What to Do If Your Brakes Fail While Driving
No one wants to deal with brake failure, but it does happen and you should know what to do if your vehicle’s brakes go out when you are driving. Knowledge can prevent some very serious accidents, so you need to know these things.
When Brakes Fail in a Regular Vehicle
It can be terrifying to step on the brake pedal and find that it no longer works. Try not to panic in this situation and focus on stopping safely. This can be done by downshifting in a manual transmission vehicle. Automatic cars will shift down when you decelerate.
You can pump the brake pedal fast if you have normal brakes. In antilock brakes, hold the pedal to the floor. If the system has completely failed, these steps may not do anything, but it’s always worth trying. If this doesn’t work, then you can carefully apply the parking brake, a little at a time to slow the vehicle. It will probably go into a skid, so be ready.
If none of these methods works, you should steer away from other vehicles and aim for a place that will slow you down. An emergency ramp, grassy area, or even the guard rail, can help create friction that will force the car to slow. Enough friction and you should be able to stop.
When Brakes Fail in a Truck
Most larger trucks use air brakes, which means there are more complicated situations that will result in the loss of brakes. Usually, it is due to user error, such as riding the brakes and overheating the brake drum. In any case, if the brakes do fail, what should you do?
The first step is to move to the edge of the road and activate the emergency brake. It’s essential that you prepare for this as it will cause the truck to pull very hard and you need to have control by holding tightly to the steering wheel with both your hands. If possible, you should activate the brake when no other vehicle is close by.
The next step is to find an escape ramp or area to pull over that will help slow the vehicle down. These are often filled with soft sand or gravel to cause friction and will help you stop safely.
Regardless of the type of vehicle you’re driving, be sure to put on all emergency lights and honk your horn to let other vehicles know to get out of the way. While you should steer away from them, this may be impossible in some areas where there is too much traffic and letting them know you’re coming through may give enough warning for other drivers to move aside.
Brake failure can be extremely dangerous, not only to you, but to other drivers on the road. Be sure to schedule your brake check with Transcare on a regular basis to avoid the possibility of brakes failing. Contact us today to get a quote.