The Street Smarts of Brake Failure

Picture it, you’re driving along on Highway 1 north of Santa Cruz when your brakes go out. What do you do? Below are tips from the Department of Motor Vehicles on how to handle your car should you have brake trouble:
  • Downshift to low gear.
  • If your vehicle has a four-wheel antilock brake system, or ABS, apply firm pressure on your brake pedal. If you have rear-wheel ABS, which are common on light trucks, ease up on the brake pedal with just enough pressure to allow your front wheels to roll again. If your vehicle doesn’t have ABS brakes, pump your brake pedal.
  • Apply the parking brake. Be ready to release it if the car begins to skid.
  • Because you can still steer and swerve, possibly try aiming your car toward bushes or something else that would provide a “soft” landing. Honk your horn and flash your lights to warn other users of the road that you are having car trouble.
  • When you have stopped, turn off your vehicle’s ignition. This will lock the steering wheel of most vehicles.
Read more about handling your vehicle in tough driving conditions at http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/dl603/teen_htm/special.htm.
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