Things to ‘Do’ and ‘Not’ to while a brake failure

  • Nov 07, 2017

Brake failure is something which most of the drivers don’t even consider as a probable risk factor that should be checked before heading towards a highway. We have seen a couple of times how brake failures are tackled by heroes in movies but, what should a normal driver do in such situation is still not known to many. The rate of accidents due to brake failures has increased significantly in past few years and if you are still not aware of what could be done when facing a brake failure, this article will guide you with ‘Do’s and ‘Don’ts’ in an effective manner. But, before we jump to the steps, here is what one must do to prevent occurring any hazardous situation.

Preventive Steps

The statement, ‘Prevention is better than cure’ hold importance in almost every situation. In order to ensure that your car’s braking system is working just fine, try to do a brief inspection before hitting the road. Although a brake failure can occur after regular check-ups, still it will help you in analyzing if your brakes need any work to be done or not to a great extent. Check your brake pads, lines, rotors and brake fluid level. This will help you in understanding if any of the listed parts need servicing.

Physical Inspection of Brakes

Ensure that rotors are free from fatigue or unexpected blemishes on them. Brake pads should be in workable condition while the rotors should be free from any sort of major cracks. If you notice any major crack, it is a wise step to get it replaced on an immediate basis. Top up the brake fluid if it is lower than the usual. One should get the brake fluid changed within 24 months to keep the performance intact.

Things To Do

  1. Stay Calm

Though this is the most difficult task in such situation, it is the most important too. Panicking will further worsen the situation, leading to more mistakes. By staying calm, you can focus on the possible ways that can be implemented to stop the vehicle just in time. It will also help you in analyzing the surroundings so that you don’t involve others as well in a mishap.

2) Pump Brakes

Pumping Brakes

While starting with different ways to stop your car, try to first pump brakes frequently. There are chances that air has taken place in the system, which might have blocked the braking. With frequent pumping, the air will move out and your car might come to a halt due to braking.

3) Slowly Pull The Handbrake

Pulling The Handbrake

If you have discovered that the above-mentioned step has not done any good, it is likely that your braking system has really failed. In such situation, you can try pulling the handbrake slowly. Depending on the speed of your car, the car can be brought to a complete stop while scrubbing off the speed through the regular pulling of handbrake in a steady manner. Ensure that you don’t end up locking your rear wheels as it will lead to losing control over the steering.

4) Engine Braking

Engine Braking

Nowadays, manual and automatic transmissions both get engine brake to scrub speed. This can be achieved by putting the engine to a lower gear and keeping the revs high, letting the speed drop naturally. But, make sure that you go in a sequence otherwise you will end up losing control over the car. In the automatic transmission, you have to go range by range at a time until the last gear, this means it is not very helpful in a serious situation and totally depends on how well you can maneuver through the traffic safely.

5) Rub The Car Against Guard Rail

If possible, then you can rub the car against a side wall or guard rails on the highways to take friction control over high speed. Even gravel and dirt can act helpful in such situations but make sure you dive in cautiously as it can also lead to losing control of the vehicle.

If a single step is not working then try a combination of two or more. Thinking clearly and quickly is what will make the real difference. So, decide better and take actions quickly.

Things Not To Do

  1. Turning Off The Engine

    Switching off the engine

    Apart from losing the brakes, you should not lose the control of the vehicle as it will be dangerous for others as well. Do not turn off the engine as it will not help you much. To make things worse for you, it will lock the steering, leaving vehicle going in just one direction.

  2. Don’t Pull The Handbrake Aggressively
    As stated above, pull the handbrake gently. Pulling it aggressively will lead to locking up the wheels, which will end up in losing the control over the vehicle. If you are in a state of panic, you might end up doing this very easily. Thus, it is very important to stay calm and keep your mind focused.

Failure of the braking system is a situation that nobody wants to be in but, nothing is fixed and you never know when you might face such situation. So, consider the things mentioned in the article and stay calm and focused to devise solutions to make your car stop.



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