Safe driving depends on safe braking: 5 tips to keep you safe
Recent Company News
- 5 Success hacks to grow your business
- 4 Reasons why co-working could be the key to kick-starting small business
- A 7-step guide to starting your own trade business
- Women’s Month focus: 5 Safety tips for women on the road
- 5 Successful business women share their secrets
- When you can’t speak: Top tips for ensuring emergency teams can access your information
- MiWay treats 100 families this Mandela Day
- Theft on the move: How to safeguard goods and personnel in transit
- Reducing the risk of remote jamming
- Understand the difference between voidance and cancellation of an insurance policy
- Making money from your baking hobby
By Nthabiseng Moloi, MiWay Head of Marketing & Brand
While most new car adverts focus on power and acceleration, a crucial part of safe driving is being able to stop in time, every time. Your brakes are essential, yet most of us do not give them a second thought unless they fail completely – at which point they tend to get your undivided attention.
What can or should you do to be certain that your brakes are always in perfect working order, and that when you apply them the car will stop every time? Use our simple tips to improve your braking and detect any issues early on.
1. Know the ‘feel’
One of the easiest methods to assess how well the brakes are working is to simply know how they feel when you push the pedal. A simple test is when you start the car; put your foot on the brakes and they should feel hard. As the engine turns and starts, the pedal should go softer and give a little. This is evidence that the hydraulic system is working correctly and will translate your foot pressure into stopping force.
If the brakes stay hard, or if the pedal depresses all the way to the floor, you might have a problem. The same applies if the brakes suddenly start feeling spongy when the engine is running, or if they require pumping to get them to work; this can indicate low brake fluid, or water or air in the brake lines.
If the car pulls to one side when braking, there is a problem: one or both wheels on one side are not being braked and the car may be unsafe and should be inspected.
If there is a juddering feel to the brakes, or any sort of shaking movement, it could indicate problems with your suspension (such as worn shock absorbers) which will also adversely affect braking; get it checked out. Worn suspension is particularly serious when braking hard on uneven surfaces (like dirt roads).
2. Regularly inspect the brakes AND tyres
This is another simple method which can identify issues with your brakes. Most modern cars are fitted with disc brakes and aluminium wheels, which make inspection simple. If you notice the discs (also called rotors) becoming scraped or scored (and this is usually accompanied by an irritating screeching sound), it means the brake pads are on their way out. Generally, pads will give fair warning when they start to wear down – but do not leave it too long, or the backing plate will damage the disc, requiring more expensive repairs.
Inspecting brakes is more difficult with cars which are fitted with pressed steel wheels and hubcaps, as it is not possible to see the brakes without first removing both.
While the brakes apply stopping force to the discs, that force is ultimately translated to the tyres. If your tyres are worn or damaged, braking will be affected, particularly if the road surface is wet. Check your tyres routinely and maintain proper inflation: a soft or overly hard tyre, too, will influence braking performance.
3. Regular services are essential
Owning a car and getting the most from it depends on regular maintenance. Most manufacturers recommend an oil change between 10 and 15 000km; beyond the oil, it is important to service the brakes, too. Generally, pads and possibly rotors will need to be replaced around 100 000km, but every time the vehicle is in for a service, have the brakes checked by a professional.
There is one additional check that many motorists are completely unaware of: A brake fluid flush is recommended every two years by most car manufacturers, regardless of mileage. This is because brake fluid absorbs water from the air. It is also a ‘stressed’ component, because when brakes are applied, heat is generated. Some of that heat is transmitted to the brake fluid, breaking it down. A simple visual check is possible, if you can identify the brake fluid reservoir: it should be a golden colour. If it is dark – brownish or black – it is time for a flush. Or, just make sure to ask your mechanic to check and if necessary, do the job for you.
4. Drive to the conditions
With the confidence that your brakes will always work as designed, stopping safely also depends on using the equipment properly. A common error is to drive the same way regardless of what the road looks like. That is a bad idea, because your ability to stop depends on the road surface. If it is wet or uneven (like corrugations on dirt roads), if visibility is poor in mist, if the road is narrow and winding, then you should adapt your driving accordingly. Giving yourself more space to stop is always a good idea, regardless of the conditions. Remember the three-second rule, even in good weather and with a perfect road surface: count to three when the car in front of you passes a fixed object, and make sure there is three seconds or more before you pass the same object. Double that, or more, if the conditions are less than ideal—and slow down; the speed limit is not a target.
5. What to do if the brakes fail
Sometimes, the unexpected happens. If your brakes fail, stay calm, take your foot off the accelerator, switch on your hazards and let the vehicle slow down. Pump the brake pedal; this can get the brakes working. Change into lower gears to use the gearbox to slow the vehicle; try using the handbrake (which generally operates with a cable rather the brakes’ hydraulic system). Look to pull over where-ever it is safe to do so, and do not forget to apply the handbrake or leave the car in gear once stopped so it won’t roll away.
Finally, do not drive your vehicle, no matter how slowly, if there is a problem with the brakes. Either have it repaired onsite or arrange for your car to be towed to a repair shop.
MiWay is an Authorised Financial Services Provider (Licence no: 33970).
Date Posted: 2018-05-30
Posted By: MiWay Insurance Limited
Listed under these Business Listing Categories: Financial services,
More Company News
- Making money from your baking hobby
- The entrepreneurial case for a co-working space
- Safe driving depends on safe braking: 5 tips to keep you safe
- Health and Safety: The recipe for a better logistics industry
- MiWay sponsors Wally Hayward Marathon for third consecutive year
- Vehicle overloading: Don’t put your business at risk
- Your employees are your greatest asset – manage them well
- Keep your cover in check – important insurance points to ponder
- Passion is the key to entrepreneurial success
- Is your tracking company tracking you correctly?
- Top tips to protect your child's identity
- Stay safe on the roads
- Time is money: Tips to help you use yours well
- Don’t be a statistic: 4 tips to avoid motorcycle hijacking
- Own the open road: Tips for trucking owner-drivers looking to improve their bottom line
- Car hire: read the fine print
- Understanding your blue light rights
- Small business deserves to be a bigger priority
- MiWay’s BusinessAssist service set to promote growth in the SME sector
- The Car Wash Conundrum: How to avoid South Africa’s latest crime trend
- MiWay launches disaster relief fund
- How to avoid buying a water-damaged car
- What happens when you neglect your home maintenance?
- Tips to improve your safety on the roads
- The fine print: Understanding the rules of the road
- The risks of business ownership
- Cover your assets: Things to consider when buying a car
- Shaping tomorrow's leaders
- MiWay backs a winning team
- New MiWay App feature that no road user should be without
- MiWay sponsors 40th Wally Hayward Marathon
- TREAD collaborates with MiWay on MiWayMTB TV show
- MiWayMTB and TREAD team up to offer MTB skills clinics
- Want to improve your MTB performance?
- MiWay keeps its promises
- What should a biker insure? A motorcycle insurance checklist for your peace of mind.
- MiWay Insurance creates jobs in Bloemfontein
- Customers show their support for MiWay
- MiWay and Tracker SA tie the knot
- Insurance innovation: MiWay fixes premiums for three years
- Car Insurance - Parts used to repair insured cars may not compromise safety!
- Useful tips for finding cheaper car insurance!
- MiWay clients benefit from Europ Assistance SA's highly equipped call centre.
- What to consider when deciding on Car Insurance.
- Home Insurance from MiWay
- MiWay.co.za - A South African Insurance Provider
- Miway to Profile Driver Behaviour for More accurate Premiums
- Insure your Boat with MiWay
Fax 2 Email
Study IT Online
Work from Home