What was that smell?

I was traveling around 50 or 52mph in a 45mph zone. So, I normally try to look at the pedestrian crossing signal as a gauge of determining if I should stop at an intersection with a traffic light. If pedestrians have 3 seconds or less to cross, I’ll (most of the time) slow down and stop. However, this particular intersection, there is a streetlight pole placed perfectly nearby, so at a distance it is hard to see the pedestrian signal until you are close to the white line. So, finally I look at the signal and, oh lord, only 1 second left. I throw on the breaks hard. I must’ve only had 500-750ft to come to a complete hault. I recently tried to flirt with a light 2 weeks ago, lost that race, and had to pay a ticket. 5 seconds after I stopped I got a smell that smelled like rubber, but in all honesty, I dont remember hearing my wheels screech. I admit, I could have decelerated a bit prior, as a precaution, but I just didn’t.

What was it and will I be okay? (the sort of obvious question)

Usually when you lock up the brakes the ABS will pulse and the tires will continue to spin. In an car without abs, the tires will lock and you will smell burning rubber.

If the smell went away, it was either brakes or tire. Nothing to worry about. If it is still there, something may have gotten shifted and is burning. You may need to have your mechanic take a look.

Please tell us where you are and what kind of vehicle you drive so we can be on the lookout for you so you don’t run over us when we cross the street.

I drive a 2001 Hyundai Elantra GLS. And this is just because I didn’t mention it up top.

When you locked it up, did the brake pedal pulse? The smell is probably just tires/ brake pads. Usually the ABS makes lots of noise and the pedal pulses. I was just wondering what your car does.

I just researched the specs on my car. I dont think it is equipped with ABS.

You don’t stop at a red light unless there are pedestrians in the way?



You smelled hot brake pads and they will be fine. :wink:

Bill Russell, when the pedestrian signal in the intersecting roadway hits zero, the light changes to red. It is a safety check. You misread what I typed completely. If you don’t have anything relevant to add to the conversation, don’t post.

Thanks so much to all who are adding relevant information. It has been helpful.

Enough of those tickets and you’ll start to stop at all the red lights. Or you’ll run somebody down and you won’t be driving for a few years, because you’ll be making license plates or breaking rock with a big sledge hammer.
Running over some little kid that dashes out is manslaughter in some states.

I refrained from answering as I did with the guy “I slammed my tranny into park at 30mph…is my car going to be alright.”

See, I can be nice!!!


Yosemite: But that wasnt nice and you still answered my question. “Refraining” from answering would mean completely ignoring this and moving on. I made a mistake, I paid my fine, I learned from it and that lesson caused me to NOT FLIRT with a yellow light again, like I did here. I got caught in an awkward spot.

Don’t criticize others unless you are free from mistakes yourself.

Wow, 500-750 feet to stop is “only”? You could stop from 85 mph in less space than that including reaction time.

This chart is very conservative using a traction coefficient of 0.70. Dry asphalt and good tires would be about 0.95.

Most people use less than half of their car’s capability when braking. If you have ABS, pound the brake pedal as hard as you can an hold it. Let ABS do its work. So what is it smells a little afterwards, as long as you don’t do this every time you stop.

Go find an empty parking lot and test your ABS out. Find out what it will do BEFORE you have an emergency.

Mustang Man: I am pretty positive my car doesnt have ABS. My dad made me read my owners manual before giving me the car. I understand his reasoning. Not surprising, it is an older make. I know a lot of these things are coming standard, recently. I did get new tires within the last 60 days. Thanks a lot for this really specific information. One of the better answers I have gotten on ANY forum, not just cars.

In your original post you said nothing about that you have stopped the practice.
If you have great…I’m glad to hear it.

If you took that little statement as a lecture…you have a long way to go, in learning to accept criticism…one of life’s constants.
Had you just posted, just this incident and left out the fact that you blow the red light all the time, you wouldn’t have gotten that statement from me.

You said that your dad made you read the manual…maybe you need to go over it again to refresh your memory and find if it has ABS…which I think it does. No one expects you to memorize every page, sometimes we(everybody) need to go back and look up specifics.
Then if you have time…you may want to go over the driving instructions from your DMV. It sounds like some of that info fell out an ear when you tilted your head to check for the walk signal.


@Yosemite: No, I actually had a driving instructor tell me if I QUICKLY checked the walk signal, it is a good way to gauge how long you have until the green becomes yellow. It has worked for me until now. I mean, there is NOTHING that is going to specifically tell you “THE LIGHT IS NOW TURNING YELLOW” it just changes. Otherwise, I am going to keep driving until I see it change and that isnt good, because it can change on you at an awkward spot. You need to have a way to check. I had a friend who was an excellent driver and I asked him “how do you always know when the light will turn yellow?” and he said “I use the crosswalk signals. 90% of the time, when they hit zero, the green light switches.” It was green until I noticed my time constraint, so I kept going. The walk signal is adjacent to the pole which supports the traffic lights. I just shifted my eyes quickly to my dominant side. You aren’t supposed to keep looking straight as you drive anyhow.

Think about it. Pedestrians walking the same path you are driving need to stop because the cars driving in the intersecting lanes are about to go. It makes sense to look at that signal pointing at your face, next to the approaching traffic light. I think my issue was not slowing down as a precaution, as I got closer to the white line.

No, I don’t just break the law all the time. It is expensive (there are cameras everywhere, today), dangerous and, unless you do realistically have a criminal mind, just insanity. When I ran my red light, I was running late for work and was already in hot water because I did not call in sick in a timely enough manner a couple weeks prior.

I appreciate the clarification and I apologize for getting aggressive. It is hard to tell one’s intent on the internet. If you could provide me a link that states my car has ABS…I’d appreciate it. Since I got the car, I have misplaced the owners manual. I honestly do not know what I did with it.

Take Care.

@Yosemite. I just realized there is a downloadable version of my manual. I didnt think people lost these things enough to warrant that happening.

Yosemite I understood that zwell0890 was using the pedestrian signals facing their way to determine when the yellow light would turn red. It is an unpredictable and dangerous game played by those with a “need” to beat the system. I suspect they learned not to flirt with yellow lights when a red light camera is installed. Dad probably did not require reading of the current state driver manual along with the vehicle owner’s manual because he knew it would be an exercise in futility. Stop signs and traffic lights are one of the simple rules. Stop sign=stop. When vehicle is moving green light=continue. Yellow light=stop if safely possible. Red light=stop. I have known more zwell0890s than I cared to. They consider you, I, and other forum members “good little Nazis” blindly following stupid rules. I find myself experiencing attitude deja vu. Could zwell0890 be a reincarnation of ranger09? I have seen it before on another forum.

zwell0890 Thank you for the clarification. It had not yet posted when I was railing against the “bad” drivers. I apologize for including you in their ranks. You are obviously not a reincarnation of ranger09 who was banned from this forum. Keep up the “good” driving!

@sgtrock21. I am just asking if my car was okay. I did not intend to have this turn into what is has. I have no idea who this ranger09 person is. I use the system I do to figure out when green will turn yellow. If you choose to turn words into something they’re not, go for it. But you seem like the type that doesnt believe anything anyone will tell you, so maybe typing this “is an exercise in futility”.