Even after numerous driving schools and currently running in Group A in BMW schools, braking is still one of my problem area. Last summer has been a good year as I have learned a great deal from Craig Tilford and Scott H., but I am still somewhat confused on the whole issue of ‘smoothness’, especially during braking.

I have also got rides from all sorts of cars by instructors, from prelude to M3, from 2002 to 911; but all I sensed from the rides were almost like ‘on-and-off-switch’ and ‘quite berserk’ braking action?!?!

Since the first school I was told to modulate the pedals and later use the little 1second exercise to warm up my muscles/reflexes in the first few laps int eh morning: Use full sec (or more) to depress brake pedal and another full sec to release it. It worked. My braking was smoother and more controlled at the end of the day; the braking time got shorter as well.

It should be “hard, short, and smooth”. But the shorter and harder the braking, the ‘un-smoother’ it feels. The instructors’ extremely quick and HARD braking maneuvers did not feel too smooth as well (at least from my perception as passenger). I just seem to have some problem doing both at the same time, and it ultimately hurts my overall performance and driving.

Arrr…..I can’t wait to go to the track!!

Frank
alex as all my instructor told me, “squeeze the brake/gas”… however, i am still try to feel the difference between squeeze and *slowly jump* on the break/gas.

i don’t know if i interpret the “squeeze” motion right or not. but i feel the way experience driver/instructor do is:
pedal
pressure
^
| ________
| / \
| / \
| / \
——————– time

instead of light and long (comfy) breaking:
pedal
pressure
^
|
|
| _________________________
| / \
———————————– time

without jump on it like:
pedal
pressure
^
| _______
| | |
| | |
| | |
——————– time

is this correct? like my diagrams??
Bad Karma Your diagrams pretty much spell it out correctly.

Yes, when driving around with an instructor, it feels like they’re *jumping on the brakes*. Trust me, they’re not. It’s a firm squeeze, and then hard into it, and smoothly but quickly off the brakes at the end of the braking zone.

I know it sounds hard, and until you manage to get it right, it is. Once you get it the first or second time, you’ll begin to understand how it works.

You don’t want it to be purely binary; on, then off. This upsets the car, and can easily lead to a spin.

What you want is a firm squeeze, then full pressure. Ease off in a steady, deliberate motion (not jumping off, but not dragging your foot either).

If we had more snow around, we could go practice this in a parking lot somewhere. A slippery surface is the best way to get this technique down. It’s basically threshold braking at it’s simplest.

In a slippery parking lot (doesn’t have to be your BMW either, winter beaters work…), all you need to do is get up to a slow speed, and jam on the brakes. Feel how long it takes for the ABS to kick in. If you jump on them, the ABS likely kicks in pretty quickly.

If it doesn’t, then you’re either (A) braking well, and can go sleep until the first track day of the year or (B) you’re not braking hard enough, and will likely plow into a lightpole at the parking lot…or (C) your winter beater doesn’t have ABS….and you’ll plow into the lightpole.

It’s hard to teach smoothness, but it basically comes down to this. Always look well ahead of what you’re doing. It’s A LOT easier to be smooth when you’re well prepared for what’s coming up ahead. When you’re panicking and always feeling like you’re one step behind, then smoothness goes right out the window.

Pat
lovince Sometimes I wish my car comes with a button to turn off the ABS. It feels a bit like I’m cheating when I practice threshold braking and I get (not very subtle) hints from my pulsating pedal when I go too far.

Yes it’s another button to press when I start my car (ASC is the other one), but then I want to control my car… Not some computer…

(Sadly I work with computers everyday)
Vincent