Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How to Brake Smoothly (The Pivot Method)

Brake Smoothly

Braking is a skill. Braking, just like any other aspect of driving, takes a certain level of skill to get right. Good braking technique will not only be less stressful on the driver and passengers, but it will also prolong the life of the vehicle itself.

Today’s cars have brakes that are getting better every year. Brake rotors, brake pads, and other components in the brake system are improving year after year, meaning that braking is becoming easier and safer at the same rate. This also means that the brake pedal does not need to be pushed very hard to send enough pressure to the brakes to stop the car. Stopping too abruptly is uncomfortable, can result in spilled beverages, and can set in motion a number of other unsecured items. Too much abrupt braking can cause enough heat to cause warping on the surface of the brake rotor.

Good technique is key

The Pivot Method is a foolproof way to press the brakes smoothly and consistently. In order to brake with the Pivot Method, the driver must:

  • Plant the heel of the right foot on the floor, close enough to the brake pedal so that the ball of the foot can touch the center of the pedal.

  • Rest most of the weight of the foot on the floor while pivoting it forward to apply light pressure to the brake pedal.

  • Gradually increase pressure until the car is nearly to a complete stop.

  • Ease off the brake pedal slightly before coming to a complete stop to keep the vehicle from bouncing back too hard.

Things to avoid

  • Stomping: This is hard to avoid when a surprising situation pops up that requires quick braking but, for any other situation, the pivot method will be more effective than jamming the pedal down.

  • Putting weight on the pedal: Some people naturally lean into the pedal with the weight of the foot or leg.

  • Creating too much distance between the driver’s foot and the brake pedal: If the driver’s foot is not very close to the brake pedal, then the driver could potentially miss the pedal when braking suddenly.

Mastering this technique may well lead to a lifetime of happy passengers and un-spilled beverages!

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...


Related questions

Q: Do I need new brakes or rotors or both?

Hi there. Without knowing the specifics about your vehicle, such as make, model, year, or being onsite to physically complete a brake inspection, it is very difficult to tell you how much work will be required. However, if your brakes...

Q: Car shakes when I apply brakes doing 45mph or more and even when I don't apply brakes around 60 mph 2005 Chevy Equinox

Hello - you likely have multiple problems here: one of which exaggerates the others. Given your mileage, your front struts are likely worn. This is important because the tire imbalance you feel at 60 mph (without braking), and the vibration...

Q: Brake pedal is going almost to the floor

One of the most common causes of the brake pedal going to the floor is a loss of brake fluid. Generally, this is easy to detect due to the fact that there is usually brake fluid leaking on the ground...