What Should You Do If Your Brakes Fail?

What to Do If Your Brakes Fail in San Diego, CA

One of the most terrifying things that can occur while you are behind the wheel is losing your brakes. Failed brakes can be a life or death situation. However, if you stay calm, collected, and remember some simple maneuvers, a collision can be averted. The National City car insurance experts at American Tri-Star offer tips on what to do if your brakes happen to fail.

Pull Over

First and foremost, try to pull over if possible. If you are not in the right lane, get there if you can do so safely. Turn your hazard lights on. Hazards tell everyone around you to stay away. Once you get close enough to pull over, see if there is anything close to help you stop, such as grass or something soft for you to hit.


Another tactic you need to remember is downshifting immediately. This is essentially the same idea as going down a steep hill and downshifting so you do not need to use your brakes as much. Once you shift into a lower gear, the engine itself begins to slow the car. This goes for either an automatic or a manual car. Just make sure you downshift as smoothly as possible to prevent a skid.

Use the Emergency Brake

As the name suggests, the emergency brake is the perfect thing to use in this situation. You just need to know how to properly use it. Since this brake is entirely separate from your main braking system, it can still stop the vehicle even when your main brakes have failed. However, it must be applied very carefully and slowly or else you could go into a skid. This method can work well if you have time to let the car slow down.

Pump the Brakes

Pumping the brakes may build pressure back up in the braking system so you can stop. However, similar to the emergency brake, this method can take some time. Contrary to popular belief, even if your car has an anti-lock braking system (ABS) component, pumping the brakes can help. The ABS is only activated when your car is braking too hard, which it’s not doing at all if your brakes have failed. Quickly squeezing the brakes to the floor and keeping them there will utilize all the pressure that has been built up so far.

There are also a few things you should not do when in a panic. Do not turn the ignition off thinking it will stop the car. You will lose your power steering and have an extremely difficult time pulling over. Also, do not shift into neutral the car will stop as a result. Your engine will lose its braking effect.

If you experience a brake failure, make sure to get them repaired right away. It’s also important to make sure you’re covered with the right insurance in case you get into a collision. If you’re looking for reliable coverage in National City, auto insurance quotes are just a click or phone call away. Get a free quote on our website today, or call 619-474-3900 to speak with a friendly agent.