Using your brakes
A good driver uses their footbrake sparingly, and should rarely have to brake heavily if they drive in a smooth and controlled way. Many people seem to drive as fast as possible and then brake heavily wherever they go. This is not just poor driving technique, it will also use up their petrol very rapidly!
In normal driving situations you should be able to bring your car to a halt without ever having to brake heavily.
In order to slow the vehicle down smoothly you will need to have plenty of space between you and your stopping point, so always think ahead and keep your distance from the vehicle in front.
The initial pressure on the brake pedal should be gentle and gradual. You should do this until you notice the brakes are starting to slow you down.
Next you need to gently 'squeeze' the brake pedal to reduce your speed as much as you need to. If you are in a traffic queue, keeping a large gap between you and the vehicle in front can mean you won't have to stop completely.
If you do need to stop, this can be done smoothly by taking 95% of your speed off as described above, and on releasing the brake, let the vehicle roll slowly to a halt.
The method for emergency braking depends largely on whether you have an ABS or 'Anti-lock Braking System' on your car.
If you have an ABS and you need to stop quickly, you need to 'stamp' hard on the footbrake and hold your foot there. The ABS will be activated and you will feel your brakes 'juddering' on and off very quickly under your foot. This can be a little unnerving at first, but remember that unless you keep your foot down hard on the brake pedal, the ABS will disengage and you may not stop in time.
If you just have conventional disc brakes, then you will have to manually emulate the operation of an ABS system by 'pumping' the footbrake. This simply means pushing the brake on, then off, then on, then off etc. fairly quickly until you come to a stop. This action should slow you down quickly without the wheels locking-up and the car skidding.
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