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How to Avoid Hard Braking

Updated September 5, 2021 . AmFam Team

One habit KnowYourDrive counts as distracted driving is hard braking. Learn more about hard braking and how to avoid this potentially dangerous habit.

Many different driving behaviors can factor into the auto insurance discount you can receive through KnowYourDrive®. One of these is hard braking, a behavior that can be dangerous and lead to car accidents. Let’s take a look at what hard braking is and how you can avoid it.

What Is Hard Braking?

KnowYourDrive defines hard braking as slowing down more than 6.5 miles per hour in one second. That means if you are driving 25 miles per hour on a residential road, it should take you about four seconds to come to a complete stop after you start applying the brakes.

Why Hard Braking can be Dangerous

Hard braking can be a problem for you and your vehicle for multiple reasons. Here are some hidden costs and risks that can occur with hard braking.

Increases accident risk

Data from the KnowYourDrive program shows that drivers with more hard brakes have a greater risk of getting in an accident. While we all have to brake suddenly when someone cuts us off or an animal darts in front of our car, a pattern of hard braking often indicates a pattern of tailgating or distracted driving.

May signal aggressive driving

If you are a heavy braker, you may be an aggressive driver too. Aggressive driving behaviors like tailgating, risky lane changes and speeding are more likely if you are a hard braker — and it all leads to more accident risk.

It’s tough on your car

Consistent hard braking wears out parts like brakes and tires faster than normal, and can damage or warp key components. Your vehicle also won’t perform as well, as heavy braking can have a negative impact on brake and tire performance.

May reduce your KnowYourDrive discount

By frequently hard braking, your KnowYourDrive discount may decrease. While it’s only one of the driving behaviors that determines your discount, hard braking as little as possible can give you a shot at the highest discount.

How to Prevent Hard Braking

The KnowYourDrive app shows you how frequently you hard brake compared to an average driver in the program. If this amount is higher than you like, don’t worry! There are things you can do to reduce your hard braking.

Follow the 3 second rule

Watch the car in front of you. When they pass a landmark like a road sign, count how long it takes for you to pass that landmark. Leaving a three second gap is best when driving conditions and visibility are good. Leave more room when conditions are bad.

Take a deep breath and relax

Self-care and relaxation techniques can help you remain calm and potentially avoid dangerous driving behavior like road rage and hard braking.

Give yourself more time and slow down

If you’re running late, dangerous driving behavior like speeding or hard braking may be more likely to occur. Do your best to leave early enough so you’re not stressed to get to your destination on time.

Reduce distraction

Remember, distracted driving is dangerous driving. Keep yourself and others safe by resisting the urge to text or use your phone while driving. With KnowYourDrive, you’ll earn a greater discount on your car insurance when you drive safe too!

Drive defensively

Stay alert and watch what other drivers are doing so you can react to dangerous situations earlier and avoid slamming on the brakes. Learn more about how to become a defensive driver.

Hard Brake Less and Save

By keeping these strategies in mind, hard braking will be less likely to occur — and thanks to KnowYourDrive — you’ll save more on your auto premium as well. For more safe driving tips like how to drive safe in all seasons, visit our safe driving resource hub.

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    Eating behind the wheel

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