With today’s sophisticated vehicles, fortunately, brake failure isn't a common occurrence. However, even the unexpected can happen — and if it does, it can be a frightening and dangerous situation.
Fleet drivers should be reminded of a few key actions to take in the event they suddenly find that their brakes are not working. Here are six steps that experts recommend:
Panicking never helps any emergency situation. Keep your composure so you can carry out the following few steps.
Pump the Brake Pedal
The goal is to try to restore brake power, but at the same time you will be warning the driver behind you that something is wrong. That, in turn, should inform him to keep a safe following distance.
Use the Emergency Brake
If pumping the brake does not restore your brake power, it’s time to use the hand brake. Pull firmly — but smoothly — on the hand brake while holding down the release button. This process might lock the back wheels, and if so, release your thumb slightly from the button, but bear in mind that your vehicle will not stop suddenly. Instead, it will take approximately double the time and space to stop as it would with regular braking.
Drop Into a Lower Gear
Switch to a lower gear as it is far easier to slow down in lower gear.
Prepare for a Soft Landing
If all else fails, and you fear you may have a collision, try to steer toward something soft such as bushes or a flowerbed.
Get Your Brakes Inspected
If your brakes fail while you are behind the wheel, after the incident be sure to have them inspected by a professional.
To learn more, watch a video on handling brake failure.