Apart from slowing or stopping your car, have you ever wondered what else happens when you press the footbrake? Irish Advanced Motorists advises ways of using the brake lights as a signal to reduce the chance of being hit from behind.
Before we apply the footbrake, we should of course check our mirrors to make sure it is actually safe to slow/stop. Braking progressively i.e. gently to start with (so the lights come on ), then gradually increasing the brake pressure during the mid stages (to lose most of the speed ) and finally easing off the pressure towards the end of the braking phase (to stop smoothly ) provides a smooth safe method of stopping as well as an opportunity to let other drivers know what we are about to do.
If we look at some of the typical locations where rear end shunts tend to occur, we can identify opportunities to reduce that risk by warning other drivers of our intention/presence. So over the next week why don’t you try applying these three exercises and notice the effect it has on the driver behind.
First - when waiting at traffic lights, keep your brake pedal pressed until the car coming up behind you stops safely (this should help to let them know you are actually stationary ).
Second - when waiting to emerge at a roundabout, keep your brake lights lit up until you are ready to move off. This should reduce the chance of the driver behind moving forward assuming (incorrectly ) that you were moving off earlier.
Thirdly - aim to brake early and over a longer distance so that sufficient warning is given to following traffic. Finally, with all the above advice, please give the driver behind more time to see your lights and react to them.