Doesn't "rip" mean "tear something"? What does "rip" mean here?
Yes, that's correct. Conventionally, "rip" means to "tear." The speaker has used it here to emphasize the force or violence with which the driver has pulled on the brakes. He does not mean "rip" in the normal sense, as in the racecar driving circle, "rip the brakes" is an expression used to mean to pull the hand brake to slide around a corner, thus causing the car to drift or slide to a stop. Ex: There's a corner up ahead! Rip the hand brake. Ex: I accidentally ripped my jeans.