With good anticipation there should seldom be a need for any driver to have to perform an emergency stop as opposed to a normal stop. However, other road users do make mistakes that can create emergency situations, for instance, a child running out into the road.

In this lesson you will learn the importance of reacting promptly to the ‘STOP’ signal from the instructor by braking firmly and recognising the ABS pulsating. The acceptability of simultaneously depressing the clutch in an ABS vehicle, maintaining car control and stability. The importance of accessing the condition of the road surface, and using the car’s control properly as well as identifying the different types of skid, removing the cause of the skid and using the car’s controls to correct the skid.

You should remember that stopping distance increases greatly at higher speeds or on slippery road surfaces.

Typical stopping distances

Controlled Stop

  • Quick Reaction
  • Use of Footbrake and Clutch (ABS and Non-ABS)
  • Skids (Avoidance and correction)

Controlled Stop or Emergency Stop:

In this exercise, the driving instructor will raise the right hand level above the knee, facing forwards and say ‘STOP’ loudly in the same way you will be told in your driving test. Reading the road well ahead will develop good hazard perception skills. No driver is perfect and there can be a need sometimes to have to perform an emergency stop. As a learner driver you must adapt a post-test driving style that does not rely on repeated heavy braking. All new cars have had anti-lock brakes (ABS) fitted following a European Union mandate that came into force in July 2004. When simulating the emergency scenario where the controlled stop is to be practised, the instructor will ensure that no danger or inconvenience is caused to third parties.

It is important when stopping in an emergency you react to the situation quickly and take your leg away from the gas and start to apply the brake as quickly as possible. Brake progressively but a lot quickly than you normally do. The longer this takes the further your car will travel before stopping. Keep both hands firmly on the steering wheel as just as the car is about to stop press the clutch fully to the floor. Ones the car is stationery apply the hand brake and select neutral to secure the car. Take a deep breath before moving away and prepare your car. Take effective observations all around the car to make sure it is safe to move off. Consider if a signal is necessary.

two second gap When braking firmly there is always an increased risk of skidding particularly if the road is wet, icy or loose. On a good road surface you should allow a  between your vehicle and the vehicle in front. In wet weather this distance should be doubled to four seconds gap and ten times on snow and icy conditions. Before stopping in an emergency there is no need of checking the mirrors as this can add vital seconds to your overall stopping distance. If you have been using your mirrors effectively while driving along you will be up to date with the situation behind.

Frequently asked questions-

  1. Some of the faults that have to be considered in this exercise;
    • Panicking and not reacting promptly to the emergency.
    • Braking too hard or too gently.
    • Simultaneously braking and de-clutching.
    • Applying the handbrake before the vehicle has stopped.
    • Not keeping both hands on the steering wheel when steering wheel when stopping
    • Not recognising the road surface and/or correcting any skid.
    • Using mirrors before stopping
    • Not moving away safely after the exercise.

Food for thought – (You should give a think to the below and discuss this with your instructor)

How can we avoid a skid?

Do you know your shortest stopping distance?

Lesson no: 

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