side brake / handbrake

DearPrudence

Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
IdF
French (lower Normandy)
Hello all,

Can you just settle a dispute over "handbrake/side brake"?
A French colleague of mine thinks that "side brake" is also correct for "handbrake": is this right? For the context, we are trying to describe the "brake operated by hand, used to hold an already stationary vehicle" in a van, if that makes any difference (source here).
(and he's especially interested in British English)

Thank you :)
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I have never used it, never heard it either. Handbrake, on the other hand (sorry) is an everyday word here.
     

    DocPenfro

    Senior Member
    English - British
    You operate the footbrake with your foot and the handbrake with your hand. As suzi br says, there is no sidebrake. There is also a term 'parking brake' (= handbrake) which may be preferred in the USA.
     
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    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Maybe in the US, but I never say parking brake either. Here I still call my handbrake the handbrake, even in our automatic transmission cars ... I guess that is because automatics are less common in the UK.
     

    Alfaaz

    Senior Member
    English
    In the US and other parts of the world, side brake, parking break, hand brake, and some other phrase (can't remember, perhaps clutch....) are all used depending on the regions...

    << Youtube links are not permitted. >>
     
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    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Definitely not clutch, that is a completely different part of the car, used for gear changes not stopping the wheels!
     

    DearPrudence

    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    Thank you all :)
    And thank you, Alfaaz. That is actually interesting to know if this word exists at all or not.
    What do other Americans think about "side brake": is it more common than "handbrake" and "parking brake"?
     

    Alfaaz

    Senior Member
    English
    The suggestion is that "side-brake" is not a conventional term, but may be used as an informal alternative. Since it would not be understood throughout much of the English-speaking world, it is hard to recommend it.
    Now that I'm thinking about it, I guess I would agree...have definitely not heard "side break" as often as the others and it was mostly from non-native English speakers. Maybe it is one of those cultural differences...:confused:
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    In some vehicles here the term "parking brake" is used for this device because it is operated by foot, not by hand.
    Or to be more accurate, it is activated by foot and de-activated by hand.
    Sidebrake makes me think of something like the vertical lever placed at the side of the car HERE.
     
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    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    What do other Americans think about "side brake": is it more common than "handbrake" and "parking brake"?
    I have never heard "side brake" used to describe a parking brake on an automobile. I do note, however, that in the very early days of the automobile, some makes had a hand brake (not "break" :)) on the outside of the vehicle on the driver's side. The term might have persisted with some people or in some areas.

    Google seems to be of no help here since it returns non-automotive and other irrelevant entries.

    Edit: I do note, however, that Google shows a firm that offers a "passenger-side break" for driving schools. It's to enable the driving instructor to execute a panic stop if the situation requires. :eek:
     
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    bicontinental

    Senior Member
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    What do other Americans think about "side brake": is it more common than "handbrake" and "parking brake"?


    I think ‘hand brake’ or ‘parking brake’ is what I hear most of the time. The last time I took my car in for a maintenance check, I heard ‘emergency brake’. I have never heard ‘side brake’, though.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Or to be more accurate, it is activated by foot and de-activated by hand.
    Many parking/emergency brakes are entirely operated by foot. Mine is (in a Toyota). I have never heard of a "side brake." When it is hand-operated, it's usually in the center of the car.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    This Yank never heard of a "side brake" either. A long time ago I owned a car in which the parking brake was toward the side of the car, between the driver's seat and the door, but I still wouldn't have thought to call it that.
     

    exgerman

    Senior Member
    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    I seem to remember seeing pictures of some very early cars, 1900-1910 vintage, which had the secondary brake on the outside of the body, in a place where it could be described as a side brake. Perhaps your colleague is very much behind the times.
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I seem to remember seeing pictures of some very early cars, 1900-1910 vintage, which had the secondary brake on the outside of the body, in a place where it could be described as a side brake. Perhaps your colleague is very much behind the times.
    Errmm.....
    See the picture linked in post #9, and the comment in post #10.
     

    morzh

    Banned
    USA
    Russian
    Considering I am a US person, so the experience is limited to NJ AE, so far I only heard "parking brake" used for what you've described.

    (In my language, If I were to translate it into English, it is indeed "Hand brake". But that is of little help, isn't it.....)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Growing up in England, I only ever heard "hand-brake". In the US and Canada, where manual transmissions are about as common as automatics are in the UK, there is a "P' setting for the transmission* (gear stick/lever), and this is frequently used alone, with no other brake set :)eek: ?) . There is also the "other" brake, often called the "emergency" or "parking" brake - over here, I've not heard it referred to as "handbrake". It may be hand- or foot-operated (a separate pedal from the normal footbrake). I've never heard it referred to as the "side brake".

    *I understand this locks the drive wheels so if one rolls in one direction, the other prevents it, so the axle cannot move in either direction. This is not possible with a manual gear box.
     

    morzh

    Banned
    USA
    Russian
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parking_brake

    >>>>In cars, the hand brake (emergency brake, e-brake, parking brake) is a latching brake usually used to keep the car stationary, and in manual transmission vehicles, as an aid to starting the vehicle from stopped when going up an incline

    (the picture is also there)
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    ...*I understand this locks the drive wheels so if one rolls in one direction, the other prevents it, so the axle cannot move in either direction. This is not possible with a manual gear box.
    At the risk of going slightly off-topic, but to avoid anyone picking up inadvertent misinformation here, P position in an automatic transmission does not lock the drive wheels. It locks the transmission by putting a pawl into its gears. The drive wheels are usually too far away from anything to which the transmission lever is connected to be useful for this purpose.

