How to brake in an emergency stop

By Stephen Corby, 17 May 2016 Car Advice

How to brake in an emergency stop

You don’t need to be a racing driver to know how to stop quickly. The wonders of modern car technology have your back.

Many moons ago, when driving was both a more cerebral and more visceral experience than it is now, braking without skidding was a real skill.

Older folks will remember being taught “threshold braking”, which involved squeezing the brakes just hard enough, but no harder, then easing off slightly and reapplying again, almost – but not quite – to the point of locking the wheels and sending the car into a slide.

It’s quite tricky for a human, but it’s what every new car now sold in Australia must be brilliant at, by law, because it’s basically what ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) does –  hundreds of times a second if necessary – and it has to be fitted to all new vehicles.

The result is that you don’t need to be good at braking, just enthusiastic. Basically, if you see an accident or impact coming, it is okay to hit the brakes with everything you've got; the computers will sort it out for you.

Other than bending the brake pedal (it’s almost impossible, we’ve tried), there’s no way you’re going to hurt the car, and you’ll get predictable, computer-calculated braking, no matter the driving conditions. 

Brake early, brake hard, and don’t hold back.

Now read about how to check your blind spots.