If the braking system in your car fails, you and other road users are in big trouble. Brakes allow you to slow down and stop with efficiency and safety. At its simplest, a brake a mechanism which inhibits wheel motion and allows you to slow down or stop.
Most modern vehicles have disc brakes. Each wheel hub has a disc with a caliper positioned around its edge. The disc rotates with the wheel, but the caliper’s position is fixed. When you apply pressure on the brake pedal, a hydraulically operated piston inside the caliper squeezes brake pads against both sides of the moving disc, thus slowing down the vehicle.
Another type of automotive brake is a drum brake. These work in a similar way to a disc brake but have brake ‘shoes’ which push against the inside of a rotating drum to slow down the vehicle.
Many vehicles have disc brakes fitted to the front wheels and drum brakes fitted to the rear. The front wheels of your vehicle carry the major stopping force.
There are two modern braking systems which can further enhance your safety on the road.
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
ABS prevents the brakes from locking the wheels and sending you into an uncontrolled skid. As your wheels will remain in traction with the road, in an emergency braking situation this will enable you to remain in control of the vehicle and potentially steer away from danger.
Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
AEB uses sensors to monitor how close you are to other vehicles. These sensors can detect speed and evaluate the likelihood of a collision occurring. If the AEB system detects a possible collision, it can automatically apply the brakes to avoid it, or at least lessen its impact.