brakes checked out regularly.

Brakes are a vital part of a vehicle. Therefore, having less or no control over them could be fateful. Thanks to the discussed points losing control over your brakes is now not a horrible thing that one cannot control.

If you wish to learn more about safety driving tips, book driving lessons at Pierre Paul Driving School, a known establishment. Call us now at 718-576-6277 to schedule an appointment.