Brake Failure: How to Manage Loss of Stopping Power Safely

Brakes are a critical safety component of any vehicle. Without them, motorists wouldn't be able to stop their vehicle when need arises. Unfortunately, brake failure is not an uncommon phenomenon on our roads. As a car owner, it is important that you always keep your brakes in good working condition simply because you cannot afford to take any chances when it comes to your safety and that of other road users. 

But no matter how well-maintained your brakes are, you can never rule out the possibility that they may fail you at a crucial time. While experiencing brake failure while you are driving is a scary scenario, knowing what to do in such situations can actually save your life and that of other people also on the road. In case you ever find yourself in such a situation, follow these steps: 

Stay calm

The worst thing that could happen when your brakes have failed is for you to fall into a panic mode. Mark you, losing composure at this crucial time won't do you (and others) any good. Try as much as possible to stay calm and confident that you can deal with the situation not matter how bad things may look. If you have any passengers on board, it is advisable not to let them know that your brakes have failed — they might just panic and aggravate the situation further. 

Downshift straightaway

First things first, you should downshift to a lower gear, regardless of whether you drive a manual or automatic vehicle. Be sure to do so as smoothly as possible. This should help decelerate your car, and give you enough time to safely stop the vehicle. If your vehicle has regular brakes, try to build up brake fluid pressure by pumping the brake pedal hard and quickly. And, if you've got anti-lock brakes, simply push down the brakes and hold. If this does not work, move on to the next step.

Use the emergency brake

If downshifting to a lower gear does not work, you should apply your emergency brake. Almost all modern vehicles are equipped with an emergency brake that acts as a fail-safe mechanism in the event that a motorist is completely unable to stop a vehicle. It is, therefore, an obvious thing that every driver should know where the emergency brakes of the vehicle they are operating is located. Your emergency brakes may not stop your vehicle completely, but it should help you slow down at the least.

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