We’ve all seen how pro drivers or racecar drivers can perform smooth braking manoeuvres.
They stop on time and stop on a dime.
And unless they slam on the brakes, their passengers won’t even feel like the car coming to a halt.
If your passengers have ever complained that they feel like they’re in an SBS bus while you’re driving, you need to improve!
The good news is that you don’t have to be a professional driver like Frank Martin in The Transporter to perform smooth braking.
Tip #1: Anticipation is key and easy does it
Smooth braking relies very much on anticipation and situational awareness.
If you can see that traffic ahead is slowing down, start moderating your speed.
Gently (never suddenly, unless it’s an emergency) lift your foot from the accelerator pedal.
The key is to lower your car’s speed so that it takes less braking power to stop it.
Jerky, SBS bus-like hard stops are a result of drivers carrying too much speed too often.
If you’ve ever noticed, they brake at the last minute and the whole bus feels like it’s straining against a leash.
You should also keep your distance from the car in front.
This ensures you’ll always have enough room to complete the braking manoeuvre.
Close calls are always accompanied by rough braking patterns.
Tip #2: Heavier vehicles mean longer stopping distances
This sounds like a no-brainer, but many drivers still forget this fact of physics.
If you have five people in a sedan, your stopping distance is going to be longer than if it you were alone in the car.
Therefore, you need to give yourself extra room to stop in time.
Again, anticipation is critical. If you witness traffic way up front slowing down, moderate your speed.
Lower your car’s speed so that you can stop in good time without being hard on the brake pedal.
Tip #3: Brake, release and brake again
This third tip to smooth braking takes a while to master.
Basically, as you come to a halt, you should ease your foot from the brake pedal.
This does not mean lifting off the brake pedal completely!
What you want to be able to do is come to a complete stop using the lightest brake pressure possible.
And when you come to a halt, you then put firmer pressure on the brake pedal to hold the car, as you normally would.
If done correctly, your passengers will feel the car gradually slowing down and coming to a stop without that awkward jerk forwards and backwards (like an SBS bus).
Keep practicing these three tips and before you know it, smooth braking will become second nature!
Read about brake by wire