Emergency stop guide: tips for your driving test

Last updated on December 6th, 2023 at 09:27 am

emergency stop tips

When it comes to safe driving, mastering the emergency stop is a critical skill for every driver. Whether you’re a novice preparing for your driving test or an experienced driver seeking to refresh your knowledge, understanding how to perform an emergency stop during a driving test is essential. If you’re also looking to enhance your overall driving skills through theory test practice, consider exploring our comprehensive guide that covers the emergency brake, its execution, and whether it’s a required component of your driving test.

What Is The Emergency Stop?

An emergency stop, often called a “panic stop,” is a sudden and rapid braking manoeuvre used in critical situations to bring your vehicle to a complete halt as quickly as possible. It’s a skill that can save lives and prevent accidents when unexpected hazards appear on the road. 

What Is An Emergency Stop, And How Do I Do It?

Executing an emergency stop correctly is essential for your safety and the safety of others on the road. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to emergency stop effectively:

1. Stay Alert

Always be vigilant while driving. Keep your eyes on the road, scan for potential hazards, and maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you.

2. Recognize The Emergency 

When you encounter a sudden and unexpected obstacle or hazard, such as a pedestrian stepping onto the road or a vehicle abruptly stopping, your instincts may tell you to brake immediately. This is the moment to execute an emergency stop.

3. Signal Your Intentions

Before you brake, it’s essential to alert drivers behind you that you’re stopping suddenly. Activate your hazard lights or brake lights to indicate your intentions.

4. How should you use anti lock brakes in an emergency?

In an emergency, use anti-lock brakes (ABS) effectively by applying firm and even pressure to the brake pedal using the ball of your foot. Steer clear of slamming on the brakes to prevent skidding. For vehicles equipped with ABS, maintain a constant pressure on the brake pedal. The ABS system prevents wheel lock-up, ensuring you can steer while braking, enhancing control and safety in critical situations.

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5. Clutch Down (Manual Transmission)

 If you’re driving a manual transmission vehicle, depress the clutch pedal simultaneously with the brake pedal. This action prevents the engine from stalling while you’re coming to a stop.

6. Steer Straight

Keep your steering wheel straight during the drive test emergency stop. Avoid swerving unless it’s necessary to avoid a collision with an obstacle.

7. Come To A Complete Stop

Continue braking until your vehicle comes to a complete stop. If you have ABS, you may feel a pulsation in the brake pedal; this is normal and indicates the ABS is working to prevent wheel lock.

8. Assess The Situation

After coming to a stop, evaluate the situation. Ensure it’s safe to proceed before releasing the brake pedal and moving your vehicle.

Will I Have To Perform An Emergency Stop On My Driving Test?

It depends on the regulations in your country or state. However, in many places, it is a part of the driving test to assess your ability to respond quickly and effectively to unexpected situations.


During the test, the examiner may ask you to perform an emergency stop-driving test by giving you a clear and timely command, such as “Stop!” Following the earlier steps, it’s essential to react promptly and execute the manoeuvre safely.

Practising emergency stops with a qualified instructor or during your driving lessons can help you prepare for this part of the test. It ensures that you’re confident and competent in manoeuvring when required.

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How to do an emergency stop in a test?

To perform an emergency stop during a driving test, listen for the examiner’s instructions. When instructed, check your mirrors, apply the brake firmly, depress the clutch if needed, keep the steering straight, and stop smoothly. Engage the handbrake (if available), activate hazard lights, and inform the examiner. When directed, release the handbrake, select the right gear, check mirrors and blind spots, and resume driving. Practice with an instructor to perform this maneuver safely during the test.

Wrapping Up

Mastering the art of the emergency stop is a critical skill for all drivers. Whether facing an unexpected hazard or preparing for your driving test, knowing how to perform this manoeuvre can be a lifesaver. Remember to stay alert, brake firmly, and follow the steps to bring your vehicle to a safe and controlled stop. While the specific requirements for an emergency stop-driving test may vary depending on your location, being prepared for this scenario is essential to responsible and safe driving.

So, consider these tips, practice them during your driving lessons, and rest assured that you’re better equipped to handle emergency situations on the road. Safe driving!

1. How should you use anti-lock brakes in an emergency?

Answer: Apply firm and continuous pressure on the brake pedal. Do not pump the brakes. Let the ABS prevent wheel lock-up.

2. Is the emergency stop still in the driving test?

Answer: It may vary by location, but emergency stops are often part of driving tests to assess your ability to stop safely in emergencies.

3. How often should emergency stop buttons be tested?

Answer: Emergency stop buttons should be tested regularly, typically as part of routine maintenance, to ensure they function correctly.

4. How to do an emergency stop in a driving test?

Answer: Listen for the examiner’s command, “Stop!” Then, brake firmly, clutch down, and bring the vehicle to a controlled stop without skidding.

5. Is an emergency stop part of the driving test?

Answer: In many places, emergency stops are included in driving tests to assess your ability to respond quickly to unexpected situations.