Emergency Stop

Emergency Stop

An emergency stop is required as part of your safe driving for life

Things happen or people do things without thinking, as a driver you want to be able to deal with anything that happens.

Whether its a child running to see there friends or to an ice cream van

Through to someone with their headphones on, who is just in a world of their own and doesn't even know that you are there.

When you're taking your driving test, there's a 1-in-3 chance that you'll be asked to complete an emergency stop. If you end up having to demonstrate an emergency stop, the examiner will tell you to pull up on the left beforehand and give you verbal instruction.

Emergency Stop - The examiners instruction

In a short time, I will ask you to carry out an emergency stop. I will do so by giving the signal, “stop”, and raising my hand.

When I do, I'd like you to stop as quickly and as safely as possible.

Don't worry about looking around, I will make sure it's safe before asking you to do so.


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Emergency Stop Control

 If you end up having to demonstrate an emergency stop, the examiner will tell you to pull up on the left beforehand and give you verbal instructions

Throughout the manoeuvre, the examiner will be keeping an eye out for:

  • Speed. You will have already had prior warning that the procedure is impending, and you'll also be told that the examiner will carry out observations and checks to ensure it is safe. As such, it's up to you to act quickly and decisively as soon as you get the verbal and visual cues.

  • Control of the vehicle. Using the clutch and brake pedals correctly, you will need to maintain full control of the vehicle as you bring it to a stop. Any swerving, screeching or coasting may result in you picking up minor (or major) faults.

  • Checks and observations. Once you've completed the procedure, you'll be expected to complete full all-around checks to ensure it is safe and clear for you to move off and rejoin traffic.


Emergency Stop - How To Do It

No mirrors

As a normal part of your driving you should be checking your mirrors reguarly.

Therefore when something unexpected happens in front

There is no need to check the mirrors for what is behind.

Your prime concern is for whoever has stepped out in front of you.

Emergency Stop - Quickly on the brakes

The fact that we are trying to save the life of someone that has stepped out in front of us means we need to react quickly

So before doing the actual emergency stop, it's always good to just practice moving your foot quickly from the gas pedal and onto the brake pedal

Thinking Distance and Stopping Distance

 stopping distance = thinking distance + braking distance.

The ‘thinking distance’ is how long it takes for the driver to react to a hazard and apply the brake.

At higher speeds, the car will cover a greater distance while the driver realises he or she needs to brake to avoid a hazard. The Highway Code provides the following thinking distances at different speeds:

Emergency Stop - Stopping Distances

The second part of the overall stopping distance is made up of the braking distance. This is how far your car travels while you’ve got your foot on the brake attempting to bring it to an emergency stop.

At 20mph, the braking distance is exactly the same as the thinking distance. These combine to provide a total stopping distance of 12 metres.

At 70mph, the 75-metre braking distance makes up nearly 80% of the overall 96-metre stopping distance.

Emergency Stop - Keep Both Hands On The Wheel

The reason for this is not just about control of the vehicle

In an emergency stop - when the car is braking suddenly, the weight of the car is thrown forwards.

Having both your hands on the wheel, acts as a shock absorber, and stops you being pushed forward on to the steering wheel.

This way you remain in control of the vehicle

Emergency Stop

The weight of the car is thrown forward in an emergency stop.

This means the back of the car becomes very light

If the rear brakes are not adjusted properly

it may result in a rear wheel skid

Emergency Stop - Brakes Before Clutch

Remember in an emergency stop its BBC - Brakes Before Clutch

If we press the clutch down first and you are on a slight downhill

The danger is, the car will start to speed up.

However if we don't press the clutch down

The danger is, that the car stalls

As it stalls it will jump forward and hit whoever has stepped out in front

Don't Slam the brakes so you skid


"Avoid braking so hard that you lock any of the wheels"

If you lock the wheels - you still keep moving forwards - If you lock the wheels and the ABS is activated - you still don't stop any quicker

ABS just provides a small amount of steering control that you wouldnt have had otherwise.

If you get used to stopping so harshly that the ABS activates, then if you have a car without it, the danger is, you lose total control of the vehicle



Handbrake on - Be prepared to keep brakes on too

By putting the handbrake on - this allows you time to compose yourself

it also allows time to select the correct gear - Get the bite point and Gas before moving off.

Full All Around Observations

Before moving off remember to do a full all around check.

Left Blindspot,

Left Mirror

then Centre mirror, ahead, right mirror, right blindspot then if its safe drive on

The reason for this is, you are not pulled up at the side of the road, so anything could now be trying to get past on either side.

So you need to check all around that it is safe, before driving on.

If You've enjoyed this explanation - Why not get our Drivers Guide To...

The Drivers Guide To Manoeuvres provides all the information you need on the Emergency stop as well as all the other driving manoeuvres.

These are great for

  • Learner Drivers
  • Experienced Drivers wanting to refresh their knowledge
  • ADI Part 2 Training
  • ADI Part 3 training

The cost is just £10.00

If you're a driving instructor hand have pupils that would benefit from having a folder on hand so that they can revise and get to know the manoeuvres, then you can offer these to them.

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