    (While the two cars that family now drives both have manual transmissions, we've owned cars with automatic transmissions in the past.)
     

    morzh

    Banned
    USA
    Russian
    At the risk of going slightly off-topic, but to avoid anyone picking up inadvertent misinformation here, P position in an automatic transmission does not lock the drive wheels. It locks the transmission by putting a pawl into its gears. The drive wheels are usually too far away from anything to which the transmission lever is connected to be useful for this purpose.

    (While the two cars that family now drives both have manual transmissions, we've owned cars with automatic transmissions in the past.)

    Well, this is also reflected in the fact that we usually say "put car in Park" when we put the gear in "P", whereas "apply emergency brake / parking brake" is used when the actual brake handle is pulled (or the pedal is depressed).
     

    ribran

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I have never heard side brake​ before. The terms I'm familiar with are emergency brake (E-brake), parking brake, and hand brake.(By the way, is this usually written as one word in BrE? I would always write it as two.)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    At the risk of going slightly off-topic, but to avoid anyone picking up inadvertent misinformation here, P position in an automatic transmission does not lock the drive wheels. It locks the transmission by putting a pawl into its gears. The drive wheels are usually too far away from anything to which the transmission lever is connected to be useful for this purpose.

    (While the two cars that family now drives both have manual transmissions, we've owned cars with automatic transmissions in the past.)
    My understanding was a little flawed. However, the drive wheels, which are connected to the locked transmission, are prevented from rotating (as in locked?) as a result of this, ahem, technicality :)D) right?
     

    pwmeek

    Senior Member
    English - American
    The side brake on early cars was a supplement to the foot-operated brake, and was operated by a lever outside the driving compartment and worked via a cable. It worked both as a supplement (the long lever allowed more force than a pedal), as well as a device for restraining the car when it was not being driven.

    Early on in the use of hydraulic brakes (highly failure-prone in the early years) a simple mechanical brake, operated by a cable, was called the emergency brake, operated by a lever or a pedal, again via a cable.. Once hydraulic brakes were improved and reliable, "emergency" was deemed too scary for the car buyer, so it was renamed the parking brake which is what it is usually called today. In cars where it is operated by a lever, it may be called the hand brake. I cannot think of a modern car where it would be called a side brake. (It is possible that the French equivalent of side brake is still used in France as a preserved traditional term; we would have to ask a Francophone to be sure.)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Hello all,

    Can you just settle a dispute over "handbrake/side brake"?
    A French colleague of mine thinks that "side brake" is also correct for "handbrake": is this right? For the context, we are trying to describe the "brake operated by hand, used to hold an already stationary vehicle" in a van, if that makes any difference (source here).
    (and he's especially interested in British English)

    Thank you :)
    It seems as though the only word commonly used in BrE is handbrake, with the main exception being ones that are operated by feet (more common in US cars, I think). My instinct when I first typed it was alloneword, and subsequently reviewing the other BrE posters, it seems I have company.


    Side brake is right out :D
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    About 6 months back, I hired a Vauxhall Insignia. One of the first things I noticed that there is no handbrake lever in these cars. Instead there is a button-like switch - press it and the brakes are applied to the rear wheels electronically; click it off and the brake is off. As this is a strange set-up, the assistant at the hire company explained it in detail, referring all the time to "the handbrake."

    Handbrake seems to have taken on a new life independent of any direct connection with the hand.
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    I have never heard "side brake" used to describe a parking brake on an automobile. I do note, however, that in the very early days of the automobile, some makes had a hand brake (not "break" :)) on the outside of the vehicle on the driver's side. The term might have persisted with some people or in some areas.
    I can't say I've ever come across American (or Canadian) usage of "side break". Automobile certainly is typically American usage though. :)
     

    DearPrudence

    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    Hmm, the discussion has become far too technical for me (I'm only a woman you know :p) but apparently, the bottom line is that "side brake" is not really the appropriate term in my context. Thanks, everyone :)
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    About 6 months back, I hired a Vauxhall Insignia. One of the first things I noticed that there is no handbrake lever in these cars. Instead there is a button-like switch - press it and the brakes are applied to the rear wheels electronically; click it off and the brake is off. As this is a strange set-up, the assistant at the hire company explained it in detail, referring all the time to "the handbrake."

    Handbrake seems to have taken on a new life independent of any direct connection with the hand.
    I had a Hyundai Trajet where the handbrake equivalent was operated by a foot pedal (and released by hand) - as described by panj in Post 9. I think still said handbrake!
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    When I was growing up in the U.S. all the cars I ever saw had the parking/emergency brake on the floor on the far left on the driver's side (which was on the left). That's also where the button to turn the high beams on and off was. You pressed it with your foot to turn those lights on and off.

    Many years ago that light switch migrated to the multi-function "stick" on the steering wheel. And lots of car have handbrakes as parking brakes now (including automatic transmission cars which also always have a parking brake). But I still see some parking brakes on the floor on the left now and then. So I still call it a parking brake because it's function is to keep you parked in one spot and it's not always hand-operated (and it never was when I learned the word).
     
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