What is ABS – And How Can It Save Your Life?

“Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS) have been with us for longer than you might think.

Developed in 1929 for use on aircraft, motorists first experienced the benefits of ABS in the Jensen Ferguson Formula, a four-wheel-drive car unveiled in 1966.

Further development was slow and most motorists had to wait until the mid-1980s to benefit from ABS, most notably when an anti-lock brake system was fitted as standard to the Ford Scorpio.

ABS is now fitted to just about every new car and is used to help stability while cornering and as a crude aid to traction too as engineers start to think laterally about its benefits in situations other than braking.”

How Does ABS Work?

“Maximum braking effort, such as that required in an emergency stop, is developed at the point at which the wheel has just started to lock up and skid.

Knowing this, it is a relatively simple matter to use an ABS sensor on each wheel to detect the moment a wheel starts to stop moving, or lock: at this point the retardation is now much lower than it was and the car cannot be steered. The driver is now effectively a passenger and has no control over the car whatsoever.

However, if the brake pressure – which is being applied through a hydraulic fluid that is pumped throughout the system as a result of the driver pressing on the brake pedal – is momentarily released, the brakes are freed and the car’s wheels and tyres can revolve again.

This intervention happens hundreds of times a second. By releasing and reapplying the brakes, the car’s ABS prevents it going into a brake-induced skid, enabling the driver to continue to steer.

So essentially, the anti-lock braking system does exactly what it says on the tin – having ABS in your car should prevent the wheels locking as you brake, giving you more control and allowing you to steer.”

But did you know ABS can also assist you to take corner more quickly?

“They do this by using the car’s ABS system as a traction control and chassis stability aid; essentially the car detects when the car is in danger of losing control on a corner and brakes one or more wheels gently to control it.”

Thanks to Saga.co.uk for the information sourced in this article!

 

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Cover Image Credit: ThoughtCo.