emergency brakes

Has anyone here actually used the emergency brakes in their car in (go figure) an actual emergency? If so, were you driving a standard or automatic?
Any stats out there on how many lives are saved each year coz of them? Just curious…

i lent my 65 ford to a buddy of mine (a pilot!) to tool around vegas while i was at work. well, the rear brake line ruptured and the system lost all pressure. my buddy, being a pilot and used to dealing with emergencys, quickly reached for the emergency brake…

… the whole handle and rod pulled straight out in his hand! (it has never been hooked up since i have owned the piece of shit!)

i didn’t actually see his face, but to this day i can picture him doing this and the expression on his face must have been classic.

i get a call at work to come pick up my truck up out of the flower gardens in front of the mirage casino on the strip. i clamped off the rear brakes with a vise-grip and motored off. they tried to bill him for the damage, but he didn’t pay, and neither did i!

we still laugh about this! (no person or plant life was harmed in the making of this post. just kinda like a big “ball mark” on the grass)

USed it 2x - once then a brake line broke and the other 2- I was in the passanger seat and the car started rolling down a hill

Read your owners manual. It’s called a parking brake, not an emergency brake, for a reason. They really aren’t for use in an emergency.

I drove a lot of 2nd (3rd, 4th) hand foreign cars in my younger days, and I can assure you, it’s an emergency brake, not parking brake. Saved my ass several times. Once in a 63 Volvo when a brake line broke, going down a hill was the most memorable.
I have a 1954 MG-TF with questionable hydraulics. Always have my hand on the emergency brake in case the brake pedal goes to the floor and won’t pump up fast enough. On old MG’s, the emergency brake is a “shooting brake” which means it won’t lock on unless you press the button. This allows you to pull it up to apply rear wheel braking for faster cornering.
More applicable to those with late model cars is using the emergency brake on snow and ice with a front wheel drive car to bring the rear end around. When you are “understeering” and heading off the far side of the road, apply the hand brake and the rear end comes around pointing the car in the right direction and pulling you through the turn. Keep the button held down while doing this, so it doesn’t lock on. It’s lots of fun once you master the techique, and very useful in an emergency. Also allows you to do a 180 degree turn without a three point turn on ice.

With all due acknowledgement that the device is properly called a “parking” brake, I have used it as an “emergency” brake. The last time I did so was in 1998 when I rented a large U-Haul panel truck to move some stuff in San Francisco. The brakes went 'mushy" on me while I was going up a hill…the pedal went to the floor and the truck started to roll back down. I engaged the “parking” brake, which provided a mecahanical linkage to the truck’s rear drum brakes (the front had discs). It worked.

You can call them what you want, but they can be used in an emergency.

My wife keeps calling them emergency brakes, even though she’s never told me what kind of emergency would necessitate their use.

I do have such a use for it. If you’re speeding (but not by much) and see a cop shooting radar at you, take your foot off the gas and slightly pull up on the parking/emergency brake until you’ve slowed down to the speed limit. Then resume the gas.

If the cop has radared you or one of the other cars on the road going too fast, they’ll watch your car as you pass. If brake lights come on, that car is probably the one they clocked speeding. But the P/E brake doesn’t light up the brake lights, so you’ll look innocent. :D:D

Do that one all the time–I’d certainly call it an emergency.

Given the way you worded the question, you can expect mostly IMHO-type anecdotes, so I’ll just move it. If you like, you can start another GQ thread specifically to address the question of statistics.

moderator GQ