Emergency Stop

SuperDriver Learning Centre - Emergency Stop

Emergency Stop

Despite your all around awareness, despite your skill at reading the road, you may have to perform an Emergency Stop to avoid an incident.  It is imperative that you know what to do.

On your driving test you have a 1 in 3 chance of being asked to do an Emergency Stop.  In life after learning ????   The Emergency Stop is not a manoeuvre, you either get it or not.  A manoeuvre must include reversing.

If the Emergency Stop is going to happen on your test, your examiner will firstly ask you to pull over on the left.  The examiner will say that they want you to perform an Emergency Stop.  They will ask you to set off as normal and when they give you the hand signal and say stop, they want you to stop as if you were in an emergency.  They will reassure you by saying they will check over their shoulder before asking you to stop (they have to check it is safe).  They will not shout stop at you, it is all very calm. 

When you have stopped, the examiner will thank you, inform you that you won't be asked by them to do it again and for you to set off when you are ready/safe to do so.  In our experience the maximum speed of the road they will use is 30mph for learner tests.  It may be a higher speed if you are a Potential Driving Instructor.

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Drive normally, drive at the correct speed for the road and conditions.  Regardless of whether you are on a driving test or not, the routine will be same.

1.  Do not check your mirrors.  There isn't time.  Whilst driving you will have been looking around, checking your mirrors when slowing down or speeding up or changing direction.  So you know what it is going on around you. 

2.  Keep your hands on the steering wheel until you have stopped.  You may need your hands to steer to avoid an incident if braking isn't enough.  It can be a serious fault on test if you take your hands off the steering wheel.

3.  Manual.  Using your right foot brake quickly and firmly until you stop.  Do not stomp on the brakes, you will skid and that means your stopping distance will be increased.   What about the Clutch?  Before your come to a stop press the clutch pedal all the way down.

If you are moving slowly, for example less than 10mph you may have to operate the clutch and brake at the same time.  Above 10mph ish it should be brakes first then clutch.  Let's imagine you are going down hill, or you are driving fast, if you press the clutch first the car will speed up.  This means your stopping distance will be increased.

3.  Automatic.  Using your right foot brake quickly and firmly until you stop.  Do not stomp on the brakes, you will skid and that means your stopping distance will be increased.   

4.  When you have stopped, secure the car.  We recommend selecting neutral and applying the handbrake.  If you are causing a hazard, you may consider using your hazard warning lights.

5.  Setting off when its safe.  When the examiner tells you to set off when you are ready, you must carry out a full POM routine before setting off.  If it is not safe, do not set off.

Stopping Distances

Driving too close to vehicles in front of you can enhance the chances of you crashing into the back of another car if the car in front of you brakes suddenly.  Remember, only a fool breaks the 2 second rule.

Here we show the stopping distances from the highway code and how to calculate 2 seconds between you and the car in front.

Calculating 2 seconds is easy.  Look at the car in front, see how it passes a sign or solid object, start counting to two or say "only a fool breaks the 2 second rule". If you arrive at that sign or solid object and you are still counting, it means you are too close.  Slow Down.


Consider the roads you are driving on.  Are they loose, icy, wet, covered in leaves, oily.  All these elements could make you skid.

Consider the vehicle you are driving.  Has it been poorly maintained?  Are the tread on the tyres poor? Is your car equipped with ABS (Antilock Braking System)?

Read up on skidding in driving the essential skills.

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SuperDriver Learning Centre
SuperDriver Learning Centre
SuperDriver Learning Centre

This is a nice simple method to complete an Emergency Stop. 

Your instructor may show you another way.  You may know another way!