How to do a good emergency stop

Lesson Type
Last updated: 14 Nov 2019

The emergency stop is a simple element of the driving test but it is also one which catches a lot of learner drivers out. As you'll discover in your driving lessons, it’s not quite as simple as slamming the brakes on and hoping for the best; a good emergency stop requires a calm, controlled driver who sticks to a few simple rules.

Emergency stop tips

  1. Depress the brake first and then depress the clutch at the very last moment. Depressing the clutch too soon could lead to coasting – something which you can fail your driving test for.
  2. Remember that your driving examiner will only ask you to do an emergency stop after pulling you over and explaining to you. They’ll never spring it on you unannounced in the middle of a test.
  3. Don’t worry too much about having to do an emergency stop; it only comes up on about a third of driving tests.
  4. You won’t automatically fail for causing the vehicle to skid. If you skid, release the brake and depress it again quickly to stop the skid. If you stop the skid, regain control and manage to bring the vehicle to a standstill in time, you could still pass your driving test.
  5. Remember to check your mirrors before braking.

Emergency stop video transcript

  1. The examiner will have given you advance warning that they are going to ask you to perform an emergency stop and they will have shown you the signal they’re going to use.
  2. The examiner will ensure that it is clear behind you before asking you to conduct the emergency stop. This is the only manouevere that you should not use the mirror, signal, manoeuvre routine for.
  3. When the examiner says “STOP!” and shows the signal (generally, raising their right hand), apply firm pressure to the brake, keeping a good grip of the wheel with both hands.
  4. ABS braking should stop the wheels from locking, but if you start to skid, ease gently off the brake then reapply the pressure.
  5. Only depress the clutch as you are about to come to a complete stop. This will provide extra braking power from the engine and will prevent the engine from stalling.
  6. When the car is at a complete standstill, apply the handbrake and put the gearstick into neutral.
  7. Don’t move off again until instructed to do so by the examiner. Ensure you complete the mirrors, signal, manoeuvre routine before doing so.

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