Driving 101: Give Me A Brake!

brakesI know you’ve had it happen to you.   You are driving down the road and in the corner of your eye, you see another vehicle approaching the road way you are in.  Will they stop?  Do they see you?

You tense up.  Prepare your foot to step on the brake.  Then the other vehicle stops.  Whew!

What’s up with people that wait until the absolute last second to apply their brakes and come to a stop.  My heart has skipped a beat many times because of these last-second-stoppers.   There are way too many people who have faith in their brakes.  I wish people would stop going full speed only to brake right before a possible impact.  What happened to the thought of slowly applying the brakes?

The most commonly suggested method of braking is progressive braking.  It requires using your judgment in timing and how much to apply to your brake.  It should start slight and increase with pressure and finish with light pressure.   Doing so not only saves on your brakes but also:

  • Allows for other drivers to react to your actions
  • Prevents locked wheels
  • Prevents the car from skidding
  • Saves on gas
  • More comfortable for your passengers

Once again I think most drivers are impatient.  When they are approaching a road way, they don’t want to have to stop.  They would prefer to simply roll out onto the road without being stopped.  I am pretty sure this is the reason for the late brakers.  Even with the braking technology that we have today, it is still important to learn and practice safe braking techniques to avoid dangerous situations.

Think you’ve mastered braking?  The next time you brake, do you passengers grab the handles or do the head bob when you come to a stop?  If so, then maybe you need to adjust your technique.  Believe it or not, it is necessary to stop for other vehicles.  I know it’s a pain and really robs you of precious seconds but you aren’t the only the car on the road.  Shocking, I know.

When you approach a situation where you may need to stop, don’t rush up to it and slam on the brakes.  Coming to a stop also separates the good driver from the bad.  The bad way is the taxi stop – constant brake pressure, then the car rocks back on its suspension as it comes to a halt. The good way is the limo stop – as the car is about to halt relax the brake pressure so you almost roll to a stop without making your passengers do the funky chicken or rocking backwards.  Don’t forget to leave enough space between you and the car in front such that you can see its rear tires – that way you can maneuver out of the way if necessary.

Come on Nashville!  I know they don’t brake in NASCAR but use some common sense on the crazy highways in and around the Music City.  You won’t be less of a person if you have to stop for someone else.



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