How to do an Emergency Stop

What Exactly Is An Emergency Stop?

When you’re driving, you may come across hazards on the road that requires you to stop suddenly. Imagine that you’re on the road and a child runs out from behind a parked car, for example. You need to stop the car as quickly as possible while ensuring that the car stays under your control.

In a driving test scenario, your examiner will ask you to pull over at the curbside and explain that you will now be performing an emergency stop somewhere on the road ahead. The examiner will inform you that they are going to raise their hand in advance so that you know to look out for the cue. When the examiner raises their hand, you will need to bring the car to a standstill as fast as you can without losing control of the vehicle. The examiner will manage traffic behind you and only ask you to stop when it’s safe to do so.

How To Do An Emergency Stop

To pass this element of your driving test, follow these simple steps:

  • Stop without checking your mirrors: this will increase your stopping time and slow your reaction time.
  • Brake firmly but don’t slam your foot down on the pedal.
  • Put your clutch down just before you stop to prevent stalling.
  • Keep both hands on the wheel at all times to keep control and prepare for the next movement. In a real-life scenario, this might be moving the car in a different direction, for example.
  • Move away safely after checking all mirrors and blind spots.

What To Do After An Emergency Stop

After you have performed an emergency stop, it’s imperative that you check your mirrors and your blind spots before moving off. If there are vehicles passing, wait for a safe gap, due to your position in the road a signal isn’t needed and may even be seen as misleading to other drivers. Don’t the moving off process as to move away without mirrors and blind spot checks will always result in a fail.

Skid Control & Anti-Locking Braking Systems

When you perform an emergency stop, there may be a risk of skidding. If you feel the back of the car moving to the left, steer the car in that direction. Sometimes, especially in older vehicles, the wheels can lock when you stop suddenly, and this indicates that you’ve gone into a skid. If this happens, gently release the brake and then brake again. Repeat this pattern.

If you have a new car, it’s highly likely that it will have anti-locking braking systems. If the wheels are about to lock, the system will be activated and the car will start to pump the brakes quickly to prevent locking and avoid skidding.

Stopping Distances

It’s important to be aware of stopping distances, especially if it’s raining or the roads are icy. If you’re travelling on a 30mph road, for example, the stopping distance is 23 metres. Always leave a gap of at least 2 seconds between your vehicle and the car in front.

Why Do People Fail The Emergency Stop?

The most common reasons for failing an emergency stop include:

  • Slow reactions
  • Failing to stop fast enough
  • Losing control and skidding
  • Taking your hands off the wheel
  • Using the handbrake before the car has stopped
  • Failing to carry out checks and observations

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