When getting on the road for the first time, new drivers need to learn how to break effectively to stop before a collision. First attempts often involve heavily slamming on the brakes when there is no imminent danger ahead. There are a variety of effective braking techniques that involve slowing down gradually before coming to a complete stop, which can prevent a myriad of accidents and keep your brake pads performing well.
Let's explore methods of braking to efficiently extend the life of your brake pads.
The purpose of slowly braking
The reason for learning how to control your braking style instead of coming to a sudden stop is twofold: to prevent your brake pads from wearing down quickly, and to avoid a collision involving the car behind you. The more time you give yourself to come to a complete stop, the more likely the vehicle behind you will also have time to do the same — and avoid a collision.
Steadily reaching a complete stop will also keep your vehicle balanced. When your vehicle has to deal with sudden, hard braking, the weight of your car will be forced to the front, which compels the objects and passengers in your car forward.
Hard braking could even cause your brakes to lock up and begin a skid, where your vehicle collides with the one in front of it, or with oncoming traffic.
In short, hard braking should only be used in emergencies.
Slowing down to brake
Instead of maintaining your speed as you approach a stop, you can begin to break slowly, well ahead of any visible obstacle. If you are approaching an unexpected stop — such as a hold-up in traffic — you can start to lightly tap your brakes to prepare for a stop, slowly reducing your speed ahead of time.
In some cases, you may have the advantage of seeing the traffic stop ahead of time and can begin to slow down early. In this case, all you will have to do is take your foot off of the accelerator. If you have an electric vehicle, this will activate regenerative braking and will noticeably slow your vehicle down as well as recharge your battery.
When it is time to stop completely, be sure to hold your foot on the brake pedal entirely until it is time to move on, in order to prevent the vehicle from rolling forward.
Typically used if there is a change in the speed limit, a construction zone or a school zone, controlled braking is utilized when you must slow down and maintain a slower speed. Here, you will ease off the accelerator and gradually apply your brakes until you have reached the appropriate speed.
Another method of slowing down smoothly over a short distance is known as cover braking. Cover braking involves removing your foot from the accelerator and hovering your foot over the brake pedal. Your vehicle will begin to slow down naturally, and you are ready to act in case you need to quickly come to a complete stop.
This is a more advanced method of braking that can help slow down your vehicle on a hilly road to avoid overheating your brakes. Most modern cars are equipped with a manual gear shifting option. As you shift into a lower gear, be sure not to shift too quickly — this can over-rev your engine and cause major damage.
Finding the method that works best for you and your vehicle will take time. Every car's braking system is a little different and as you adjust to a new vehicle, you will find the right level of pressure to get the most out of your brake pads.
Greening Associates, Inc. is available to serve as a resource to help educate drivers and service braking systems for vehicles of any description. Greening Testing Laboratories is a fully certified brake testing lab that provides a variety of brake testing services worldwide. Contact Greening for a complimentary consultation.