Understanding Car Brakes - How To Brake Safely
By: Richard Jenkins
Modern cars have highly effective brakes which can bring a car to a stop remarkably quickly. In everyday driving situations you should apply brakes gently at first, then progressively increase the pressure. This will allow you to bring the car to a stop smoothly and under control. If you brake too harshly then you run the risk of locking up the wheels and skidding. If this happens you will lose the ability to steer the car. Harsh or late braking also reveals poor driving ability. Good drivers can anticipate the need to reduce speed will in advance of needing to use the brakes. If on your driving test remember bad braking will not endear you to your test examiner.
In an emergency braking situation a critical factor is whether or not your car has an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) fitted. Virtual all cars produced within the last five years have ABS fitted. This system works by stopping the wheels locking up and skidding when the brakes are used in an emergency situation. It allows the driver to continue effective steering whilst braking heavily which from a safety point of view a crucial advantage. ABS works by turning the brake on and off several times a second and only kicks in under heavy braking.
The correct procedure for an emergency stop with ABS fitted is as follows:
keeping both hands firmly holding the steering wheel press down on the brake pedal as hard as you can and keep full pressure applied until you come to a stop. Press the clutch pedal just before you come to a stop as this will stop the engine from stalling. If you hear a noise or pulsating sensation coming through the brake pedal, don't panic. It is normal for ABS to produce such noise, sensation.
The correct procedure for an emergency stop without ABS is as follows:
keeping both hands firmly holding the steering wheel press down on the brake pedal firmly but not so hard that the wheels lock up and you start to skid. If the wheels do lock up the ease off the brake pedal until they wheels start to rotate again then reapply the brake less harshly. Press the clutch pedal just before you come to a stop as this will stop the engine from stalling.
It is best practice to brake only when traveling in a straight line. Tyres have a limited amount of grip. When driving round a corner, especially when at speed, this grip is already being tested. If you ask your tyres to corner and brake then you run the risk of losing grip and skidding.
When brakes are overused they can overheat and lose efficiency. This is know as brake fade. This can happen when driving down a steep hill, when the car is heavy loaded or towing or if the brakes are worn. If brake fade happens then pull over somewhere safe and allow the brakes to cool before driving off. It is recommended that you then get your brakes assessed by a professional mechanic.
Richard Jenkins is owner of the driving test and UK driving schools website. A site for learner drivers providing guides on topics such as the driving theory test and cheap young drivers car insurance .
Article Source: http://www.ArticleBiz.com