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What To Do When Your Vehicle Brakes Fail

Brake failure is one of the most frightening things that can occur while driving a vehicle, especially when driving the car at a fast rate of speed on an interstate or other high-speed thoroughfare.

Follow this advice, offered by the National Safety Council, should you have to deal with vehicular brake failure:

When you first realize your car brakes are failing, do your best to not panic. Panic only paralyses you and prevents you from taking proper action. Do this instead; if your car brakes are failing move your vehicle into the right lane of traffic and then move your automobile onto the shoulder. If there is an exit coming ahead, move the car on to the exit.

When changing lanes, move your car smoothly, with care. Be very conscious of the other vehicles around you. Use your automobile blinkers. You can also put on your hazards so other vehicles will know your car is in some distress and needs space. When you get your car into the right lane, then be sure to put the hazard lights on.

Now that your vehicle is in the right lane, gradually remove the pressure you are putting on the gas pedal. Steer appropriately onto the shoulder and shift your car’s transmission into a low gear. A lower gear will help slow down the car.

Now that you are on the shoulder of the thoroughfare, shift the vehicle ’s transmission into neutral and gradually use the hand brake (emergency brake).

If your handbrake has failed as well, use the curb of the road to rub your car’s tires against to slow the car down. Be sure the vehicle is well of the thoroughfare. You do not want to back up traffic or be involved in an auto accident.

Now that you have your car safely off the road, keep your hazard lights on and put out reflective triangles besides your vehicle to alert other drivers to keep their distance.

If your car’s brakes fail, you will need professional assistance. This happened to a friend once and he was fortunate enough that a professional mechanic passed him on the highway and called a friend in the auto towing business. If you have a cellphone and tripe A, certainly this is the time to call.

If you do not have access to auto emergency assistance, tie a white rag to the antenna on your car, or hang it out the window so any passing policeman or tow truck will you need it. All interstate highways and major roads are patrolled by police. Stand away from the vehicle is possible, you do not want to get hit by a car, of course.

Don’t walk on or across a highway if you can help it. If you see someone or something that can help you, then do your best to stay away from vehicle traffic. You can cause an accident or injure yourself.

A final caution: Never drive your vehicle, no matter how slow the speed, if the brakes have failed. Always call for help and get your vehicle towed. It is not worth risking your vehicle and your life, simply to save $75. I recall my manager, Alebert, tried to drive his car about a mile without brakes to the shop. He lost control down a small hill and had to swerve his car into a traffic pole to avoid an accident. He lost his car and got points put on his license. It’s not worth it, be smart, get your auto towed.

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