There is no doubt that brake failure is a frightening situation. Things are going fine until you realize you can’t stop your moving car. In many situations, this terrifying realization is accompanied by accidents and even death. Fortunately, it is possible to safely stop your car without the use of working brakes.
If your brakes fail, follow these tips:
- First, take your foot off the gas. You will need to stop by slowing down and you can’t do that with your foot on the gas.
- Next, pull over. Start pulling over to the side of the road or an exit. By pulling over to the side of the road or off the highway, you can avoid other drivers moving at high speeds.
- Pump your brakes. This may seem counterintuitive, but even if your brakes are failing, it may still be possible to pump your brake pedal to rebuild pressure. After pumping, push your brakes down to use the pressure you’ve built up and keep the pedal pushed down.
- Shift to a lower gear. By moving into a lower gear, your engine can help you slow. If you’re in an automatic, move down to 2 or 1. On a manual, simply downshift through the gears as you slow down.
- Use your emergency brake. This is exactly the kind of situation your emergency break is designed for. The emergency brake can stop a vehicle if your regular brakes aren’t working. The reason slowing down is recommended first is that using your emergency brake at high speeds can cause you to lose control. As you engage the emergency brake, keep the release button pressed down so that you can manage the pressure. Gently apply the emergency brake for a slow stop.
- Pull over into a safe spot. If you are unable to slow down or stop your vehicle, you may need to crash your car to stop the vehicle. If there are shrubs, bushes, tall grass, or sand those can slow your car down. Make sure to avoid trees, objects, or other vehicles.
Many drivers travel safely without incident, while others experience dangerous situations that call for knowledge and skill to stay safe. Losing your brakes can happen any day, at any time. Use these instructions so you are prepared to survive losing your brakes.