AAA: Stop Pumping Your Brakes On Icy Streets (For Some Vehicles)

For years, motorists have been advised to pump their brakes when streets are icy. But times have changed.

AAA officials say the practice of stepping on the brake pedal several times in a row to prevent your wheels from locking is no longer necessary. That’s because a majority of vehicles now come equipped with anti-lock braking, which basically pumps the brakes for you. “It’s going to be a little bit jarring the second you start braking,” says AAA’s Skyler McKinley. “You’re going to feel that pushback from the ABS on your foot. You want to maintain steady pressure on that and let the ABS kick in and do the braking automatically.”

In fact, pumping your brakes can actually do more harm than good, McKinley adds. ABS is activated by placing steady pressure on the brake pedal; so “you’re basically not engaging the braking system at all if you’re taking your foot off that pedal,” McKinley says.

What’s your trick for navigating icy roads?

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