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Braking over bumps - railroad tracks #5108606
05/18/19 04:32 PM
05/18/19 04:32 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,423
Prospect, KY
spk2000 Offline OP
spk2000  Offline OP

Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,423
Prospect, KY
Many years ago I recall people telling me not to brake going across railroad tracks or you will mess up alignment.
I adhere to the advice but wonder if it's true.


96 Grand Marquis 203,000 mi
01 Sable LS Wagon 163,000 mi
02 Montero 191,000 mi
03 Sable LS Sedan 73,000 mi
Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5108612
05/18/19 04:41 PM
05/18/19 04:41 PM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,432
Michigan
BobsArmory Offline
BobsArmory  Offline

Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,432
Michigan
Brake before the RR tracks then release the brakes just before going over them to bring the front suspension to an uncompressed condition. That is what I was taught.


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Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5108678
05/18/19 06:10 PM
05/18/19 06:10 PM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,809
Ohio
hallstevenson Offline
hallstevenson  Offline

Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,809
Ohio
I was taught to never brake or slow down on tracks or while crossing them. Slow down before you get to them and then move across them at a steady speed. I was taught this for safety reasons, nothing to do with alignment. You want momentum just in case the car stops, breaks down, etc so you at least coast off of them.

Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5108697
05/18/19 06:58 PM
05/18/19 06:58 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 679
Ajax,Ontario, Canada
Pelican Offline
Pelican  Offline

Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 679
Ajax,Ontario, Canada
What BobsArmory said! If you brake the suspension cannot do its work and you'll put undue stress on everything.

Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5108698
05/18/19 06:59 PM
05/18/19 06:59 PM
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 379
Winnipeg
Uphill_Both_Ways Offline
Uphill_Both_Ways  Offline

Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 379
Winnipeg
For decades everything I drove had rear-wheel drive and solid rear axles. Some cars more than others might wheel-hop over badly maintained crossings if braking while crossing them.

My Mustang was the worst, but it also could be a lot of fun. There was a bump at the top of a hill at a fork on a street I used at least once a day, and when going down I'd hit the brakes on the bump. The car would turn left because the rear wheels would hop right.

I still release the brakes when going over tracks, but I wasn't taught to do so; it was obvious in those cars.

It's reflexive and I don't fight it, which still might be a plus at highway speeds over crossings.


2008 Impala 3.5
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Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5108769
05/18/19 08:21 PM
05/18/19 08:21 PM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 43
Iowa
cappilot Offline
cappilot  Offline

Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 43
Iowa
Interesting discussion. I try to not be using the brakes when on a washboard type surface. I think that habit began 50-some years ago when the first powered vehicle I drove was a 50cc Yamaha motorcycle that had a front-wheel suspension that in some fashion sort of rotated about the wheel's hub. Any use of the front brake therefore reduced the 'give' of the front end if a bump was encountered. It didn't take long to learn that one didn't want to be using the brake at that time!

Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5108882
05/18/19 09:50 PM
05/18/19 09:50 PM
Joined: Nov 2018
Posts: 851
Chicagoland
Skippy722 Offline
Skippy722  Offline

Joined: Nov 2018
Posts: 851
Chicagoland
I’ll brake before hitting the tracks, but never going over. I feel like it puts undue stress on everything.


2016 Chrysler 300S v6
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Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5108896
05/18/19 10:13 PM
05/18/19 10:13 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,895
New Jersey
JHZR2 Offline
Global Moderator
JHZR2  Offline
Global Moderator

Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,895
New Jersey
I try to be off the brakes for any major bump or impact with a road surface feature or railroad track.

Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: JHZR2] #5108899
05/18/19 10:18 PM
05/18/19 10:18 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 2,667
Chicago Area
opus1 Offline
opus1  Offline

Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 2,667
Chicago Area
Originally Posted by JHZR2
I try to be off the brakes for any major bump or impact with a road surface feature or railroad track.

^This.

I do what I can to slow before the bump, but brakes are released as I cross it.


Current Fleet:

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Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: opus1] #5108921
05/18/19 11:09 PM
05/18/19 11:09 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,678
N.C.
gman2304 Offline
gman2304  Offline

Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,678
N.C.
Originally Posted by opus1
Originally Posted by JHZR2
I try to be off the brakes for any major bump or impact with a road surface feature or railroad track.

^This.

I do what I can to slow before the bump, but brakes are released as I cross it.
x3....unload the suspension.

Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5108939
05/18/19 11:37 PM
05/18/19 11:37 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 4,722
New England
madRiver Offline
madRiver  Offline

Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 4,722
New England
Interesting, never considered this however won’t ever .

Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5108956
05/19/19 12:06 AM
05/19/19 12:06 AM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 1,023
NY
joegreen Offline
joegreen  Offline

Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 1,023
NY
The faster I go over the tracks the smoother they feel


1978 Chevrolet k20
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1984 Mercedes-Benz 300 turbo diesel
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Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: madRiver] #5108976
05/19/19 01:31 AM
05/19/19 01:31 AM
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 2,962
Canada
Lolvoguy Offline
Lolvoguy  Offline

Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 2,962
Canada
Originally Posted by madRiver
Interesting, never considered this however won’t ever .

I agree.

Never knew this was something worth contemplating.
Certainly not going to start now.


06 Lexus IS350- Wife
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Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5109045
05/19/19 06:53 AM
05/19/19 06:53 AM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 6,456
Champlain/Hudson Valley
Kira Offline
Kira  Offline

Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 6,456
Champlain/Hudson Valley
It's like this, see.....
1) Let's say you're braking as you go over tracks
2) Your tires hit the first of the high spots be it a rail or less-than-perfect apron
3) Your wheel goes up in the air a bit and the braking action stops it from rotating
4) Milliseconds later the halted wheel contacts the ground....
5) The momentum of the vehicle forces the wheel to resume rotating
This happens after you've shocked the brakes and sent a harsh punch through any part holding the wheel in place

It really is quite simple Roll over tracks and it's smooth. Brake over tracks and it's loud and rattly.

Whoever mentioned that he goes faster over tracks for a smoother ride is talking about something different.

Re: Braking over bumps - railroad tracks [Re: spk2000] #5109078
05/19/19 07:39 AM
05/19/19 07:39 AM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 2,165
Massachusetts
AuthorEditor Offline
AuthorEditor  Offline

Joined: May 2008
Posts: 2,165
Massachusetts
I agree about being off the brakes when going over a bump, but with railroad tracks there is the added issue of loss of traction while braking. A well used track is pretty slippery on its own. Add water and they can become like ice. Turn the tracks at an angle to the roadway with a stop required and you can pretty quickly be sideways or worse. What you could get was one or more wheels on the tracks sliding while the others off the tracks were gripping. On a bicycle or motorcycle this can be really nasty, even with dry tracks. On my old commute there was a fairly sharp bend in a 55mph secondary highway, and a set of railroad tracks crossed right at the bend in such a way that meant they were on the road at around a 45-degree angle instead of the desired 90-degree angle. You would hit these on a motorcycle leaned over at speed and usually you just had a scary wobble. I was very careful crossing them in the rain.

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