There are times when something unexpected occurs that requires you to brake suddenly. The key to emergency braking is to stop the vehicle as quickly as possible without losing control of your vehicle.

If your vehicle has ABS brakes

Most vehicles are equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS). The ABS allows you to steer while the brakes are being applied. ABS applies brake pressure at each wheel, cycling from locked to slightly rolling. You will feel this as a vibration through the brake pedal. With ABS you can brake as hard as you need without losing your ability to steer.

To brake in an emergency, follow these steps:

  • Apply steady firm pressure to the brake pedal.
  • Do not pump or release the brake pedal.
  • Look and steer in the direction you want to go.
  • Be sure to check your vehicle's owner's manual for more information on emergency braking techniques.

If your vehicle does not have ABS brakes

In vehicles without ABS, braking hard can cause the wheels to stop rolling. The wheels are 'locked' when the brakes are applied and they stop rolling. This can cause you to lose steering control. If your wheels lock, ease off the brake pedal. Brake again but not as hard.

To brake in an emergency, follow these steps:

  • Press firmly on the brake pedal to the point just before the wheels lock. This is called threshold braking.
  • If the wheels lock, release the brake pedal slightly to regain steering control.
  • Press the brake pedal firmly again without locking the wheels.
  • Look and steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.