Experiencing brake failure while driving, especially at high speeds, is undoubtedly one of the most terrifying situations a driver can face. It’s essential to remain calm and take immediate actions to bring your vehicle to a safe stop. According to Mechanicbase, Here are immediate action you should take if you find yourself in such a predicament:
Stay Calm and Focused:
Panic can exacerbate the situation, making it even more dangerous. Deep breaths and a clear mind can help you make better decisions.
Pump the Brake Pedal:
If you suspect that your brakes have failed, the first step is to pump the brake pedal rapidly. This action can help to build up brake fluid pressure. If you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS), avoid pumping and apply steady pressure instead.
Downshift Your Vehicle:
Regardless of whether you’re driving an automatic or manual transmission, downshifting can help reduce speed. In a manual, shift to a lower gear, and for an automatic, use the ‘L’ or ‘2’ setting.
Use the Emergency Brake:
Also known as the parking brake, the emergency brake operates separately from the main brake system. Engage it slowly and firmly to avoid skidding. Remember, this brake isn’t as effective as the primary system, so it may take longer to bring the vehicle to a stop.
Swerve Safely, If Necessary:
If you’re quickly approaching a hazard, you might need to swerve. Ensure you check your mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes. It’s crucial to maintain control of the steering wheel to prevent losing control of the car.
Honk and Flash Your Lights:
Alert other drivers about your situation. The more they know, the more they can accommodate your car’s unpredictable movements.
Look for an Escape Route:
If you’re on a highway, aim for the shoulder or an exit. On city streets, look for open parking lots or wide streets. If you’re going downhill, search for an upward slope or a gravel shoulder to help slow down the car.
Turn Off the Engine, But Do It With Caution:
Turning off the engine can help in slowing down the car, but it may also disable power steering, making it harder to turn. If you choose this option, ensure you only turn the ignition to the “OFF” position, not “LOCK,” to avoid locking the steering wheel.
Once Stopped, Stay Inside
If you manage to bring your car to a stop, stay inside until you’re certain it’s safe to exit. Turn on your hazard lights, and if you have them, set up cones or warning triangles.