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Safe way to stop quickly

Normally, a good driver will not need to carry out an emergency stop as they’ll be vigilant and anticipate potential hazards, so hard braking becomes unnecessary. However, emergencies do happen and you must be able to react fast and stop quickly, safely, and under control, without skidding. While most cars today come with ABS brakes (anti-lock braking system) to help stop your wheels locking up and causing a skid, ABS is not a cure-all. It cannot overcome bad driving techniques, problems of poor contact with the road due to surface water, loose road surfaces, worn tyres, or driving too fast for the road, traffic, and weather conditions. During your practical test, you may be asked to simulate an emergency or controlled stop. As this manoeuvre leaves you no time to look in your mirrors, don’t try, but remember that a good driver always keeps a regular lookout on what’s behind. Again, do not signal as you will need both hands on the steering wheel for maximum control. Your seatbelt should keep you in your seat, and your hands on the wheel will help to brace you and keep the vehicle straight. Squeeze the brake pedal firmly and fully to stop and then press your clutch down to stop the engine stalling or cutting out. Once you have come to a halt and completed the manoeuvre, if there is no more danger, apply the handbrake and select neutral or park. If you’ve stopped in the middle of the road, use all your mirrors and windows, and check both left and right-hand blind spots before safely moving off. To perform a correct emergency stop it’s important to avoid coasting, so don’t apply the clutch before the brake as this will reduce the effectiveness of your braking.