Braking

See Brake System Warning Light .

Braking action involves perception time and reaction time. Deciding to push the brake pedal is perception time. Actually doing it is reaction time.

Average reaction time is about three-fourths of a second. But that is only an average. It might be less with one driver and as long as two or three seconds or more with another. Age, physical condition, alertness, coordination, and eyesight all play a part. So do alcohol, drugs, and frustration.

But even in three-fourths of a second, a vehicle moving at 100 km/h (60 mph) travels 20m (66 ft). That could be a lot of distance in an emergency, so keeping enough space between the vehicle and others is important.

And, of course, actual stopping distances vary greatly with the surface of the road, whether it is pavement or gravel; the condition of the road, whether it is wet, dry, or icy; tire tread; the condition of the brakes; the weight of the vehicle; and the amount of brake force applied.

Avoid needless heavy braking. Some people drive in spurts — heavy acceleration followed by heavy braking — rather than keeping pace with traffic. This is a mistake. The brakes might not have time to cool between hard stops. The brakes will wear out much faster with a lot of heavy braking. Keeping pace with the traffic and allowing realistic following distances eliminates a lot of unnecessary braking. That means better braking and longer brake life.

If the engine ever stops while the vehicle is being driven, brake normally but do not pump the brakes. If the brakes are pumped, the pedal could get harder to push down. If the engine stops, there will still be some power brake assist but it will be used when the brake is applied. Once the power assist is used up, it can take longer to stop and the brake pedal will be harder to push.

Adding non-dealer accessories can affect vehicle performance. See Accessories and Modifications .

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