Braking is an almost universal reaction when motorists encounter a driving emergency. This is usually a good thing to do because reducing speed brings you that much closer to a complete stop, which is necessary when swerving isn’t an option. A slower speed also makes cars more stable and reduces the severity of car accidents. However, there are exceptions to everything including brake usage during emergencies. Here are three situations where braking is the wrong thing to do, and will likely cause a crash:
During a Tire Blowout
When your tire blows out, you’re left with three remaining tires. However, riding on only three tires makes your car unstable, and applying the brakes will upset its balance and cause a loss of control. Therefore, your foot must stay off the brakes. You must also avoid gearing down and sudden steering movements. Keep the car moving straight ahead while slowly letting up on the gas. When the car slows to about 25 mph, gently brake and move to the right side of the road.
When Going Over Black Ice
Applying the brakes on black ice can cause your car to spin out of control. This is especially true when you don’t have ABS brakes. The correct procedure is going across the ice in a straight line without braking or attempting to turn. Do not downshift. You want to avoid exerting any kind of traction with the ice because it will only cause your car to skid. Continue going straight until you reach the other side of the ice patch.
During a Hard Swerve
If an emergency occurs in which there isn’t enough distance for braking, you will have no choice but to swerve. However, you should not brake while swerving. Braking during this maneuver will only make greater traction demands on your tires. This means that braking will leave less traction available for swerving, and your car will skid out of control.
If you have sufficient distance, then you can brake first while going straight, and then swerve without braking. Swerve smoothly rather than yanking hard on the steering wheel.
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