Brake failure is generally not a problem on today’s cars provided that they are well maintained. However, a part defect, an auto mechanic’s negligence, or the purchase of an old used car from an individual can raise the odds of its occurrence. Your chances of successfully handling a brake failure will depend on the road circumstances and the actions you take.
How to Handle a Brake Failure
- Remain calm. Don’t allow panic impulses to take control. You still need to control your car and avoid accidents just as you would when everything is normal. The only difference now is that you will have to slow down and come to a stop by using a different braking method. The best way of staying calm is knowing what to do in advance and focusing on the task at hand.
- Let up on the gas pedal and turn on your hazard lights. Rolling resistance and wind resistance will begin to slow you down. The hazard lights will alert others that something is wrong. If you are on a multilane road, move over to the slow lanes on the right.
- Downshift. Automatic transmission has this capability just as manual transmission does. Downshift in the proper sequence going from the highest to lowest gears. Don’t do this too quickly because your wheels can lock up and start skidding. You will feel the engine braking your car. When this effect stops, downshift to the next gear down and so on until you reach the lowest gear. Do not put the car in neutral because you won’t be able to downshift. Never turn off the engine because it will turn off your power steering and if you turn the key too far, it may lock your steering wheel.
- Use your brakes. If you have an anti-lock brake system (ABS), pressing firmly on the brake pedal will cause the system to rapidly pump the brakes. Sometimes this restores hydraulic pressure in the brake lines and produces some braking. If you don’t have ABS, quickly pump the brakes. Whether this works or not depends on the reason for your brake failure.
- Shift to neutral and use your parking brake. This is the last step when the previous steps have slowed you down to the point where you are ready to stop (less than 30 mph). The parking brakes can lock your wheels, so apply them gradually. If locking occurs, release the brakes and try again more gently. At this point, you should be on the shoulder with plenty of room ahead for stopping. Continue with your parking brake until you stop.
If you were injured in a car accident and need the legal advice of experienced Indiana car accident lawyers, the Ken Nunn Law Office can help you get the compensation you deserve. To discuss your options, contact us today.