You can go your entire driving life and never have your brakes fail. But on the off-chance that they do, you’re going to want to know how to handle the situation calmly.

Brake repairHere are some steps you can take to bring your vehicle to a stop without getting into a serious crash.

Don’t panic. Do not shut the engine off. If you do, you will lose your power steering. As soon as you notice signs of brake failure, take your foot off the gas pedal. Try and move into the right lane and then work your way toward the shoulder of the road. Shifting into a lower gear allows the engine to slow the car down.

Pump the brakes. By pumping the brakes, you may be able to build some pressure back up to help you stop the car. Once you have pumped the brakes a few times, quickly squeeze the brakes to the floor. The maneuver may bring your vehicle to a stop.

Use the emergency brake. Depending on the make of your vehicle, you may be able to pull the handle up or push down on the pedal. Don’t push or pull too quickly, as your tires will lock up. If you have room to do so, sharply steer from side to side, which will generate friction and help slow your car down. However, don’t do this if you are in traffic.

Use highway safety measures. If you come across a runaway truck ramp or an incline, steer towards it as it may slow your car down. You can also use the guardrails or cement highway dividers to break your speed as they are designed to make contact with your wheels. Driving through dirt or gravel will also act as a brake to slow your vehicle.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to your brakes and safety is that proper maintenance can help keep this from happening to you. Don’t put off having your brakes inspected or repaired. If you have questions about your car’s proper maintenance, consult your owner’s manual or give us a call!