How to Avoid Panicking When Your Brakes Fail (Video)

You count on your car’s brakes a lot — so what if, all of a sudden, you can’t? Here’s what to do.

Drivers rely on their brakes a lot — especially in hilly San Francisco. And it’s pretty darn scary when you hit the brake pedal and nothing happens.

I had that white-knuckle experience in college, driving some friends up and down the steep streets of San Francisco in my notoriously unreliable car, Toby. (How unreliable? Let’s just say I was on a first-name basis with the local tow-truck driver. Thanks again, Steve.)

As we cruised down Divisadero towards a busy intersection, I pressed the brake, but we kept on rolling.

Cue stomach dropping and heart in mouth.

Fortunately, I was able to stop by gradually pulling the emergency brake, and when the light changed I coasted across the intersection and into a gas station. It all ended well, but it wasn’t a situation I’d really prepared for.

Hopefully this never happens to you, but if it does, you can be prepared by watching this helpful video.

As for Toby, I got his brakes fixed. And a broken muffler, blown tire, and defunct alternator later, we parted ways. May he rust in peace.

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