How to Prevent and Handle Brake Failures

Foot on car brake pedalA brake failure will always be a nightmare to any driver, and for good reason. It has consistently ranked high in the top reasons for road accidents resulting in injuries and even death. Psychologically, it gives that hopeless feeling of being out of control, which can cause a person to panic and forget to do the right thing in such a situation.

Fortunately, you can prevent brake failures. A regular trip to an automotive shop that specializes in brake repair here in Lakewood is always the ideal thing to do.

Brake Checks

Aside from regular servicing, checking your brakes whenever you drive will ensure that they are working properly. Before you even start your trip, you can already test them by simply pressing the pedal to see if there is ample resistance. If it feels soft or spongy, it could mean a leak in your brake fluid.

Don’t drive the car anymore but have it serviced as soon as possible. Another test is when you’re already moving. While still slow, step on the brake pedal gently to see if the resistance is still there.

You should be able to distinguish between an assuring normal feel of the brakes and the ominous “softening” up when the pedal is pressed.

On the Road

But what if you’re already on the highway and when you step on the brake, you feel a softer resistance and the travel of the pedal goes further down than normal?

That usually means a fluid leak from the system. Repeatedly pumping the pedal can bring up the brake pressure so you can slow down and get to the side of the road until the car stops completely. You will need to call for roadside assistance.

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Don’t try to drive home with soft brakes. Conversely, if the brake feels hard and you don’t feel the car slowing down much to your liking, there might be a problem in the braking system. It can also be just a simple case of an object that is stuck under the pedal.

The important thing is to get to the side of the road, stop there, and check.

Total Failure

Fortunately, total brake failure is not a common occurrence anymore, but it does still happen. Here are some important things you need to do when your brakes fail while on the road:

  1. Keep calm.
  2. Downshift to a lower gear.
  3. Pump the brake pedal quickly three or four times. If it’s still not working, do Step
  4. Apply the parking brake gradually in an on-off pumping move. While doing this, make sure the release button is pressed. (Don’t yank on it as it can lock the wheels and cause your car to skid.)
  5. In extreme cases, you can scrape your car against a guardrail or divider and let the friction slow down the vehicle.

Brake failures are no laughing matter, so it is very important that you prevent them from happening at all cost.