Shannon Stacey

The question of no brakes

Reading another romance with a suspense subplot in which the villain has cut our intrepid heroine’s brake lines. Driving through a mountainous desert and—oh noes!—she has no brakes. Our rugged hero is in the passenger seat and tells her to gently pull the emergency brake but—oh noes!—it comes off in her hand.

“Downshift!” the rugged hero tells the intrepid heroine, so she starts by dropping it out of overdrive and then shifts it down to low. It doesn’t help and—on noes!—there’s a corner coming, so they switch seats in the runaway vehicle.

Our rugged hero (because he’s a real man) is able to power-slide through the corner and attempts to drag the side of the vehicle down the guardrail to slow it down to—oh noes!—no avail.

What happens next?

I’m not sure, actually. I had to get dinner. But I find myself asking the same question I ask every single time this happens in a book or movie.

Why, for the love of Chrysler, does nobody ever put the vehicle in neutral?

2 comments to “The question of no brakes”

  1. nightsmusic
      · January 28th, 2011 at 1:50 am · Link

    Because you’d lose 12 pages of Oh Noes! and the assorted tension that goes with. LOL

  2. Jewell
      · January 31st, 2011 at 8:50 pm · Link

    Okay, there is a valid reason for NOT putting the vehicle into neutral. I was pretty sure I knew why, but double checked with my hubby who has been a mechanic by profession since his late teens.

    When you shift into neutral, it allows the car to coast along. However downshifting gear by gear effectively slows the vehicle at each shift of the engine. The engine itself acts as a fast acting break mechanism.

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