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February 22, 2016

Sweetheart Safety Tips from @AskPatty and @NexenTireUSA 9: Know How to Brake


It's easy to use antilock brakes properly: Stomp, stay, and steer.

When stopping, plan well in advance, apply the brakes gently, and slowly add pressure -- rather than fast sudden braking. But if you're responding to an emergency, stomp on the pedal as if you were trying to snap it off. Stay hard on the pedal, an continue to steer smoothly around the obstacle. As with any driving emergency, keep a firm grip on the steering wheel and stay calm.

If you have a chance to try this in an empty parking lot you'll discover that your ABS also allows you to safely steer around obstacles while in full-brake mode. Just keep your foot stomped down; don’t lift off the brake until your car comes to a complete stop. Most of today's modern vehicles are equipped with antilock braking systems that help drivers maintain control of the car by preventing the wheels from locking up, and as of 2012, NHTSA requires all passenger vehicles to be equipped with electronic stability control systems (which are operated by the ABS). This could prevent from 5,000 to 9,000 fatalities a year!

If you don't have ABS, panic braking takes a little more skill. You have to be able to push the brake pedal down hard, but not so hard that you lock up the tires and start to skid. It takes a lot of finesse to do this well, so this is another skill you could practice in an empty parking lot, to help you learn how to do it in an emergency.

If your brakes don't work at all, try to steer yourself away from traffic and people. Turn on your emergency blinkers. Use your gear selector to downshift into lower gears and, if you must, sideswipe your car against the guardrail until you're going slow enough to use the emergency brake to bring you to a standstill. 

Be A Sweetheart and Save a Life: Get all 13 Tips for Driving Safely with the Family on Snow and Ice, here at AskPatty


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