Saturday, 19 September 2009

What if you lose the brake?

When you know how to move a car, soon speed becomes a norm. But have you ever thought of one day you need to stop your car while you are driving at 80, 90...100kph or even more and you suddenly realise that your brake fails (brake fluid leaking & ran out, worn out/faded brake pad, or unknown reason)?

You are on the ground, theoretically, you are safer than a pilot who loses all the engines in mid air.

Most people will panic, well, do panic, but not too long. You will have to switch to survival mode.

Calling the police? No use. They are not Superman or Spiderman.

Jump out of your car? Switch off the engine? What if there are other vehicles on your left or right & behind?

Hit a tree, or another car? Survival rate is not 100%. Injury? Sure.

Steer your car sharply from left to right in a zig zag way hoping the friction can slow the car down? It will only work in Tom & Jerry cartoon show. You will most probably crash into another vehicle or the other way round, or roll over.

What’s the best thing to do then?

“Too many moons ago, I was driving a manual car at around 90kph in the middle lane on a busy 3 lane freeway. Soon I realised my brake was totally gone. My heartbeat was racing for the first many seconds, survival instinct set in, trying to stay calm & thinking of my options, I recalled a friend once mentioned about using gear to slow down a car (aka engine braking). Being a young driver I didn’t understand fully then but at that moment I didn’t have a choice, do or, I quickly down-shifted the gear from 5th to 4th, 3rd, lastly to 2nd, it worked! I slowly inched my way out to the side shoulder off the main road and turned into the first side road I could find, the small road was unpaved, uneven & it helped slowed down the car, and eventually came to a total halt after I applied the emergency hand brake, strangely, right in front of a car workshop, although a rundown workshop, it’s the best sight I could ever dream of. The mechanic told me the brake fluid had been leaking & very little was left. It was a narrow escape.” This was my true story......

Manual cars are not as common as automatic transmission cars nowadays, but to slow down & stop without brake is based on the same engine braking method ie down-shifting gear by gear.

Drivers who are used to manual cars will sub-consciously know how to down-shift the gear without looking as they subconsciously up or down-shifting every time they drive.

Auto car drivers may become is automatic what...just use brake to stop, gas pedal to move, P to park, and D to drive.....the other lower gears exist but long forgotten.

The same apply to drivers who frequently drive manual but sometimes drive auto cars.

In a panicky or split seconds situation, you will not have time to look at the gear, especially at night.

It’s never too early or too late to look closely at your gear now. The lower gears are all there for you to discover, after all, practice makes perfect. You will never know when you are going to need them.

Stylish, Sexy, but deadly?

And too often, an otherwise safe driver can lose control...different causes, same consequences:

- Shoes under the driver seats. Bottles, books, tissue boxes, etc. These can roll over and get trapped easily under any of the pedals.

- High heel shoes/Stilettos, sling backs, strappy sandals, even flip flop are driving hazards, the soles can get trapped easily under any of the pedals. Jimmy Choo’s will have to take the back seat.

- Even floor mats are suspected to cause accident. See this recent news on how a passenger managed to call 911 but all in that car did not survive:

Reference – How to stop a car without brake? Watch Videos
Automatic Transmission car:
Manual Transmission car:

Reading – manual or auto

To reach your destination, you must have a safe journey...

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