"Emergency Stops" Structured Practice
How to Drive a Car: Controlling Sudden Stops
In the old days, in an emergency situation where you needed to stop suddenly, you jammed on the brakes! Sometimes they’d lock and that would be disastrous! The tires would stop turning which put the car into a skid and you couldn’t steer anymore! This is dangerous for teens learning how to drive a car. So, drivers learned to ‘pump’ the brakes. They’d apply pressure then ease up, many times. This would keep the brakes from locking so they could maintain control of the car.
Then someone invented ABS systems (Anti-lock Braking Systems). Basically they do the ‘pumping’ for you – but faster and more efficiently than you could. ABS are great because they keep the brakes from locking and helps you maintain control of the car.
How to Drive a Car: How to Use Your Brakes
During normal stopping, ABS work the same as other types of brakes, but in emergency stopping situations you need to operate them differently.
There are 2 kinds of ABS and they operate differently so you need to use them differently. If you aren’t sure which kind you have, check your Owner’s Manual.
Rear-wheel ABS – (on some light trucks, vans and SUVs) prevent wheel lock of the rear wheels only. Since the front wheels can still lock up, drivers should stomp on the brake, then ease up with just enough pressure to allow the front wheels to start rolling again, so the driver can steer.
Four-wheel ABS – (on most cars) Maintain firm and continuous pressure on the brake while steering to enable four-wheel ABS to work properly. Avoid pumping the brake, even if the brake pedal is pulsating.
When you apply that firm pressure, you’ll feel the brakes grabbing and letting go. You may hear strange noises which can be scary but it’s normal. Practicing with your ABS and being familiar with how they work in your car will prepare you for different situations, especially in cases of emergency.
In emergency stopping situations, if your car doesn’t have ABS, you’ll still need to pump the brakes to maintain control and keep them from locking.
The video about ABS shows examples of what can happen when a car does not have ABS. It also has a slogan "Stomp, Stay, Steer". It is handy to remember as you learn to drive.
Click on the Images Below to Launch each Video.