It’s rare, but at some point in our driving lifetime, we may have to deal with faulty brakes. Here’s what to do if they fail completely.
Reduce your speed by taking your foot off the gas. If you have time, downshift to a lower gear to use engine compression to slow down. Turn on your flashers and honk your horn to warn other drivers.
Next, try pumping the brake pedal to see if you can build up enough pressure in the brake lines to get to the side of the road.
If pumping the brake doesn’t work, slowly pull on the parking brake (hand brake) in an on-off pumping motion while holding the release button with your thumb. If you feel the back wheels begin to lock up, release the hand brake a little, then reapply pressure.
Try to steer toward the safest path possible.
In extreme emergencies, look for something to steer into that is a little more forgiving, like some bushes or a guard rail. A curb, or a snow bank in winter, could also slow you down.
Repairing your car is a better option than a collision with injuries. Also, every parking brake is different – take the time to review the vehicle owner’s manual to determine how yours works and practice using it.
A message brought to you by Manitoba Public Insurance, in partnership with CTV.