Falling behind with brake service appointments, aggressive driving, and additional factors can cause strain on the braking system. This increases the risk that pads, rotors, calipers, and additional components will stop working when you’re on the road. In the event of brake failure, here are a few do’s and don’ts to follow to get out of the way of other motorists and safely slow the car to a stop.
Pull or tap the emergency brake.
When your primary brakes lock up, use the emergency brake. Depending on your vehicle’s make and model, there is either a hand lever beside the driver’s seat or a floor pedal you can press. To prevent further damage, lift the lever or apply pressure to the pedal slowly, so the car doesn’t lock up and force you to skid.
Safely pull off the road.
As you engage the emergency brake, you should also turn on the hazard lights. This will alert other drivers to move away from your vehicle as you look for an opening to get off the road. Ideally, you should pull into a deserted area, as it will prevent a collision with other motorists. Otherwise, steer the car to a wide, gravel-covered shoulder. The rocks will provide traction to get the car to stop. You can also look for an area with a steep incline to keep the car from moving forward.
Turn the car off until you’ve stopped completely.
You shouldn’t take the key out of the ignition until the car is no longer rolling. Turning the car off prematurely could harm the transmission and additional components. It can also be difficult to regain control of a rolling car if it’s turned off because the steering wheel will lock up.
Start to panic.
Although it’s natural to panic when brakes fail, try to remain calm. If you are frightened, it will be hard to focus on the steps you need to take to get the car to stop. Having your emergency lights on should provide a bit of reassurance you will remain safe, as other drivers will give you room to correct the problem. Investing in routine brake service will reduce the odds you’ll ever feel frightened while driving again.
The best way to avoid brake failure is to schedule routine inspections with the certified auto mechanics at Mullanphy Tire & Automotive in St. Louis County, MO. The Florissant-based technicians provide brake service, tire rotations, oil changes, and additional auto maintenance and repairs to keep motorists’ vehicles in top condition, preventing dangerous malfunctions on the road. To schedule brake service or additional work, call (314) 921-4961, or visit the auto repair shop online for feedback from previous clients.