Driv­ing: How to brake prop­erly

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

The amount of coolant ad­di­tive to be mixed with wa­ter de­pends on your lo­cal cli­mate, your man­ual will tell you which ad­di­tive and the mix­ing ra­tio to use. In ex­tremely cold ar­eas it is pos­si­ble for the coolant to freeze (though we are fairly safe in Australia) and cause en­gine dam­age if the ra­tio isn’t right. If you live in a par­tic­u­larly cold area, it’s worth get­ting the con­cen­tra­tion checked prior to win­ter to make sure you’re not putting your car at risk.

If the ex­pan­sion tank is empty, don’t add any­thing to the reser­voir. There’s a risk that air could have found its way into the sys­tem which would cause ma­jor is­sues if you top it up. Head straight to a pro­fes­sional for help.

THE first rule for brak­ing when road driv­ing is not to. You should be us­ing skilled ob­ser­va­tion of traf­fic sit­u­a­tions to avoid the need to slow down, or be sur­prised so that you end up brak­ing harshly at the last minute. If you can do that then you’ll use less fuel, and move from A to B quicker as you won’t need to spend time ac­cel­er­at­ing again, be­cause you’re al­ready at speed.

For ex­am­ple, see that red light in the dis­tance? Don’t rush up to it and slam the an­chors on, cruise up and cruise through as it turns green. What the round­about? Time your en­trance so you don’t need to slow down. And, no, we’re not sug­gest­ing you can just blast your way along no mat­ter what, just that ob­ser­va­tion is ev­ery­thing when driv­ing.

Sooner or later you will need to brake. The right way is smooth… gen­tly ap­ply pres­sure up to a max­i­mum, and then ease equally smoothly off the pedal. The throt­tle is not a light-switch, it’s a dim­mer switch. Bad driv­ers just jump off the brake pedal, and ev­ery­one feels a mo­men­tary jerk as the weight trans­fers off the front wheels. Good driv­ers pro­gres­sively re­lease the brake and tran­si­tion to the ac­cel­er­a­tor so smoothly no­body can quite tell when brak­ing has fin­ished. You’re bet­ter able to be smooth if you’ve prac­ticed that good ob­ser­va­tion so you’re look­ing well ahead at all times.

Com­ing to a stop also sep­a­rates the good driver from the bad. The bad way is the taxi stop – con­stant brake pres­sure, then the car rocks back on its sus­pen­sion as it comes to a halt. The good way is the limo stop – as the car is about to halt re­lax the brake pres­sure so you al­most roll to a stop with no nose­dive and rocking back­wards. Don’t for­get to leave enough space be­tween you and the car in front such that you can see its rear tyres – that way you can ma­noeu­vre out of the way if needs be. You’ll usu­ally find the brake fluid reser­voir hid­den up be­hind the en­gine. It’s not some­thing you should change your­self, but you do need to keep an eye on it and it may need the oc­ca­sional top up.

The fluid level will go down as the brake But in the case of an emer­gency all that goes out the win­dow.

Emer­gency Brak­ing with ABS Most cars th­ese days have ABS, and the brak­ing tech­nique is sim­ple. Smash your foot to the floor and keep it there, re­gard­less of what­ever puls­ing you feel through the pedal. The main ad­van­tage of ABS is that it doesn’t lock the wheels, which al­lows you to brake and steer, as op­posed to non-abs cars which would lock the front wheels – then you’re trav­el­ling in a straight line re­gard­less of what you do with the wheel. One other tip for an emer­gency stop is to look where you want to go and steer where you want to go. You tend to hit what you’re look­ing at. Some driv­ing ex­perts may query the ex­act tech­nique de­scribed above, per­haps favour­ing a less ag­gres­sive stab of the brakes..but let’s be hon­est in real-world sit­u­a­tions with non-ex­pert driv­ers slam­ming Usu­ally lo­cated on the pas­sen­ger side un­der the bon­net, lo­cate the reser­voir and re­move the cap. Some cars will have a see-through con­tainer with a min and max mark.

It’s best to do this when the car is cold. Like the oil, the cap will have a dip­stick at­tached you foot to the floor quickly is the best move, and mod­ern cars are de­signed to han­dle it.

Emer­gency Brak­ing ABS If your car doesn’t have ABS then brak­ing is more com­plex. You need to quickly and firmly squeeze on the brakes, but don’t stab as that might lock the wheels. In­crease brake pres­sure rapidly, but if the wheels lock then you must in­stantly re­lax the brake pres­sure a frac­tion, then reap­ply. Do not jump off the brakes, it’s just a frac­tional eas­ing, and then in­stantly reap­ply. In ef­fect, you’re do­ing what ABS does. How do you know when the wheels lock? You’ll hear a sud­den squeal, but re­mem­ber a lit­tle bit of tyre noise is nor­mal when brak­ing hard.

If you brake with­out ABS on dry roads and the wheels lock up then your stop­ping dis­tance will be about what it would have been had they

with­out not locked. How­ever, you won’t be able to steer. A stan­dard demon­stra­tion on car con­trol cour­ses is brake hard enough to lock the front wheels, turn the steer­ing wheel to full lock, and the car car­ries on dead straight. To re­gain steer­ing con­trol, you need to again re­lax that brake pres­sure just a frac­tion which frees up some tyre grip for turn­ing as op­posed to us­ing it all for brak­ing. If you had ABS that would be done au­tomag­i­cally for you.

If emer­gency brak­ing with­out ABS sounds dif­fi­cult, well, it is. That’s why ABS is such a life­saver. Best ad­vice is to find a de­serted road and prac­tice (from only 60km/h) or bet­ter yet, go on low-risk driver train­ing course. But re­mem­ber, the best driv­ers never need to do emer­gency stops be­cause they’ve ob­served and an­tic­i­pated the prob­lems be­fore they ac­tu­ally hap­pen. Brak­ing wis­dom – true or false You should use the en­gine to slow

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.