While keeping up with brake repairs is an important step in preventive maintenance, sometimes a brake failure happens unexpectedly. Knowing what to do is critical during this scary experience to keep you, your passengers, and other drivers safe on the road, especially at high speeds. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to remember.
Safely Move Off the Road.
If you have a newer vehicle, usually a brake failure is only partial due to a split system and will signal the warning light on your dashboard. Press down harder than you normally would to use what brakes are left as you guide the car off the road. For older cars without split brakes, pump several times until the car slows as you carefully guide it to the shoulder.
Shift & Steer.
Shift into a lower gear and steer your car slowly to a safe location. Make sure to press harder than usual on the brakes since they are not working at full capacity. You will also need to engage sooner since timing will be different and braking too late will cause you to stop further and later than intended.
Engage the Emergency Brake.
You may also engage the emergency brake, especially if the car is not slowing down enough as you move out of danger. Carefully lift the lever as you continue to guide yourself to safety. Be prepared for your vehicle to skid slightly.
Although it is a scary situation, panicking will only cloud your ability to take precautions. Keep breathing and stay calm so you can think clearly and remain safe.
Turn off the Car Until You’re Stopped.
Turning your car off as you are trying to drive out of traffic will lock up your steering wheel. It will also damage your engine. Wait until you are at a complete stop before shutting off your vehicle. Once you are safe, call for a tow and make an appointment for brake repairs.
Forget to Signal Other Drivers.
Flip on your hazard lights when you notice there is an issue so other drivers are aware of the problem. This will signal to them to slow down so you can remove yourself from traffic. You can also flash your lights or beep your horn as a warning.
Frecks & Sons’ Automotive in St. Peters, MO brings 170 years of combined experience to every vehicle maintenance job. When you need brake repairs or you are due for an oil change, their reliable team of certified mechanics can help. They can also assist with anything from ignition repairs to fuel pump services. Call (636) 928-5326 for an appointment for brake repairs or stop by their website for more information.