You're taking your family on a summer trip, and the goal is for everyone to have a fun, memorable time. It's a great time of year to get all of the family together in one place, but it's also the time of year when everyone else is traveling.
The 100 deadliest days of summer are more concerning than any span of days during the winter.
But what happens when your own vehicle fails you? You have to watch out for other drivers, animals and hazardous weather, but what if you step on the brakes and nothing happens?
"When brakes fail without warning, knowing what to do and acting quickly can prevent a motor vehicle crash resulting in serious injury or death," writes Ankin Law.
Your actions will dictate what happens next.
Pump the Brakes
Regular brake pumps should be pumped fast and hard in an effort to build up brake fluid pressure in the brakes. The brakes often start working after pumping the brakes three or four times in a row.
If the brakes do not start working, it's time to move on to the next steps.
Apply Your Emergency Brake
If your normal brakes fail, it's time to apply your emergency brake. This brake may not stop the vehicle completely, but if it's functioning properly, it will slow down the vehicle and minimize the damage upon impact.
Your emergency brake may be located to the left of the brake, or it may be a lever that's near the center shifter.
The original design of the emergency brake was to stop a moving vehicle, but today, the emergency brake is used to keep a vehicle stationary if it's on an incline or decline that’s steep.
Even if the vehicle doesn't come to a complete stop, the emergency brake may offer enough slowing power to help save your life.
Try Pulling Over to the Side of the Road
Eventually, your vehicle will come to a stop. The stop may come from hitting an object or vehicle, or the vehicle may slow due to an incline. Safe stopping may be possible if you're able to pull over to the side of the road.
You'll want to avoid zooming into the back of another vehicle, and this may mean putting on your flashers and driving on:
The goal is to get out of traffic. You may also be able to call the police and alert them of the problem if your brakes failed on a relatively traffic-free road.
Put the Vehicle into a Lower Gear
Automatic and manual vehicles both have gears, and downshifting into a lower gear will help keep your vehicle's speed under control. Putting the vehicle into a lower gear will gradually reduce the vehicle's speed.
But if there is a lot of traffic and you cannot stop, the lower gear may also reduce the amount of damage caused during an accident.
Alerting other motorists to your vehicle's problems through the proper use of your hazards and incorporating the tips above may help stop your vehicle and save a life.