What to Do When Your Brakes Go Out

You’re driving down the road in your pickup rental heading to your work site when suddenly your brakes go out. Trying not to panic, you drive defensively in and out of traffic, hoping that your car will roll to a stop. It’s like an action scene of a Hollywood movie; the only problem is that you aren’t Matt Damon.

Here at Summit Fleet, our rental trucks are always regularly maintained and checked so that this doesn’t happen to you. But if by chance something does go wrong, we want you to be prepared whether you’re in our vehicles or your own personal car.

Step One: Reduce Speed

If you have a manual transmission begin shifting down to a lower gear. If you have an automatic, pump the brake pedal fast and hard. If brake fluid pressure does not build after three or four pumps, try to steer in a safe direction and away from other vehicles or objects as you come to a stop.

Step Two: Preparing to Stop

As you weave in and out of traffic you can use the parking brake for emergency stops. The car will skid when the brake is engaged, so do your best to not turn the steering wheel much, putting yourself at greater harm. You can also gently rub your car against a guard rail to slow the car down. This option should be a last resort.

Warning Others

Be sure that throughout the process you are flashing lights, honking your horn and doing whatever you can to warn the cars around you that something is wrong. Crash statistics show that brake-related problems accounted for about 22 percent of car accidents related to mechanical issues. Some of these accidents could have been avoided if the driver had been better prepared as to how to handle the issue.

We hope that you’ll never have to deal with a brake failure. Make sure you check brake fluid regularly and listen for signs of worn brakes — a scraping or squealing sound or overly-soft brake pedal. If you do find yourself in this situation you will be prepared to handle it wisely and efficiently.

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We are excited to announce that Flex Fleet Rental has become part of Summit Fleet to offer world-class fleet rentals, fleet management, and leasing!