The braking system in a vehicle is undeniably one of its most crucial components.
When applied, brakes reduce speed and stop motion, bringing a vehicle to a halt for a red light, stop signal, or to curb speed to avoid collisions. Brakes were first devised in 1922 to prevent vehicle accidents and collisions and to provide a safety net against speeding. Yet, a number of accidents take place due to the malfunctioning of brakes, causing injuries that range from minor to severe.
Types of Brakes
The types of brakes in vehicles include:
Hydraulic brakes – Hydraulic brakes are commonly found in vehicles today. These brakes use hydraulic fluid to apply pressure on the braking device via the controlling mechanism.
Friction brakes – Friction brakes use friction to decrease the speed of a vehicle and include drum brakes, band brakes, and disc brakes.
Air brakes – Air brakes use air to activate a standard brake. Air brakes are mostly used in large vehicles such as buses, trucks, and trailers.
Anti-lock brakes – Anti-lock brakes are used in racing cars. The brake system helps the wheels to maintain traction and prevents the wheels from locking, which could cause skidding,
Electro-magnetic brakes – Electro-magnetic brakes are used in electric cars. These brakes use electricity from the motor to charge the brakes.
Brake-by-wire – Similar to electro-magnetic brakes, these brakes use electrical wires to communicate from a computer to the braking system.
Parking brakes – Parking brakes are also known as emergency brakes. These brakes are designed to bypass the regular braking system using a series of steel cables to control the rear brakes.
Outcome of Brake Failure
Failure of the braking system can result in a car losing control and colliding with other vehicles, pedestrians, or hitting nearby fixed objects. Almost always, brake failure leads to accidents caused due to over speeding as the driver is unable to control speed. Such devastating consequences lead to severe, life altering injuries and even death.
How to Avoid Brake Failure
- Inspect and service your vehicle’s brakes on a regular basis.
- Any outdated parts should be replaced immediately.
- Malfunctioning faulty brake parts should be reported to the manufacturer.