Emergency stop tutorial

In one out of every three driving tests, the emergency stop procedure is asked to be made. In order to pass the emergency stop manoeuvre on your driving test, these key skills need to be implemented:

  • Stop the car in the shortest possible distance
  • Stop the car under control without locking the wheels
  • Stopping the car promptly without endangering others
  • Moving off safely

During your test the examiner will ask you to park up on the left. Ensure you do so in a safe, convenient and legal position. Once stopped, the examiner will explain to you that he wishes you to perform the emergency stop manoeuvre. The examiners briefing for this manoeuvre will be something similar to:

"Shortly I will ask you to stop the vehicle as though it was an emergency. My signal for this manoeuvre will be STOP!" (Said loudly, whilst raising his right hand just under the main mirror) "I will ensure it is safe to perform the manoeuvre by looking over my right shoulder. Please do not anticipate the manoeuvre when you see me look and wait only for my signal."

Car brake lights

It is important that you wait only for the examiners signal to stop. It may not be safe to do so otherwise. For the examiner to give the signal it will need to be safe and of no danger to others and you will need to be travelling at 30mph. This may involve driving round a few bends in order for him to find an appropriate road.

Once the examiner has given you the briefing, prepare the car to move off and perform your safety checks before driving off.

As this is a emergency stop, ensure that you do not look in your mirrors before performing the manoeuvre. The examiner will ensure it is safe and as in real life, there wouldn't be time to check the mirrors if it was a real emergency.

Once you get the signal off the examiner, release your right foot from the accelerator to the brake pedal as fast as you can. Apply firm pressure to the brake but make sure you don't simply force the pedal down as hard as you can. By doing so, you may cause the car to skid (See How to control a skidding car for more information). Apply enough pressure so as the wheels are just short of locking. If the wheels do lock and the car starts to skid, then release the brake slightly but not all the way. Then reapply the pressure to the brake. Ensure that both hands are kept on the steering wheel and keep the car straight.

Just before the car stops press the clutch down fully to prevent the engine from stalling. Once stopped, keep the clutch depressed and keep your right foot firmly on the brake. Apply the handbrake and select neutral.

The examiner will tell you when to move off again. He will say something similar to:

"Thank you very much. You will not be asked to perform that manoeuvre again. Please follow the road ahead."

Select first gear, make the appropriate observations and indicate if necessary.

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