Question : A
FRIEND was on his way back to Kuala Lumpur after a day trip at
Fraser Hill last weekend.
While descending the hill, his Nissan Livina handbrake
remained in the up position, meaning he was driving downhill
with the hand brake still engaged!
He only put it into neutral upon reaching the road heading
towards Batang Kali.
He told me that negotiating the bends was a breeze during the
I told him that was probably because all four tyres were
properly gripped by the brakes.
I told him not to do it again in future as it only wasted
fuel since the vehicle was in a "dragging" mode as the brakes
were still on.
Am I right? Is it advisable to emulate his driving everytime
one descends a hilly route.
Was my friend taking a calculated risk with his life and that
of his passengers and other road users?
Will there be any effect or damage done to the braking
Answer : The handbrake is designed to hold the vehicle
in a stationary position and NOT for slowing the car down.
Driving with the handbrake on unbalances the whole braking
system of the vehicle and it is possible that if the vehicle
encounters sudden wet conditions, the rear wheels could lock up
and lose traction and put the vehicle into a spin.
This is a highly dangerous practice and your friend is lucky
that the brakes did not overheat and glaze over or the heat
generated did not cause the brake fluid to boil, resulting in
brake fade and "no brakes" at all.