Here we go once more — another half-a-million vehicles recalled in the USA because yet again the ‘P’ (Park) setting in automatic gearboxes is failing, and those vehicles that haven’t had the parking brake properly set inevitably will then roll away down any hills or even the gentlest of slopes they happen to be on, and then they build up momentum. This frequently just results in damage but all too often it maims or kills people…. especially children playing on driveways or in nearby yards!
Vehicles can even cause harm if left on totally flat ground without a parking brake in use, if they are hit by another vehicle. Think of billiard balls. Your car’s “P” setting will be smashed by any hard impact and your car will careen away until it runs out of momentum or it hits something or somebody.
The humble parking brake is one of the most misunderstood and most abused safety controls found in modern vehicles, and this failure to understand and the resultant failure to actually use parking brakes leads to many pointless and preventable crashes, some of which cost lives.