Whether you are a beginner driver or experienced, you should understand that knowing how to safely stop, in addition to how to safely go, is essential. Educational platforms often focus on all the important elements of driving a car but do not place as heavy of a focus on how to stop. Safe braking practices are not always second nature, especially in an emergent situation. Additionally, placing a high priority on understanding brake health should also be an element of focus during your tenure as a licensed driver.
Understanding a Brake System
Can you identify all the elements of your vehicle’s brake system even in name? Maybe, maybe not, but either way this knowledge is important. You do not need to be a pro on the mechanics of how brakes work, but you should care about the elements of the overall system that you can check independently to be able to potentially diagnose an issue as well as maintain the safety integrity of your vehicle.
Brake pads are an unintimidating place to start and you can review a guide on the best brake pads when it is time to purchase new ones. In the meantime, you need to know what to look for and when it is time to change them. Excessive brake dust on your wheels and a squeaking or squealing noise when you brake are traditional signs that signal your pads may need replacing.
Safe Driving Distances
Many vehicle crashes can be prevented by drivers allowing themselves enough time and distance from the vehicle in front of them. Of course, this is not always foolproof in situations when less than desirable weather factors, unpredictable traffic patterns, or ineffective brake systems are present. There is a direct relationship between safe driving distances and a healthy brake system because even when you are following every safety rule regarding driving distances, if your system is flawed you are still in an unsafe situation.
The Impact of Your Habits
The driving patterns you have also impact the health and safety and your system and understanding how you can change or improve them to keep brake health in mind will benefit you from both a safety standpoint as well as a financial one. Stop and go driving creates more wear and tear on your vehicle, specifically on the brakes. Additionally, hard stopping habits can also wear down the effectiveness. Light braking and smooth transitions between having your foot on the gas and putting it on the brake are ways to treat your ABS with the gentleness it requires.
Three Second Rule
This is a simple strategy that involves training your eyes, mind, and feet to be aware of how to avoid unnecessary quick brakes. Pick a stationary object that is even with the car in front of you, then count to three, if you pass that object before you get to three that means you need to back off and leave more space. Using this rule as a fixture in your driving can save your brakes and brake pads, which in turn saves you money as well.
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