... having to downshift and begin prayers at the site of a stop sign a mile away!
All joking aside, you may have hit on the aspect of all of this that hasn't been talked about much -- our driving habits/style and how they can impact brake efficacy.
Our modern daily drivers, over the past 50 years or so, with all their modern anti-lock brake systems, good handling and electronic controls and sensors have really lulled us into bad driving habits -- like speeding, following too close, zooming up to stops, etc. Learning to drive 18-wheelers really showed me just what a crappy driver I was. I started out working on staying focused on what's happening around me -- especially to the front. Way to the front. I started driving like I was on sheet ice all the time and that other vehicles were likely to do unpredictable things. After awhile, it became a habit that was ingrained. Now, I drive my daily drivers, and most all vehicles, that way -- especially the antique truck with antique brakes. It really helped lengthen the intervals between brake adjustments on the old truck.
Try that sometime -- pretend you are on ice and that you will probably go into a skid the moment you apply your brakes ... After awhile, you may find you are enjoying the drive more. Just be ready for the offensive drivers around you who will cut you off while zooming into a red light. And if all the impatient drivers stacked up behind you bother you, quit looking in the mirror so much -- there's nothing back there that will kill you as quickly as what's in front of you
Not saying anything here other than *I* have had to learn to drive slower and more defensively in order to more safely enjoy my antique truck driving experience. Maybe that thought is of use to others ....