If used correctly, the handbrake should be more or less silent when in use. If you hear clicking sounds when applying or releasing it, these are the sounds of wear and tear on the mechanism. (Check your vehicle's manual for exceptions to this as some modern handbrakes work differently.) Wear and tear should be kept to a minimum to ensure your handbrake remains in good, working condition.

You should always apply the handbrake when your car is parked. Aside from this, there are two situations in which you should use the handbrake during your drive. One is when you have stopped on an incline and you need to ensure the car will not roll back while you prepare your feet for moving off. The other is when you are waiting. The waiting period could be anything from a few seconds to a few minutes: if you are not expecting to move off imminently, the safest thing to do is secure the car by applying the handbrake.

Applying the handbrake does not illuminate the brake lights.

Except in an emergency (such as a mechanical failure of the foot brake), the handbrake should never be used while the car is in motion.

The handbrake is also known as the parking brake.

Get animated examples with the interactive Controls app for iPad