Following up on whether it's OK to use your hand brake to stop a car...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 2001

Dear Tom and Ray:

I read your response to some guy named Victor who wanted to know if it was OK to use the hand brake to stop his car. Though your response was technically and mechanically correct, it needed one more paragraph. You failed to mention that even though using the hand brake will stop his car, it will not activate the brake lights. So yes, while he is blissfully going around operating his car like a moron, everyone else on the road is endangered by him. His car might be coming to a stop, but the poor sot stuck behind him (and subsequently liable for rear-ending him in most states) won't know it and might well break this yahoo's neck. Please keep the rest of us drivers in mind when answering bozos like this. Thanks. -- Mike

RAY: You're right, Mike. What is it that Ann Landers says?

TOM: I think it's "40 lashes with a wet hand-brake cable."

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One