What to do if your brakes fail

Every driver should know whether or not they have anti-lock brakes or regular brakes. If you have a logo that lights up whenever you start your car that says ABS then you have anti-lock brakes, if not, you have regular brakes.

If your brakes go out, you want to do three things. First, downshift to a lower gear. Second, if you have regular brakes pump the brake pedal fast and hard to build up brake fluid pressure. If the brakes haven’t started working after three or four pumps go on the step three which is use the parking brake. Gradually apply the parking brake and be prepared for the car to skid.

If none of the brakes work, put the car into a low gear and steer in a safe direction until the car completely rolls to a stop. Don’t turn the steering wheel too much but just enough to avoid obstacles. If you’re at highway speeds it may be advisable to scrap your car against the guard rail or divider using the friction to slow the car down. If you do this, come in at a shallow angle and gently rub the car against it. In order to warn other drivers that your brakes are out you can honk your horn and flash your lights

If you have anti-lock brakes, you should practice sudden stops on both dry and wet pavement in a safe off street situation. When using anti-lock brakes the rule of thumb is to press the pedal all the way to the floor. You will feel a strong vibration in the pedal which is a sign that the ABS is working properly.


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