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Emergency Stop




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Parallel / reverse parking Pulling up on the right
Emergency stop Driving test menu

How to do an emergency stop.


The objective of the emergency stop is to stop the car promptly as if in an emergency and in full control.

You should hopefully never have to do an emergency stop when driving as you'll always be planning ahead and anticipating what might happen next. Always drive at a suitable speed for the road and traffic conditions. If something does happen ahead then hopefully you'll be ready for it.

This is an extra manoeuvre on the driving test that you might have to carry out as well as a reversing exercise.

Your driving examiner will be looking for fast reactions and your ability to stop the car quickly in full control.

Read on to find out how to do it.



Video on how to do an emergency stop





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What happens on the driving test.


The examiner will ask you to pull up on the left and say something similar to this... "Shortly I shall ask you to carry out an emergency stop. When I give this signal, (simultaneously raises hand) ‘Stop’, I’d like you to stop as quickly and as safely as possible. Before giving the signal I shall look round to make sure it is safe, but please wait for my signal before doing the exercise.

Do you understand the instructions?"

ABS or no ABS?


Firstly you need to check if the car you're driving has ABS (anti-lock braking system). Ask your driving instructor if it does. Another way to tell is if an ABS warning light is displayed on the dashboard briefly when you turn on the ignition. There's more information on ABS below.

Emergency stop with ABS.


A lot of modern cars have ABS (anti-lock braking system) which has been a legal requirement for passenger cars sold in the EU from July 2004. ABS is a safety feature that prevents the wheels from locking up. ABS isn't a magic cure for bad driving though.

Drive at a speed that's suitable for the road you're on. Don't drive faster than you normally would or slower. When the examiner say's stop, release the gas pedal, tighten your grip on the steering wheel (keeping it straight) press the foot brake quickly and firmly and then press the clutch down straight after.

Once you've stopped, secure the car with the handbrake, select neutral, check all around (blind spots and mirrors) and then drive on when it's safe.

If your car has ABS and it senses that you've gone into a skid then the brakes will pump on and off very quickly. You will feel this on the brake pedal as a pulsing feeling. Some ABS systems can cycle up to 15 times a second.

Always consider the road conditions. Wet or poor road surfaces, even wet leaves can be slippery. Drive at a speed which will allow you to stop in control without skidding.

Show me, tell me questions

The other manoeuvres

If your car doesn't have ABS.


Emergency stop in a car
Drive at a speed that's suitable for the road you're on. Don't drive faster than you normally would or slower. When the examiner say's stop, come off gas, gently tighten your grip on the steering wheel (keep it straight), press the foot brake progressively and then press the clutch.

But what is progressive braking? If you press the brake as hard as you can then you might lose control of the car (skidding might be a result of this). To avoid this, you must press the brake gradually, starting gently and build up the pressure.

Hopefully you won't but if you do go into a skid then you would have to pump the brakes up and down quickly (cadence braking). Always steer into skids. For example, if the back of your car skids out to the right then steer right. This will straighten your car, but make sure that you straighten your steering as soon as your car is straight.

Remember to press the clutch before stopping to prevent stalling (stalling is not a test fail here but it's good not to stall if you can).

Once you've stopped, secure the car with the handbrake, select neutral, check all around (blind spots and mirrors) and then drive on when it's safe.

Bad weather


Keep an extra distance from the vehicle in front if conditions are bad. Remember the 2 second rule for normal driving, 10 times longer if it's icy or double the normal distance if it's wet.

Driving in freezing conditions is very dangerous as black ice is almost impossible to see. If you drive on ice you will notice that your steering is lighter and there will be less road noise. Come off gas if you feel that you're driving on ice and let the car slow down gently. Don't do anything sudden.



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