In road vehicles, the parking brake, also called hand brake, emergency brake, or e-brake, is used to keep the vehicle stationary and in many cases also perform an emergency stop. Parking brakes on older vehicles often consist of a cable connected to two wheel brakes at one end and the other end to a pulling mechanism which is operated with the driver’s hand or foot. The mechanism may be a hand-operated lever, at floor level beside the driver, or a straight pull handle located near the steering column, or a (foot-operated) pedal located beside the drivers leg. In most automobiles the parking brake operates only on the rear wheels, which have reduced traction while braking. Some automobiles have the parking brake operate on the front wheels, for example most Citroens manufactured since the end of World War II, and the early models of the Saab 900.

The most common use for a parking brake is to keep a vehicle motionless when it is parked. The park brake has a ratchet or other locking mechanism that will keep it engaged until manually released. On vehicles with automatic transmissions, this is usually used in concert with a parking pawl in the transmission.

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