Brake early…with no regrets
Hindsight; we’ve all experienced it from time to time. We end up doing things and after it’s done we wish we had done something else. How often does this happen to you? Perhaps a better question is how often does it happen to you while you’re driving? Do you regret making some of your driving decisions?
One of the most common regrets I believe many drivers face is how quickly they approach stopped traffic. With the most common collision in North America being a rear crash, it’s no wonder drivers have regrets about what they did. That is, if they really knew what they did was wrong. Why would any driver who is approaching stopped vehicles suddenly brake to stop just in time? Do they think about what could happen if a problem occurred while braking that would require them to need more time to stop?
I watch drivers every week and almost every day brake late as they approach stopped traffic. A multitude of things could go wrong. What if their brakes had an air bubble in their brake lines and their brakes didn’t respond as soon as they needed them to? What if they hit a slippery section on the road which would lengthen their stopping distance? What if they misjudged their braking distance because of their higher speed and realized they needed more time to stop? All of these factors could really affect whether a driver could stop in time, especially if they braked late.
Since those things can happen to any driver at any time, why take that chance? When I see drivers brake late, most that I’ve spoken to feel they aren’t braking late, so let’s try this on for size. What if, when you see traffic stopped ahead of you, you begin to ease off the gas earlier than you normally would? If you can keep your vehicle moving by the time the traffic in front begins to move instead of coming to a stop, you can also save fuel. There’s a big plus with today’s gas prices!
Another plus is the wear and tear of your brakes. Braking late creates more friction on your brakes, which cause more brake wear over a shorter period of time. Why throw money out the window when you don’t have to?
So how do you know you’re braking late? There are a few ways to figure this out. If you hear a tire squeal or your ABS brakes activate when you’re braking, you know you had to brake hard for a routine stop. If the movement of your passengers is severe toward the front of your vehicle, you should have braked sooner and more gradually. If that little voice inside your head says to you “Man that was close”, you most likely had braked late. Perhaps even your passengers have said something to you about your late braking. How many times do you need these signs to tell you to begin braking sooner?
Making changes to your driving style can save you a lot, as I’ve already mentioned. It’s time to listen to that voice in your head, and perhaps your passengers. If you do make some needed changes, I’m sure you’ll have no regrets.