Your brakes are one of the largest safety components you have on your vehicle. And, unlike an airbag, you use the brakes each and every time you drive. Most drivers have had to get a little heavy with the braking system at some point or another. Everyone has had someone pull out in front of them or has tried to stop short when a light turns red suddenly. But should you make those fast stops a habit? Absolutely not. It can actually damage the brakes.
When you slam on the brakes, you are making the brakes work fast and furious instead of easing them into what you need done. The brake pads are meant to be gradually depressed onto the other parts. When they are pushed down hard and fast over and over again, they wear a lot faster. When your brakes wear, they will start to take more time to work. That can be dangerous, especially if you really do need to stop quickly.
Stopping fast can also cause other damage to other parts of your vehicle. You can reduce your gas mileage, for example, which will send you to the gas pumps a lot more frequently than you would have to stop otherwise. You can also wear down flat spots in your tires. You don't want to have to get new tires any sooner than necessary, but this type of aggressive driving can be the cause of such replacements.
The biggest damage of heavy braking is generally seen on the brakes themselves. The brake pads can overheat when they are utilized in a fast manner many times in a row. When they wear down, they can cause other issues, like a shaking steering wheel or squealing noises. You could also sustain damage to the brake hoses through cracking or tearing from harsh use.
It's in your best interest to be gentle with your brakes, but even if you treat them well, you are going to need new brake pads and inspections at some point. When you notice your brakes making noise, get them into the auto repair shop.