driving through the rain

What to Do When Your Brakes Fail While Driving

One of the most frightening things that can happen to a driver is for their car’s brakes to stop working while they’re on the road. If this happens to you, the first instinct will be to panic. However, if you know what to do in the case of a brake failure, you can get through it safely.

1. Slow Down 

If possible, try to slow your vehicle down by applying strong and consistent pressure to the brake pedal. Try doing this a couple times and your car’s brakes might build up enough pressure to start working again until you can get to a safe location to pull over and call for help.

2. Downshift

If your car is in the highest gear, try shifting into a lower gear as you slow down. Take your time. Don’t panic. Only downshift one gear at a time. Never downshift from a high gear to a much lower gear or into neutral, as this can cause your vehicle to spin out of control.

Be especially careful not to accidentally shift into reverse while your car is moving, or you could cause an accident. Take your foot off the excelerator, and slowly and incrementally reduce the gears from highest to a lower gear, but be very careful when doing so.

3. Signal to the Other Drivers

Your car is equipped with safety features that can help you communicate any impending dangerous situations to other drivers. Honking your horn and turning on your hazard lights can warn other drivers, so they can try to avoid a crash.

4. Take Energy Off the Engine

If your brakes suddenly fail, an accident might be unavoidable and you will need a car accident injury attorney Bay Area. However, turning on your headlights and air conditioner will drain some power from the engine and slow down your car so you can come to a quicker stop. 

5. Carefully Apply the Handbrake

Never apply the handbrake at higher rates of speed as this can lock the wheels and cause your vehicle to spin out of control or even flip over. If you must apply the handbrake, make sure you’re traveling at less than 40 miles per hour and only apply it while you are changing gears.

What to Do Before Your Brakes Fail

There are telltale signs that your brakes are going to fail. Typically when brakes are going bad you will notice an increased stopping distance than usual. You will also notice unusual noises coming from your car, such as high pitched squealing or squeaking when coming to a stop.

When the brakes are worn, you will also hear grinding noises or a rubbing sound coming from the brakes. Your vehicle might start pulling to one side when you apply pressure to the brakes, or the brake pedal will feel soft and spongy, or you may have to apply extra pressure to get them to work.

If you notice any of these signs, get to your trusted mechanic to have your brakes repaired. Proper maintenance and regular inspections can catch any issues with your brakes before you get into an accident.

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