You should be checking your mirrors in pairs, every time you see a hazard. A hazard is anything that can cause you to take action to avoid, or it can be a manoeuvre that needs care and attention to perform. Examples: a child on the path, a cyclist, junction or bend in the road. Anything that you look at that is not 100% predictable or controllable requires you to check your mirrors as it is a hazard. There is no time to check your mirror if you have to perform an emergency stop, so we need to keep up to date with what’s behind all the time. Always check the interior first, then the appropriate door mirror before you slow down. This is because if there is something too close behind or beside you, you can slow down early to void an accident from behind as well as in front. This is the reason good anticipation is very important; it is your ability to spot any hazard and react in time. Nobody knows when something that can potentially cause an accident is going to happen, so hazard perception and anticipating them will be the difference between being safe or not. So if someone is tail-gating you, then slow down and give yourself more time to react to what is happening in front.
If you are unfortunate and have to perform a controlled stop, most of what you do will be a natural reaction to not wanting to hit something.
First thing is to get your right foot to the break; don’t stamp on it but push it down firm and hard and as the car comes to a stop. Put the clutch down to prevent the car from stalling and apply the hand break. Don’t put the clutch down too early, as you need the engine to keep the wheel turning to prevent a skid. Once you have stopped and secured the car, use the procedure P-O-M to move off.
If the car starts to skid before stopping, take the pressure off of the foot brake very quickly and the put it back on to get the wheels turning again, (a skidding car can go as fast as a car not breaking at all.) This is called cadence braking. If your car has ABS it will stop/start your wheels very quickly to keep the wheels moving. This will feel like shuddering sensation on your foot. If the ABS light lights up on your dashboard, take your car to the garage ASAP as this could mean your brakes may fail. If, during skidding, the back end of the car starts going to the left or right, steer the car in to the skid. If the back end is going left, then steer left and so on.
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