If you need your car or truck to stop, you just push down the brake pedal, and voila, you are no longer moving almost like magic. Unfortunately, the system that makes it possible to stop thousands of pounds of weight traveling at high rates of speed is often overlooked. Furthermore, most people aren’t aware there are techniques to braking that can make your travels safer and even lengthen the life of your brake system. Maybe you were one of those people. We say “were” because you are about to learn the ins and outs of proper braking.

Slow down

The faster you are traveling, the harder your brakes must work to stop your car. Simple enough right? Here’s the deal. When your brakes are initiated at high rates of speed, they become hotter. And hotter brake pads won’t last as long. Avoid speeding and not only will you be safer, but you’ll also save money on costly brake repairs.

Look ahead

Braking safely is about anticipation. Keep your eyes ahead and be ready to stop before you have to press down on your brake pedal. Braking late, and hard, not only is unsafe, but it’s also terrible for your brake pads. This goes for stoplights and stop signs as well. Start to coast early instead of speeding up and then subsequently mashing down on your brake pedal. It’s a win all around, you’ll be safer, and your brakes will last longer.

Make your car lighter

The other part of the braking equation, beyond speed, is weight. If your car or truck has a big payload it will take more braking power to stop it. Equaling to more wear and tear on your brake system. Check your cargo area to make sure you aren’t carrying unnecessary items. Reducing your vehicle’s weight is easy and effective.

Have your brakes checked regularly

Driving around town with bad brakes is unsafe and noisy. Avoid this issue by having your brakes inspected at least twice per year. Here’s an easy way to ensure your brakes are checked twice per year. Whenever your tires are rotated, ask for a brake inspection. Most mechanics will proactively offer this anyway. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

The next time you are driving your car, be aware of your braking habits. A few tweaks can save you money and make you a much safer driver.