Last week, Kieran Gallagher, a well-known rally car driver with TeamHARD, strapped himself into a brand new 250hp Volkswagen Golf. The team hadn’t been doing too well recently, and with a start in position 21, Gallagher wanted to make up for past issues at Oulton Park, located in Cheshire, England. Keeping his foot to the ground, Gallagher pushed through the Shell Oils hairpin at Oulton, only to find that his front brakes had failed. Gallagher and his shiny new Golf careened through a race partition, finally resting some 40-feet down the embankment on the other side. Luckily, Gallagher walked away from the accident with only a couple of cracked ribs and some bruising.
Brakes Among the Biggest Causes of Accidents in the United States
Gallagher’s brake failure, undoubtedly unusual for a sport that prides itself on the precision and quality of its vehicles, highlights the importance of regular vehicle maintenance and the use of the highest quality parts available. Consider, there are more than 10.8 million accidents in the United States each and every year. Of those, mechanical failure is said to be responsible for 10 to 15%.
“This is a perfect example of how important it is to have your brakes checked and replaced regularly,” Ronit Mariani, Marketing Director of Mac Auto Parts. “If it can happen to a pro with an expert team, it can happen to anyone.”
Among accidents caused by mechanical failure, brake failure is undoubtedly one of the most common contributors. In the case of Kieran Gallagher’s car, sudden braking at excess speed caused a brake pipe to actually split. Since most drivers don’t spend their days spinning around a track, or hopefully the highway, at 100mph, a split brake pipe is not something most have to worry about. Most commonly, brake failures in the general population are caused by normal wear and tear that’s been allowed to go too long without repair and brake pad crystallization. Both issues can be addressed with a trip to the mechanic.
Whether it’s Gallagher’s racing brakes failing at high speed or the typical American’s on the drive to work, the incident at Oulton Park should serve as a potent reminder of the importance of regular maintenance.