There is nothing scarier than your brakes going out while driving. You have very few options if this happens to you. However, you are not in the red just yet. In fact, knowing what to do if your brakes go out is a part of the defensive driving method. The goal would be to not let this happen in the first place. You do that by getting regular tune-ups and keeping up-to-date on your car’s maintenance schedule. We have to keep in mind that we can control how we react when things happen that our out of our control.
Knowing what to do if your brakes go out is very important for all drivers. The last thing you want to do is panic your way into an accident.
Panicking Won’t Help
This is easier said than done but that doesn’t make it any less valid. You should make sure that you don’t panic and remember everything you read here. People often make major mistakes when they panic or rush their way through a situation. We search for someone to blame, deal with shock, and those take time away from focusing on the fix. Take a deep breath and allow yourself to think clearly.
Get to Safety
The most important thing you will need to do is get to safety. That means calmly and safely getting over to either side of the road, to an open lane, or the emergency lane. This is the first and most crucial step. The last thing you want to do is slam into another car. However, this isn’t always possible. It is important that you treat this like any other lane change. Move onto the next step if you can’t safely get to the side of the road. You can come back to this step once you have slowed the car down.
Your car has an idle speed that keeps fuel flowing even without your foot on the gas. You will want to make that stop as much as possible. You could do this by putting your car in neutral or downshifting as much as possible. This will slow you down drastically. However, it won’t stop your car altogether, there is still work to be done.
Most cars come with dual brakes today. That means there are two different braking systems in your car, one for the front tires and one for the back tires. This means you should pump your brakes as the first step. The goal would be to get enough brake fluid to the remaining brake system. One brake system will most likely still be working, just not as well as it would if both systems were up and running. Pumping the brakes could be effective in slowing you down or even stopping completely.
The emergency brake can really make a difference here. However, knowing what to do if your brakes go out can only partially be cured with the emergency brake. It is important that you pull slowly on the emergency brake. You will also want to keep the wheel as straight as possible during this step. The emergency brake will certainly work as it is separate from your car’s main braking system. Just keep in mind that while it is an emergency brake it is a slow emergency brake.
Turn off Your Car
You can not turn off your car until you have successfully stopped it. This is when you would want to go back up to the get-to-safety step. You have slowed down and that’s great but your car will still move forward if you press on the gas. This is why you will need to get to safety and turn your car off. You could take a breath, calm yourself, and start to think about the next step once the car is off. Insurance companies offer roadside assistance which you can utilize here. The important thing is that you and the other drivers on the road are safe. However, don’t forget the most important aspect of knowing what to do if your brakes go out. Get your brakes checked and fixed.