Brake Fail At High Speed Or Low Speed? This Is How To Stop In An Emergency [Video]

Brakes are the lifeline of any vehicle because they ensure that the vehicle gets controlled with ease in any driving scenario. However, brake failure is something that can occur unexpectedly and can pose serious risks. If something were to happen to the brakes, then the lives of drivers and passengers can come in jeopardy. So knowing how to handle a situation where a car’s brakes have failed is something that everyone should know.

Brake failure

Here’s a video that demonstrates how a car can be stopped when its brakes fail:

Understanding Brake Failure

First of all, we have to understand that brake failure is something that can stem from various causes. Some of the probable causes of brake failure include jammed brake calipers, leaking master cylinders, drained brake fluid, or snapped brake pipelines. Now, recognizing the symptoms of brake failure, such as warning lamps on the dashboard or a soft pedal feel, or diminished braking action, is very crucial for preemptive action.

Emergency Steps for Slow-Speed Brake Failure

It is not necessary that brake failures occur only at high speeds like shown in a lot of movies. Rather, brake failures can sometimes take place during bumper-to-bumper traffic as well. One of the most common reasons for such brake failure is that the engine rpm could be too low for the car to generate enough vacuum to operate the brake booster. So if you encounter any such situation, then you can perform the following steps.

Pump the Brakes

The first thing you should try in a slow-speed brake failure situation is that you should rapidly press and release the brake pedal. This is one of the most simple ways to attempt to regain some braking action.

Downshift to First Gear

Next up, if the pumping of brakes does not yield any result, you should quickly shift to first gear. After engaging the first gear at slow speed, release the clutch, and refrain from touching the accelerator. What essentially happens is that the engine starts braking by itself after the lower gear is engaged.

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Engage the Handbrake

Another one of the emergency actions that can be performed is the engagement of the handbrake. Gently pull up the handbrake to gradually bring the vehicle to a halt.

Switch off the Ignition

After pulling the handbrake, you can also turn off the ignition. Make sure to keep the vehicle in first gear, allowing the dead engine to assist in braking.

Utilize Road Features

If feasible, one should steer towards dividers or curbs on the side of the road. One can also drive their vehicle into sand, mud, or slush if available to bring the vehicle to a complete halt.

Emergency Procedures for High-Speed Brake Failure

Brake failure

High-speed brake failure is the opposite situation of the above-mentioned slow-speed brake failure. It requires quick thinking and decisive actions. If you ever get into such a dangerous situation, you can try to implement the following actions. These actions could potentially save your and your passengers’ lives.

Downshift Gears

One of the first things a driver should do during high-speed brake failure is to try to maintain composure. After this, the person should immediately downshift gears. One should start from third gear and progressively shift down to first gear as the speed decreases.

Continuous Brake Pumping

Like slow-speed brake failure, the driver should do continuous pumping of the brake pedal. This has to be done to utilize any residual pressure for braking.

Caution with Handbrake

This step should be done with extreme caution. The reason behind it is that if the handbrake is pulled up at high speed, it can cause the vehicle to skid. This could make the car uncontrollable. So to avoid rear-wheel lock-up, only pull the handbrake when the speed has become slow after shifting to lower gears.

Turn off the Ignition

Switch off the ignition when the vehicle has significantly slowed down. This allows the engine drag to aid in braking while retaining steering control.

Steering Control

Try to maintain full control of the steering wheel. Steer away from obstacles and towards the side of the road to increase friction.

Brake Failure Featured

Preventing Brake Failure

Regular maintenance and vigilant monitoring can help prevent brake failure. One should also regularly inspect brake fluid levels and examine brake pads and discs during servicing.

Apart from the above things, drivers should replace brake pads at recommended intervals to ensure optimal braking performance. Additionally, after driving through water or deep puddles, drivers should gently pump the brakes to dry out pads and discs to prevent water-induced brake failure.

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