Knowing how to stop your car in a hurry may just be the most important driving skill you can ever master. Of course, how to do that depends on whether your vehicle is equipped with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) or not. Today, we’ll be going over what it takes to stop in an emergency when braking without ABS.
What You’re Doing Wrong
Your car is capable of stopping much quicker than it can accelerate, but most drivers use less than half the brakes’ capabilities, or even worse, use them improperly.
When faced with an emergency, most drivers either don’t brake hard enough or they brake far too hard, and skid. Once a vehicle enters a skid, it will continue straight ahead, regardless of what you do with the steering wheel. Plus, it takes more distance to stop–definitely not what you want to have happen in an emergency situation.
What You Should Be Doing
So, what do you do when you find yourself in an emergency situation, without ABS? First, don’t “hit” or “slam” on the brakes. Rather, squeeze the brake pedal firmly, to the point right before the tires begin to skid. Braking at this limit is called “threshold braking”, and is the fastest and safest way to stop a car.
If you exceed the limit for threshold braking and feel the brakes beginning to lock-up, ease up slightly on the pedal. This does not mean “pumping” the brakes, which is definitely the least effective way of stopping a vehicle – and unfortunately, over-used.
Another tip is to keep your vision up and where you want to go, instead of focusing on what you’re about to hit. This is because once you have locked your vision onto something in front of you, it is difficult to threshold brake and steer to avoid.
It takes an experienced, sensitive foot to threshold brake properly, but it may just be the most important life-saving skill you’ll ever acquire. To learn more about BSR’s Accident Avoidance Course, click here or check below for upcoming course dates.