What To Do When Your Brakes Fail
If your brakes suddenly give out:
- Downshift to low gear.
- Pump the brake pedal fast and hard to build up brake fluid pressure. You will know in three to four pumps if the brakes will work. Do not pump antilock brakes.
- Apply the parking brake, but be ready to release it if the car begins to skid.
- Remember, you can still steer and swerve. You could steer into bushes or something soft.
- Sound your horn and flash your lights to warn other drivers.
- When you no longer need to change direction, turn off the ignition.
PARKING BRAKE The parking brake is called the parking brake for a reason: you should use it when you park your car. Many people think you only need to use your parking brake (also called the emergency brake) when parking on a hill or if your car has a manual transmission. This is incorrect; whether your car is a manual or automatic, the terrain is hilly or flat, you should use your parking brake every time you park.
The parking brake will hold the car in place while it is parked. A parking brake is capable of a stronger hold than only putting the car in “park”. Of course, you still need to put the car in “park”. Additionally, if your car was hit while parked, the parking brake would provide further stability, lessening the risk of your car rolling away.
You should set the parking brake while your foot is still on the brake pedal and before shifting into “park”. Parking brakes can be hand-operated levers located in the center console or a foot pedal located on the far left side of the driver’s pedal area. To set the hand-operated lever parking brake, pull up on the lever. To release the parking brake, press the button on the end of the brake handle and lower the lever. To set the foot pedal parking brake, push firmly on the pedal. To release the parking brake depends on your vehicle. In some vehicles, the pedal is pushed down until you hear a click. In other vehicles, you must pull on a brake release lever located near the parking brake pedal.
Lastly, don’t forget to disengage the parking brake before driving again. Trying to drive with the parking brake on does not sound good and it is not good for your car either. Setting the parking brake when you park and disengaging the parking brake before you drive should become habit, so you should never forget to do either part.
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