Braking normally (also known as progressive braking) in dry weather scenarios should come easily to most drivers. The general technique is to brake gently, whilst alternating the pressure, so that the car comes to a stop gently.
However, in different weathers, braking requires a different technique. Learning how to brake properly is important, because it keeps you and others on the road safe. Braking essentially affects the stopping distance between you and the car front. However, it's not just weather that affects your stopping distance. It also depends on…
- How heavy your car is.
- Whether your tyres are in good condition, i.e. tread and inflation.
- The condition of the road. Is it gravel? Are you driving off-road?
- Worn discs and pads on your brakes will increase stopping distance.
- The weather conditions. Snow and ice are generally the trickiest to navigate.
Have a read below to find out the proper technique for braking in all weathers.
For dry, normal, or sunny conditions, you should be able to brake normally. Make sure to maintain a good distance between you and the car in front, and go for the progressive braking technique. Progressive braking means applying the brakes gently, and then using variable pressure, until the car comes to a gentle stop. When braking, it’s best to brake early, to give yourself enough time to come to a relaxed stop.
Driving in the rain is tricky enough with the decreased visibility, which is why you should always keep your headlights on, and try not to drive too close to large vehicles which could create a huge splash. As for braking, you’ll need to slow down and avoid using the brakes, trying to take your foot off the accelerator to slow down instead. It’s worth noting you should stick to the middle of the road, as water tends to pool to the sides. Also, never drive through moving water, as your car could be swept away.
Snow and Ice
You could be stuck driving in bad winter conditions for a while, so make sure you have decent and comfy footwear on that won’t slip off the brake and other pedals. If you do have to apply to brakes, then make sure you do so very gently. Otherwise, just decelerate, making sure to leave lots of room between you and every other car. Drive slowly too, so you won’t have to put yourself in a position where you need to brake suddenly.