Your braking techniques are
important for safe driving


For smooth braking use a braking technique that is:

light on the brake pedal

This will not only give you space ahead and keep drivers behind from hitting you, it will also cause less wear on your brakes and give you better gas mileage.

Sudden, hard braking will cause a loss of balance to your vehicle, sending the weight to the front, forcing objects and passengers forward. It could also cause the front wheels to skid into the lane of oncoming traffic.

Hard braking should be done only in emergency situations.

Brake no more than necessary

especially on roads at higher speeds, other drivers will not expect to see your brake lights on (with rare exception). The faster traffic is going, the less time a driver has to stop. Usually letting off the gas pedal is enough to slow you when needed.

Let off your gas pedal several seconds before you need to brake

This starts slowing your vehicle so you need less pressure on the brake for more smooth, safe braking. When you see the red light or stopped vehicle a block ahead, start letting off your gas pedal. You may not need to use your brake if the traffic starts moving or the light turns green when you are still more than half a block away.

Brake early

Again, this gives drivers behind warning by seeing your brake lights, so they also brake early and avoid coming too close and hitting you from behind.

When approaching a red light or stopped vehicle start braking at about 200 feet back (about the length of long turn lane on a major highway), a little more than that at speeds 40 MPH or more.

That far back you can be using less pressure on the brake and still stop with plenty of space in front of you.

Pump your brakes to give warning to the driver behind.

Normally the advise to pump your brakes is used for threshold braking. However, even if you have ABS brakes and are braking early, slightly letting off your brakes a couple of times will flash your brake lights to the driver behind you, getting their attention quicker to slow them down.

* ABS only kicks in when you are already braking suddenly which should normally only be in an emergency situation.

Use steady pressure when braking

Good braking techniques will include a constant, steady pressure when braking. The slower your speed,the harder you push on the brake. The steeper the downhill, the harder you will have to push, sooner to stop. The tighter the curve, the more pressure you will need to brake.


When braking behind a stopped vehicle leave plenty of room to swerve.

In this top picture to the right, you can see the tires of the car we are stopped behind but there is not much more than a fourth of a car length between us.
This doesn't give me much room to swerve if I accidentally pushed the gas pedal or was hit from behind.

This second picture shows us about a car length behind the stopped vehicle ahead.
This gives us a bit more room to move forward or swerve in an emergency, but it would still have to be pretty quick action to avoid hitting the vehicle ahead.


In this third picture we are one and a half to two car lengths behind the stopped car ahead.
By looking at the pictures you can probably feel the difference in the safety for the extra room there is to move either forward or to the side in an emergency.

This will look awkward to others, but keeping this extra distance will allow you to avoid hitting the car ahead in the event something caused you to move fast toward the vehicle.

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