Sterling Parts Blog

7 things to do when your car brakes fail

December 06 2018

Posted in car care

Tagged road safety, car care


Brake failure is a driver’s worst nightmare. Although rare, it tests the very wits even of the most experienced drivers. Needless to say that these situations are tough to handle as a vehicle suffering from brake failure endangers the life of many others on the road. However, a crisis can be averted if one follows these steps.


1. Don’t Panic

This is the most critical part of the guide. Because a panicked mind cannot think clearly and is more risk and accident prone. Only when you are calm and in control of the situation, can you help yourself and everyone on the roads.


2. Don’t Turn off the Engine

Turning off the engine can lead to your power steering go unresponsive depending upon your car features. It can subsequently cause your car to lose control. Turning off your car will have absolutely no effect on you slowing down. In fact, keeping your car running will give you all the electrical readings on the instrumental panel which can then prove helpful to keep monitoring your situation live.


3. Situation Assessment

Keep your responses and reflexes at the ready and get situational awareness of your surroundings. Is your car on a highway or in the city? How far are you from the traffic ahead or how far is traffic behind you? What speed are you at? Are there any fields nearby where you can steer your car into? Keep your head cool and keep going through these questions to find answers.


4. Emergency Brakes

The most controlled and effective way to reduce your speed is to use an emergency brake. For this, shift your gear to neutral and slowly engage the emergency brake. Doing so can make the car skid so this must be done with great caution.


5. Downshifting

If emergency brakes do not work or if you are on wet roads, you want to use another way of stopping i.e. downshifting to lower gears. This is because engaging handbrakes on the wet tarmac can cause the car to skid and this can lead to an accident. Downshifting must be very carefully done. Do not let yourself panic and go from 6th gear to 2nd gear. As upshifting is dependent on the speed, so is downshifting. You may want to be pushy while downshifting leading to higher RPMs but do not get aggressive with that.


6. Using Surroundings to Stop the Car

If emergency brakes and downshifting do not work or if you want to stop your car in a shorter distance, you need to find features on the road to slow you down. This can be rubbing your wheels against the curb, using the dividers and grind your car against them to stop your car. This, however, is a very advanced tactic requiring years of driving experience and great skill. One needs to use the obstacle to slow their car and not hit the obstacle too hard.


7. Call Emergency

Once your car stops, make sure that your vehicle does not pose any threat to oncoming vehicles. Turn on the hazard lights and make sure that people can see you and your vehicle clearly.  Call emergency services to assist you.