How to Handle Your Brakes Going Out while Driving

There are many unexpected things that can happen while you are driving, but one of the scariest is dealing with brakes that are no longer working. It is dangerous for you and other people on the road. Therefore, it is important that you know what to do before this happens so you can react quickly and keep everyone safe. Here are some tips for handling brakes that suddenly go out.

Don't Turn Your Car Off

A common mistake people make when their brakes suddenly stop working is turning off the engine immediately. If you don't know any better, you might think this is a good idea because it helps slow down your car. However, with the engine turned off, the power steering doesn't work, and it can be difficult moving your car. Do not just turn your engine off if your brakes go out. Instead, the very first thing you should do is remove your foot from the gas and flip on your hazard lights. This helps others know to get out of the way so you can try and get to a safe place.

Slow Down Your Car

Once you have turned your hazards on, shift your vehicle into a lower gear. This is something you can do with a manual or automatic transmission, and it is the first thing that helps your vehicle start to slow down. When it is in a lower gear, wait for the car to start slowing its speed and find an area on the side of the road where you can start come down to a stop. On the freeway, this is usually the shoulder.

On side streets, simply drive on the right side of the road as your car begins slowing down. If you find a curb when your car is going slow, you can bump it slightly to help slow your car down even further. With anti-lock brakes, you are able to push the brake pedal to the floor as you steer. With standard brakes, you need to pump the brake pedal as you begin stopping the car.

Prevent Future Brake Failure

Whether this has happened to you in the past or you simply want to avoid it in the future, inspecting your brakes on a regular basis is imperative so that you greatly reduce the chance that you'll ever have to deal with this problem. If you have a Toyota, for example, take your car to a Toyota service mechanic for a tuneup and ask them to look at your brakes. They will tell you if the brake pads or shoes need to be replaced or if there are other issues with the brake system. This can prevent the brakes from going out while you are driving.