Definition of handbrake in US English:



  • 1The emergency or parking brake on a motor vehicle.

    ‘she drew up beside the road and pulled on the handbrake’
    • ‘The rather unusual handbrake, now part of the facia and no longer between the seats, takes a bit of getting used to, but is extremely efficient and easy to operate, once your left hand remembers where it is!’
    • ‘‘I was told that the car should not be in gear and that the handbrake should be on,’ said Alan.’
    • ‘The driver of a nearby car gave her a strange look and asked: ‘Why don't you just pull up the handbrake?’’
    • ‘Vandals have left a trail of destruction across a Yorkshire town by releasing handbrakes of cars parked on steep hills.’
    • ‘It has a punchy 1.6 litre petrol engine and lots of useful gadgets, including an electric handbrake and automatic lights and wipers, as well as lots of useful storage space.’
    • ‘He pulls up the handbrake and tests to see if they hold.’
    • ‘He would accelerate, then pull the handbrake up and then he would have to keep really good control of the steering wheel as the car spun round.’
    • ‘Poorly working handbrakes are a particular hazard.’
    • ‘I also took a while to adjust to the fascia-mounted gearstick and the right side-mounted handbrake but eventually accustomed myself to them.’
    • ‘Rob Hirst, an inspector with the Health and Safety Executive, found that the handbrake on the tractor was not working effectively when he arrived at the scene.’
    • ‘She pulls the handbrake, but being her, doesn't pull it on harder enough.’
    • ‘Disable the vehicles involved by turning off engines and applying handbrakes.’
    • ‘In several quick, smooth movements, he had taken off the handbrake, shifted the gears and pulled the car out of the parking spot.’
    • ‘Policemen allegedly pursued looting suspects, leaving the handbrake off and the vehicle out of gear.’
    • ‘He had stopped on the slope, applied the handbrake and left the tractor to clear a blockage in the attached baler, leaving the engine running.’
    • ‘Conventional handbrakes are being replaced by electronic buttons that release the brakes.’
    • ‘There's a smart storage space in the centre console where the handbrake and gear lever usually are: here you can put your keys, handbag, mobile phone and there's also room for a lap top.’
    • ‘Turn off the ignition of vehicles and put the handbrakes on.’
    • ‘I didn't like the electric handbrake, it was very confusing and the digital speedo is difficult to read.’
    • ‘Fortunately, the driver was able to stop the vehicle using the handbrake and nobody was hurt.’
    • ‘Her son Bill said: ‘I do not know if the driver's handbrake failed or if it was not put on.’’
    • ‘Then I noticed it was under the steering wheel - one of those new-fangled stupid handbrakes.’
    • ‘Someone released the handbrake, causing the vehicle to roll down the hill and hit two parked cars.’
    • ‘The gear lever and handbrake fit snugly between the two seats and the indicators and switches are easy to reach.’
    • ‘The operation of the handbrake, steering, brake and clutch oozes quality, and the fittings are impressive.’
    1. 1.1 A brake operated by hand, as on a bicycle.