Use your handbrake!

If you keep your foot on the brake pedal while in traffic, then you’re seriously irritating. Don’t do it!

Brake off!

Brake off!

Seriously, I see a LOT of this, and the prevalence of super-bright LED lamps just makes an annoying problem even worse. It’s seriously dazzling, which is bad news for night vision.

I really don’t know what the problem is. I mean, even my ropey old vehicles have decent handbrakes. It’s a fairly important MOT requirement. That includes the automatics that come and go on my fleet – the S-MX has a fantastic handbrake (drum rear brakes help), so I always use it.

Some modern cars will even automatically apply the parking brake (horrible, problematic electronic things. Awful). I’ve often heard the whirr of the brake being applied by the car, yet the driver has kept their foot on the parking brake nonetheless, blinding me in the process. Cheers!

There’s one exception here, which I’ve talked about before. If you’re the last vehicle in a queue, then it’s much safer to keep that foot on the middle pedal, even if you’ve applied the handbrake. But you can move your foot once someone has stopped behind you. Don’t dazzle them!

It seems everyone has forgotten their driving test, where such blatant disregard of the handbrake is very much frowned upon.

By the way, the same thing applies to fog lamps. Too many people either don’t use them at all, or stick them on, and then LEAVE them on. WRONG! The fog guard lamp is to warn people you’re there. If there’s a car behind you following at a safe distance, then you do not need to use your fog lamp. Similarly, even if it’s quite foggy, if you’re stuck in traffic with a car inches from your rear bumper, then you don’t need the fog lamp. Keep an eye on your mirrors, because the only time you really need a fog lamp (unless it’s SERIOUSLY foggy, which is rare) is when you cannot see another vehicle behind you. In short, FOG OFF! Mostly.

As for front fog lamps, they also should only be used when conditions dictate. They’re not posing lamps. Not all cars have dazzling fog lamps, but many do – Renault Scenic Mk1 especially. Just don’t bother. Frankly, it annoys me that some cars won’t let you use the rear fog lamp without having the fronts on. I currently don’t own a car with front fog lamps. I like this.

Rant over. Thank you.

6 thoughts on “Use your handbrake!

  1. I pretty much concur with your comments about brake and fog lights. However, I think front fog lights are useful in fog at night when full beam just reflects back off the fog; during the day they are of no use when dipped headlamps do the job. My own personal gripe is with the many people who are for some reason, reluctant to put their headlamps on in poor visibility such as rain, fog, snow or dim light. This particularly seems to afflict drivers of light grey cars. Do they think they’re saving money or what?

    • Two issues here. One is sheer stupidity, the other is automatic headlamps, which are very bad at detecting fog and snow particularly. I think it’s why they had to make DRLs a legal requirement! Ridiculous.

  2. Why don’t car manufacturers fit a device that,once the ignition is turned off it resets all auxiliary lighting to off thus requiring fog lamps etc. to be turned on when required.

    • Some cars, notably Volkswagens, do. When you turn the headlights off, you turn the fog lights off. Rendered useless by automatic headlights though!

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