Maybe you have seen it on television. A nefarious criminal cuts the brake line of their victim, hoping to cause a severe car accident. The victim finds out that their brakes aren’t working at the worst time, and chaos ensues.
Brake failure is rarely this glamorous, but it does happen. Brakes can fail for any number of reasons, and most of those can be attributed to wear and tear. Reacting appropriately can help to reduce your chance of an accident. Keep these tips in mind if you find that your brakes aren’t stopping your vehicle.
1. Stay Calm
This tip is the first and hardest: stay calm. Panicking at this point will do nothing to help you. Staying calm and collected will help you to follow the next steps correctly.
2. Try Again
Today’s vehicles have dual-braking systems. This means that one system controls the front and one controls the back. While your brakes may fail at one end of your car and cut your braking ability in half, you should still have enough braking power to bring your car to a halt. Try depressing the brake pedal again, applying steady pressure.
3. Reduce Your Speed
If by some chance both of your braking systems have failed at the same time, reduce your speed. You can attempt to apply the emergency brake slowly. Do not jerk up on the brake. Instead, bring it up slowly and wait for your car to gradually come to a stop. If your emergency brake doesn’t help you, slow your car by taking your foot off the accelerator and letting it slow naturally. If you have a manual transmission or an automatic that allows you to drive manually, shift your car to the lowest gear.
4. Get Out of Traffic
This may take some maneuvering on your part, but work your way out of traffic if you can. Use your turn signals and pay close attention to the traffic around you. Make your way cautiously to the right side of the roadway. Once you get to the shoulder, let your car coast until it comes to a stop. When it does, put it in park and turn off the engine.
5. Turn the Engine Off
Speaking of turning the engine off, don’t do it until your car has come to a complete stop. It may seem like a smart move to turn the power off to the car, but this will reduce your steering capabilities. Keep your ignition on until your car has come to a rest. Once it has, turn the key and turn on your hazards.
There is no doubt that a brake failure is frightening. The good news is that, barring congested traffic, you can typically steer yourself to safety. If you find yourself without brakes, follow the tips above to help ensure you and the vehicles around you don’t collide.
If you are in a car accident in Charlotte, reach out to our team of car accident attorneys. We will help you decide the next steps to take at your free consultation.