Brake failure can happen at any time and can be a pretty scary and nerve-wracking experience for drivers, especially if you’re on the highway. But there are some steps you can take to bring your vehicle to a stop without getting into a serious crash.
Don’t panic. Also, don’t overreact. 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.
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 break to slow your vehicle.