The Useless in an Emergency Brake

It won’t be long before nothing happens when you floor the accelerator. Well, nothing dramatic. The car will gradually build speed – Not too much! Not too fast! – no matter how hard you push down on the pedal.

For ssssssaaaaaaaaaaaafety!

The principle has already been applied to breaking traction – via traction control – which in a number of cars cannot be turned off – or only turned partially off – or which comes back on after you thought you had turned it off.

For ssssssssaaaaaaaaaaaaafety!

The pull-up emergency brake is being emasculated for the same reason.

Or so they say.

If you can even find a new car that has a pull-up emergency brake. Gift Card i... Buy New $10.00 (as of 08:25 UTC - Details)

The few car companies that still equip their new cars with a pull-up emergency brake (italicized to emphasize the difference vs. a parking brake) have been setting the tension to nearly nil – such that it is just barely sufficient to prevent the vehicle from rolling when fully applied.

When the vehicle isn’t moving.

For ssssssaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety! But actually to prevent people like me – and maybe you – from using the emergency brake to steer the vehicle.

By using it to lock up the rear wheels while the vehicle is moving.

Why on earth would anyone want to do that? Why, to change directions quickly, of course! Pull up the handle, lock the rear wheels, crank the wheel and – shazam! – you’re facing the other way. This is called a handbrake 180.

A bit less wheel-crank and you can do a 90 degree turn – and much more quickly than you could by slowing down first.

And of course, we can’t have that.

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