What to do when your brakes fail (essay)
See all of What to do when your brakes fail
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Fri Dec 06 2002 at 13:03:06
If you realise that the
you are not
and to a
place to avoid stopping
or being involved in a
You need to get out of traffic quickly.
Move to the inside lane
, or towards an
from the road, or the
if there is one.
USE YOUR INDICATORS
your intentions to other
If it is necessary to
, do so
smoothly and carefully
, watching your
and the traffic around you very closely. There's no way that other drivers will know that something's wrong, so you need to be very careful.
Once you're in the safest position possible,
so people know there's something wrong with your
Let the car slow down
by taking your foot off the
as your vehicle slows.
Shift into a lower
. This allows the gearbox to bleed off some of your speed. In an automatic you'll want to choose PARK.
Once off the travelled roadway, gradually apply the
until the vehicle stops.
If the parking brake has also failed, direct the car onto a soft shoulder or
which will help you to slow down.
left and right
will also slow you down,
it is safe to do so
When safely off the
, put out
beside and behind your vehicle to
other drivers to the fact that you've stopped there.
Keep your hazard flashers going.
If possible, send for
- if you're on a
you can use one of the
placed regularly along it, or use your
. First and foremost,
if someone has been injured
. Then you're best advised to call a motorway recovery service like the
Don't stand behind or next to your vehicle; if possible,
stay away from the vehicle
and wait for help to arrive. After all, you may well have just dumped it in the middle of a street.
IF YOU ARE ABOUT TO HIT SOMETHING AT
Take your foot off the
so you don't hit it unnecessarily fast.
Steer towards the thing that looks the least
fencing is softer than a
is preferable to a
. If you don't really have a choice, something which is further away is preferable to something nearby. Just try to
as much as possible. The longer you spend
, the slower you become, thanks to
in the wheels. If there's something that could
, like a pile of
through it as it will slow you down slightly before the
DO NOT steer towards solid things like trees, or lamp-posts - these will not give way when you hit them
and any other brakes your vehicle may have. Keep a tight hold on the wheel to keep control of your vehicle as you will stop VERY quickly.
If you have the stopping space and/or the handbrake is broken too,
to your lowest gear
. This lets the gearbox take even more of your
. This is actually an extremely
method and much more
than handbraking, but the stopping distance is longer.
Nudge the curb
with your wheel to slow yourself down.
If you have time,
If it becomes apparent that despite all of this,
you are definitely going to
at high speed:
If there are
in your car,
tell them what's going to happen
as succintly as possible ("We're gonna crash!" is likely to inspire panic, but gets the message across), and if there's time, give them the rest of this advice:
If you haven't already done so, put your seatbelt on.
is not a substitute for a seatbelt
If you have time,
secure all loose items
on the back shelf or elsewhere - a tissue box moving at
fifty miles per hour
can put a hole in your head. Put them under your feet.
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