Tips for preventing a car accident after your brakes go out

What to Do if Your Brakes Malfunction While Driving

Having your brakes go out while you’re driving can be a very dangerous situation. However, if you know what to do in advance, it will help you remain calm and hopefully avoid having an accident. Here are some tips.

Try the Brakes Again

Because all cars (except classic cars) have dual braking systems, it would be extremely rare for your car to lose all braking power. If your brakes don’t seem to be working, it could be that the front or rear system has malfunctioned. In that case, you would still have one set of brakes to help slow your vehicle, and if you hit the brakes again you may discover it just takes more pressure than usual to stop your vehicle.

Try to Slow Down

If you simply take your foot off the gas your car will stop eventually. However, you probably don’t have time or space for this option. You can speed the process by downshifting to use the power of the engine to slow the car, or by slowly applying the emergency brake. Be prepared to release the emergency brake if the car starts to skid though. Other ways to slow down include rubbing your wheels against the curb or driving on a soft shoulder.

Get Off the Road

Ideally, you should get over into the right hand lane before trying to slow your vehicle, both to avoid the risk of a rear-end accident in the fast lanes and to make it easier to pull off the road when you do slow down enough to do so. Be sure to use your turn signals and your hazard lights when stopping on the side of the road, and pull off as far as you can to stay out of the way of traffic.

Don’t Turn Your Car Off While Driving

Turning off the engine is one possible panicked reaction to discovering the brakes don’t work. However, this is not a good solution. With the engine off, your power steering will be off too, meaning it will be more difficult to steer your car to the side of the road. Your airbags will also be off, leaving you unprotected in the event of an accident.

Take Your Car to a Mechanic

After having a problem with your brakes, you should not drive again until you’ve had a qualified mechanic look at the vehicle to figure out what went wrong.

What If You Do Get into an Accident?

If you do end up having an accident when your brakes fail, you may have the right to additional compensation beyond what your own car insurance would provide. This might be the case if inspection of your vehicle reveals that the brakes failed due to a manufacturing defect (in which case the manufacturer could be liable) or a maintenance error (in which case the mechanic could be liable). To learn more about pursuing car accident injury claims based on manufacturer’s defects, contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000.