Mistakes to Avoid When Your Car’s Brakes Suddenly Stop Working
There’s nothing more nerve-wracking than when you suddenly realize your car’s brakes aren’t working while you’re driving down the road. But what’s even more nerve-wracking is when you don’t know what to do next. And while we can’t guarantee that you’ll remain in one piece when you follow our tips here in detail, we can at least assure you that you won’t have too many regrets about what you shouldn’t have done later on.
Here are the common mistakes you need to avoid when your brake suddenly croaks on you:
Mistake #1: You panic.
We know how difficult it is not to panic, but panicking will really make things worse. Instead of panicking, focus on the road ahead.
Mistake #2: You don’t warn other drivers.
Quickly move to the edge of the road, and if your signal indicator is working, use them to warn other drivers around. If the car is driving fast, honk your horn to better warn the other drivers to stay out of your way.
Mistake #3: You forget to inspect your brake first.
Before you keep pushing the brake pedal to the floor (to build up the brake pressure), make sure that there’s nothing obstructing it first. For all you know, there’s a half-forgotten, rolled-up McDonald’s paper bag stuck somewhere on the pedal’s side.
Mistake #4: You don’t downshift to a lower gear.
Downshifting to a lower gear lowers your speed significantly, giving you more time to work on your brakes.
If you can’t downshift your gear, try to look for open fields or areas with lots of grass. Driving through them can provide enough resistance to lessen your vehicle’s speed. Another option is to scrape your car’s sides deliberately against the guard rail or divider to slow your car down.
Mistake #5: You neglect to use your parking or hand brake.
When all else fails, use your hand brakes. Note that pulling it hard can lock your wheels firmly in place. When this happens, your vehicle might skid, so prepare to take your foot off the accelerator and remove your foot on the brake. Avoid moving the steering wheel as much as possible, and hold the wheel firmly until you feel that your tires’ grip is normal again.