What is ABS?
ABS stands for Anti-lock Braking System, a key safety feature in most modern cars and trucks. Anti-lock brakes work with a car’s regular brake system by automatically pumping them in the event of a sudden stop.
How does ABS work?
When making a sudden stop, it is possible that one or more of your vehicle’s wheels could lock up, leaving you with little control of your vehicle. During wheel lock, the wheels of your vehicle stop rotating, causing your car to slide. For years, drivers were taught to pump the brakes when they felt their vehicle steering into a skid.
Today, ABS technology automates the brake pumping process so you can concentrate on steering the vehicle to safety during an emergency situation. By preventing your car’s wheels from locking, anti-lock brakes ensure that you are able to steer during a hard braking event.
In an anti-lock braking system, your car’s wheel speed is monitored and if wheel lock is detected, a sensor sends a message to a controller that releases and applies the brake up to 20 times per second, preventing a lock up and helping you maintain control of your vehicle.
In many of today’s newer cars and trucks, anti-lock brakes work in conjunction with other safety systems like traction control and electronic stability control to deliver a safer driving experience.
Are anti-lock brakes different from conventional brakes?
Yes. When you press the brake pedal hard on conventional brakes, one or more of the wheels can lock up. Thanks to the automatic pumping action of anti-lock brakes, you can maintain control and steer to safety during a quick stop.
What are the limitations of ABS brakes?
While ABS brakes are a breakthrough, don’t let them give you a false sense of security. To realize the full advantage of anti-lock brakes, it requires you to avoid negative behaviors like speeding, tailgating and driving while tired. Using safe driving practices will increase your reaction time, a key factor in being able to safely negotiate an emergency situation. Don’t expect ABS brakes to compensate for poor driving; a healthy dose of caution and good judgment ensures that safety features like anti-lock brakes work to their full potential.
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