There are a number of reasons a car would fail to brake and according to Vicent Lutaaya, a mechanic and the managing director of Triangle Auto Repairs, low levels of brake fluid is one of them.
He explains that when you apply pressure to the pedal, it pressurises the brake fluid in the master cylinder, causing it to flow through the brake lines to the pistons at each wheel. “However, you might step on the brake and the pedal goes all the way down to the floor is because, “Brake fluid can be lost through a leakage. Without brake fluid, a driver cannot stop the car they are driving. A faulty master cylinder that is not compressing the brake fluid properly can also cause you to lose braking power,” he explains.
Sometimes, especially on untarmacked roads, the water and mud may build up quickly under your tyres that the car will start to float. In this situation, the brakes will not work because you no longer have traction.
Additionally, driving on bald tyres in the rain can cause loss of control of the vehicle or difficulty in stopping because the treads cannot grip the road properly. Even in the dry season, bald tires can easily be punctured by nails and other sharp objects.
WHAT YO DO
Continue pumping on the brake
If you find yourself in a situation where your brakes fail to work, continue pumping on the brakes with your foot. “In case the failure to brake was a s a result of a leak, it might be rectified when you pump enough brake fluid into the system. If your car has ABS simply press hard on the pedal. It may take some seconds for the brakes to start working,”says Lutaaya.
Shift to lower gear
Charles Kayiwa a driving instructor advises that you can use the engine to slow the car by downshifting to lower gears. “Downshift smoothly through the gears; if you do it too quickly you risk a skid. Do not shut off the car to stop it as you will lose control of the steering wheel.”
Use the hand brake
To further slow your vehicle, use the hand brake. However, this can lock up your wheels if applied quickly and with too much pressure. Lutaaya explains that keep the release button on the front of the handle engaged. However, do not use this method if you are driving at more than 40 kmph.
Run into something soft
Lutaaya adds that “if after doing all the above the car fails to stops, then run into something soft off-road such as a banana plantation.”