Fiji Time: 8:27 AM on Saturday 24 March

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / Archives » Article Index

Your car brakes just failed

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Imagine you're exiting the freeway on that killer ramp with the steep grade and the hairpin turn. You try the brakes and... nothing happens. Careening toward the guardrail at 75 mph (121 km/h), you brace yourself for a 400-foot dive into a shallow lake full of fire-breathing alligators. Ok, that scenario is a bit unlikely, but the fact is that brake failure is a terrifying — and dangerous — experience no matter where it occurs. To learn how to stop a car if the brakes fail, read the following instructions.

Here are 11 steps on how to stop a car with no brakes

1. Don't panic! Overreacting to this situation will only make it more dangerous.

2. Take your foot off the spend pedal and turn off cruise control (if on) switch on hazard lights.

3. Try pushing brake pedal to the floor. If it's soft you may have low fluid, You may be able to rebuild some braking pressure by pumping the brakes.

If, your brake pedal is hard and does not move, something in your brake system may have seized or you may have an obstruction under the pedal.

4. Pump your brakes. Pumping your brakes several times may rebuild enough pressure in the braking system for you to stop. This may take a while, so keep trying. You should do this even if your car is equipped with ABS, as the ABS is only activated when your car is braking too hard (which won't be the problem if your brakes have failed).

5. Shift into low gear. Shifting into lower gears helps slow you by using your engine to slow the car. If you have an automatic transmission, downshift a gear at a time into low range (generally labelled as "1" on the shifting mechanism). If you have a manual transmission, downshift a gear or two at a time, feel the car slow, and repeat as you work down through the gears.

6. Use the hand brake that can usually stop a vehicle, although it will take longer than usual to come to a stop.

Keep your eyes on the road and continue to steer. Pay attention to what's in front of you, and manoeuver to avoid heavy traffic, pedestrians, and dangerous obstacles.

8. Warn other drivers and pedestrians and honk your horn to make others aware that there is a problem. Open windows to allow air resistance to slow you down as well as enable you to shout to other passengers and drivers.

9. If you have room on either side of you, steer sharply from side-to-side. Turning creates friction, which slows your car naturally. If you do not have brakes, try turning sharply from left to right over and over to slow your car down. Do not do this at high speeds. Turning at high speeds may flip your car and turning too sharply at any speed can spin your car around, so be careful.

10. Use your surroundings to slow the vehicle. If the above measures fail to stop you, or if you must stop very quickly, do whatever you can to get under control. Ideally, you could use a runaway truck ramp, but as these are not particularly common, you'll probably have to improvise. Keep in mind, however, that these techniques can be very dangerous — especially at high speeds - and should only be used as last resorts.

Use terrain to your advantage. Use guardrails to slow your vehicle. Cement dividers are built pear-shaped so that contact is made with the wheels, not with the precious metal and paint of your automobile.

Small trees and shrubbery will slow your vehicle when all else fails. Try to put your vehicle through the centre of a line of shrubs or saplings, being careful not to pick a tree that is too heavy for your car to go through. Trees with trunks over 4 inches (116 mm) are considered dangerous to occupants of motor vehicles. Large trees can be fatal.

11. Look for a safe spot to pull over (or to crash). Scan the road ahead for a safe area to pull over once you're able to come to a stop. If you're not able to bring the vehicle to a complete stop, look for open spaces that you can coast across without hitting anything.

If all alternatives have failed, plan a crash stop. The safest method is to look for a bushy protrusions or shrubs and run it through the friction will significantly reduce car speed to a halt. if there are no bushes go for grass, especially tall grass run the car through the tall grass and it will come to a halt. finally if there is none the last way is go for sand, sand is so unstable will definitely halt your car, especially wet sand.

If the safest spot to "crash land" your vehicle requires you to jump a curb, extra caution must be taken. Even with power steering, the cars' initial reaction will be to rip the steering wheel from your hands, bounce from the curb and back into traffic. It is imperative that you grip the steering wheel in a firm manner and angle your car deep enough into the curb so that it will go up and over, yet shallow enough so that you don't turn the car completely and lose control in a spin.

Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.64290.6239
JPY 52.917249.9172
GBP 0.35110.3431
EUR 0.40370.3917
NZD 0.69480.6618
AUD 0.64820.6232
USD 0.49830.4813



Exchange Rate updated on 23th, March, 2018

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Set academic goals achieved
  2. Teacher 'abused'
  3. Marist 7s: Tuvalu recruits Fijians
  4. Suspects arrested for robbery caught on video
  5. 7s return
  6. PM: Take warnings seriously
  7. Student queries A-G on expats
  8. Tabadamu chases fourth Marist title
  9. No universal vaccine
  10. Marist 7s: Rural teams cause upsets

Top Stories this Week

  1. Meningococcal disease outbreak Tuesday (20 Mar)
  2. 'Forced to go' Saturday (17 Mar)
  3. Doctors speak out Sunday (18 Mar)
  4. No desk for this girl Monday (19 Mar)
  5. Where are our horses Sunday (18 Mar)
  6. 12 dead by disease Tuesday (20 Mar)
  7. Police appeal to livestock owners Monday (19 Mar)
  8. Teacher reports male student in washroom for girls Tuesday (20 Mar)
  9. Speaker orders Nawaikula to withdraw accusation Saturday (17 Mar)
  10. SGS junior has fastest 100m time Wednesday (21 Mar)