Auto Safety: How to Deal with Sudden Brake Failure

Sudden brake failure is scary and dangerous. To avoid a serious traffic accident, quick thinking is critical. Most of the time, brake failure is avoidable. Sadly, many drivers neglect regular maintenance or ignore warning signs of forthcoming brake problems. Consider the following tips for safely maneuvering a vehicle when the brakes fail.

Be Observant to Problems – Rarely do brakes fail without notice. With this said, drivers should pay attention to noises or any driving changes. For example, if the brakes begin to squeal or you hear a loud grinding sound, get the vehicle maintenance. Furthermore, if a change in braking distance is noticed, or you detect other braking problems, do not delay in having the car checked by a mechanic.

What is the Traffic Situation? – If brakes fail, make an effort to avoid other vehicles. In this situation, quick thinking is needed. Quickly glance around and plan an escape route. To avoid a collision, you may need to quickly switch lanes or pull off the highway. If possible, avoid driving through an intersection. However, if this is unavoidable, sound the horn to alert and warn other drivers.

Down Shift to a Lower Gear – If driving at a moderate or high speed, down shifting may slow down the car. This way, you can turn off the roadway without skidding or flipping.

Pump the Brake – If the brake fluid is low or empty, this may result in brake failure. On the other hand, if a small amount of brake fluid remains, pumping the brakes swiftly may prompt the brakes to work. In the case of anti-lock brakes, pumping is ineffective. Instead, firmly press and hold down the brake pedal. This method will take the vehicle longer to stop.

Keep Steering – During moments of panic, some drivers have the tendency to stop steering and throw their hands in the air. By doing so, you will lose complete control of the vehicle. Maintain control of the vehicle to avoid an auto collision. If possible, pull into a parking lot or area with few vehicles.

Use the Parking Brake – Once you have removed yourself from high-traffic areas, use the emergency brake to stop the vehicle. Be prepared for a jolt or skidding.

Reverse the Vehicle – Reversing a moving vehicle is very damaging to the transmission. Yet, if you must decide between hitting a pedestrian and permanently damaging the transmission, opt for the lesser of two evils.

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