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Emergency Braking Without ABS

Knowing about emergency braking procedures is a lot like knowing some basic first aid. Staying up to date with your first aid training and understanding emergency braking procedures should be a priority because when you need these skills, split second decisions are the difference between life and death.

In an emergency braking situation in a vehicle without ABS, there are three common scenarios -

1. Brake Lockup

Brake lockup occurs when a vehicle operator panics and fully depresses the brake pedal. This causes the wheels to stop moving which results in a decreased amount of friction between the vehicle and the road which means a greater stopping distance and a vehicle which is much harder to control while this is happening.

2. Stab Braking

Stab braking is the second scenario where the operator repeatedly depresses the brake pedal. Although doing this does not result in brake lockup, it is not ideal as this can cause the air pressure in the air brake system to be used up very quickly which can result in the emergency brakes engaging if the pressure drops too much. A certain amount of pressure in the braking system is required to keep the emergency brakes disengaged. This is a safety feature, as if there is ever a malfunction in the braking system, the springs holding the emergency brakes in the disengaged position will automatically snap them closed.

3. Threshold Braking

Threshold braking is the ideal scenario for emergency braking and is where the operator depresses the brake pedal right up to the point where the brakes start to Iock up, releasing the pedal until the wheels move freely and then repeating the procedure until the vehicle comes to a stop. A driver can manually perform this procedure maybe a few times a second whereas ABS systems can perform this many times over in the same period of time. This third scenario is great in theory, however many inexperienced drivers often panic and lock up the brakes.


Purple Truck Driving School in Toowoomba make sure that you properly understand what to do in an emergency braking situation. No matter where the drive takes you, we strive to give you the skills and confidence to take on the worst that the road can throw at you. If you want to brush up on your first aid training, we recommend St John's Ambulance as they offer a comprehensive selection of training that is sure to suit your needs.

Safe driving.

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