While I was at the Lexus Family Safety Camp, the professional drivers gave us pointers to be better, safer drivers.  Here are some tips to help you should an emergency situation call for emergency braking.

Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)

Your brakes are more powerful than your engine.  Here, let me say it again.  Your brakes are more powerful than your engine.  Your vehicle’s brakes should be able to stop you if they are in good working order.  If you are in a situation where your vehicle refuses to stop (for instance, a runaway vehicle with the motor racing), put the gear lever into neutral and apply the brakes.  The vehicle will stop.  As a last resort, turn the motor off.  In doing so, your power systems—power steering and power braking—will cease working after a few seconds, but the vehicle will still be drivable enough for you to steer to the side of the road and brake; it’ll just require more effort.

Anti-lock brakes pump the brake pedal for you.  In the olden days (oh, say, when I learned how to drive), we were taught to pump the brakes for maximum braking efficiency.  Nowadays, that’s what ABS does for us.  The proper way to use the system is to step on the brakes.  If anti-lock is needed, the brake pedal will vibrate automatically (it’s scary if you’ve never felt/heard it before!).  Just step on the brake pedal and let it do its job.