What is ABS and how does it work?
ABS (Anti-lock Braking System): This is a computer, sensors, and solenoid valves that together control wheel speed and modulate braking force if wheel blockage is detected during braking. It helps the driver maintain control of the vehicle during hard braking on slippery roads.
Simply put, ABS uses electronics to detect and prevent wheel lock-up. This helps the driver maintain control of the car when braking in low-grip conditions because the car’s steering will still work when the ABS is on.
Even if you are an experienced driver, unexpected problems can sometimes get in the way. Trying to avoid an imminent collision or danger on the road ahead, you may find yourself jumping on the brakes.
In this case, the anti-lock braking system (ABS) comes to the rescue. It prevents the wheels from locking and helps them maintain traction on the road below.
The Anti-lock Braking System is now present in all modern cars sold in Europe.
How does ABS work?
ABS is part of an overall stabilization system, commonly known as an electronic stability control system, which monitors wheel movement during hard braking. A sensor is attached to each wheel.
If the smart sensors detect that the wheel is about to lock and stop moving, the system releases the brake. The release occurs only for a moment.
After that, ABS continuously and repeatedly applies optimum braking pressure to each wheel, meaning the system will only brake enough to keep the wheels from locking up.
When ABS is active, you may feel a pulsation when you depress the brake pedal. The anti-lock braking system helps the driver maintain control of the car instead of stopping it.
It reduces the risk of skidding even when making excessive evasive maneuvers. Therefore, it is important to remember that the braking distance of the vehicle may increase.
Thus, if you continue to drive straight into an obstacle, the car may not stop in time, even if your intuition tells you otherwise. It’s a common misconception that ABS helps shorten braking distances.
How effective is it?
Some older models can be bought without ABS, and some choose not to have them. But it is a very effective safety feature:
Cars equipped with ABS are less likely to be involved in a fatal accident.
ABS reduces the likelihood of a head-on collision on wet and dry roads.
Cars with ABS rarely stray off the road ahead.
It’s worth remembering that ABS works best on a hard stable surface, and your experience on ice, snow, or gravel may be different.
What should I do if my car doesn’t have ABS?
If you are driving an older car, or your engine develops a fault and the ABS stops working, you can simulate the system by applying the brake and releasing it several times.
No driver can brake as fast or as fast as the system, but it will still help you maintain control.