Defective Brakes Are The leading Cause Of Accidents

Defective brakes remain the primary cause of car accidents on the nation’s roads. That means they’ve been the leading reason for crashes for six years straight…

Leading Cause 

Data from the Department for Transport (DfT) has revealed that 3,894 accidents were caused by defective brakes between 2013 and 2018. It also revealed that they caused 15 deaths in 2018 alone, a 67% year-on-year increase from 2017; with 64 being caused by defective brakes since 2013. Conversely, accidents with a determined cause have actually been decreasing. They’ve fallen by a fifth (22%) since 2013 and there was a 9% drop between 2017 and 2018 alone. That said, there are regional discrepancies throughout the country. The South East and London has the highest percentage of defect-related accidents and the North East has the lowest.

Phil Woodcock, a spokesman for braking component provider Pagid, stressed the need to regularly inspect brakes. He said, “drivers need to be able to trust their brakes in extreme situations, and although they are checked during the annual MOT, 12 months is a long time, especially if the car has received an advisory notice that they are partially worn”. He added, “it is therefore worth getting them checked in-between MOT and service intervals especially if the driver notices any warning signs such as an audible squealing sound or abnormal vibration when the brake is applied”.

What To Watch Out For

Brakes are the most crucial part of your car, so you should never neglect them. Fortunately, they tend to show obvious symptoms of wear and tear; making it easier to keep them well-maintained. The most obvious sign of something being wrong is a brake light. If this appears on your dashboard, you should stop using the vehicle and get it inspected as soon as possible. You should also listen out for unusual squeaking, squealing and grinding noises. These are indicative of worn brake pads. You may also notice a soft or ‘spongy’ feeling when you apply the brake pedal. This may be due to a build-up of moisture or air in the braking system. Finally, watch out for whether your car pulls to one side when braking and take notice of any burning smells. These can be signs of faulty brake calipers and overheating respectively.

Defective brakes may be the leading cause of car accidents, but they’re also one of the most avoidable. Don’t rely on MOTs to determine how road-worthy your vehicle is; these are only meant to check that cars meet bare minimum standards. Regular servicing and maintenance is an absolute must. Protect yourself, your passengers and other road-users from harm by taking the time to carry out a few basic checks.

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