When you are learning to drive, you will have some idea about almost all the components and controls that are directly involved in the working of a car. This may include, the steering mechanism, acceleration, transmission and braking. When you finish learning and become a driver, these separate mechanisms will simply function in your mind as a single unit through intuition. But, there is a component that does not easily fit into your driving intuition without exclusive study and thought about it. It is the emergency braking system in a car. It is different in functionality than other mechanisms of a vehicle because, it technically overrides the braking system in the car and has the lowest regard for the nature and the possible processes the other working components may be in. In other words, the emergency brake, does not ‘work’ with the vehicle as a whole, but stands alone only to be used in emergency situations. So, a little care needs to be taken in selectively learning how an emergency brake works and how to handle it in different situations.

Facts to keep in mind about an emergency braking system:

  • Using the emergency brake other than emergency situations will severely damage the braking system. So, if it happens, check your brake discs and other parts of the braking system to make sure everything is fine.
  • The emergency brake can be used as a parking brake. While parking in an uphill position, make sure to activate your parking brake.
  • In automatic transmission vehicles, it is better to set the emergency brake before you release the service brake pedal. This will help to keep the vehicle’s weight off the transmission gears.
  • It is possible that one can forget that the emergency brake is on. To avoid riding off with the emergency brake on, tighten it as hard as possible.
  • In some vehicles, the emergency brakes engage the front wheels and not the back. So, before using an emergency brake, make sure the kind of mechanism that is involved.
  • Always remember, using an emergency brake in a brake failure, is not a perfectly safe option. It is only a counter-measure, and a last resort to stop the vehicle.
  • To use the emergency brake in a brake failure while riding, one should have a deep understanding of car dynamics, road conditions and a quick grasp of the surrounding. Because, as much as an emergency brake can stop the car, at high speeds, it may fishtail, lockup or skid making you lose all control of it.
  • It is best to keep the emergency brake under check always. This is because, brake wires might disengage in case of rusting. This is dangerous as it happens unexpectedly, and when you need it the most.

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