You’re driving down the road and as you come upon a corner you sudenly realize the brakes aren’t doing any good and the vehicle continues going forward, what do you do?
This is a real-world scenario that causes many accidents year after year and as with many other car troubles, totally avoidable (most of the time that is, there is the 1% in the 99% reliability of your brakes that it can fail without any apparent reason). The key is maintenance, for if there has been sufficient maintenance on the vehicle meaning all safety and vital systems are inspected on a regular basis, there should not be any problems like this. Maintenance gives owners a chance to find problems as they begin as with brakes, yoi can see fluid from the brake system on the pavement or on the wheel rims. Hoses might be cracked or for the unfortunate few, that rock or piece of steel you ran over might have severed a brake line (actually hose) and your car is bleeding vital brake fluid needed to stop safely. Enough of the sermon and back to the point, What do you do?
First, any sign of trouble whe in a car, hit the flasher lights to tell everybody that something is wrong. Check the area in front of you if there are any vehicles in the way, if there are then you have to find spot to go to without hurting anybody else. If you are on open road like the interstate or highway, you can try pumping the brake which might give you some stopping power and use the hand brakes intermittently till you get to a full stop, ideally off the road on the shoulder. Using the handbrake is effective, but do it slowly for pulling hard can cause the rear tires to lock and spin you in many ways than one.
The point is, to keep you calm for panic causes you to loose your objectivity. Most modern cars have dual brake systems where the front driver’s side wheel and the rear pasenger’s side wheel are connected and so are the opposite two. You can brake (but you might have to push a bit harder on the pedal) even with one system down and use the handbrake to augment them. For some more important information check out the NSC fro more details
Keep safe, drive carefully and get home safe.