ABS Driving Tips
ABS is a safe, effective braking system when used properly. It offers an
important safety advantage by preventing the wheels from locking during
emergency braking situations, allowing drivers to maintain control over steering
and operate vehicles more effectively. To take full advantage of the maximum
safety benefits drivers must learn how to operate their anti-lock brake systems
correctly. The National Safety Council shares the following recommendations from
the ABS Education Alliance.
your foot on the brake. Maintain firm and continuous pressure on the brake
while steering to enable four-wheel ABS to work properly. Avoid pumping
the brake, even if the brake pedal is pulsating. In light trucks that are
equipped with rear-wheel anti-lock brakes, however, the front wheels can
still lock up the same as conventional brakes. If that happens, the driver
should ease up on the brake pedal with just enough pressure to allow the
front wheels to roll again so you can steer.
enough distance to stop. Follow three seconds or more behind vehicles when
driving in good conditions. Allow more time if conditions are hazardous.
driving with ABS. Become accustomed to pulsations that occur in the brake
pedal when ABS is activated. Empty parking lots or other open areas are
excellent places to practice emergency stops.
the vehicle's owner's manual for additional driving instructions on the
anti-lock brake system.
the difference between four-wheel and rear-wheel ABS. Four-wheel ABS is
generally found on passenger cars and is designed to maintain steerability
in emergency braking situations. Rear-wheel ABS, found exclusively on
light trucks, is designed to maintain directional stability and prevent
the vehicle from skidding sideways.
an ABS-equipped vehicle more aggressively than vehicles without ABS.
Driving around curves faster, changing lanes abruptly or performing other
aggressive steering maneuvers is neither appropriate nor safe with any
the brakes. In four-wheel ABS-equipped vehicles, pumping the brake turns
the system on and off. ABS pumps the brakes for you automatically, at a
much faster rate, and allows better steering control.
to steer. Four-wheel ABS enables drivers to steer in emergency braking
situations, but the system itself does not steer.
alarmed by mechanical noises and/or slight pedal pulsations while applying
the brake in an ABS-equipped vehicle. These conditions are normal and let
the driver know ABS is working.
"brake and steer" when using four-wheel anti-lock brakes. With ABS,
all you have to do is "brake and steer". With four-wheel ABS, push the
brake pedal while steering normally and keep your foot firmly on the brake pedal
until the car comes to a complete stop. Don't take your foot off the brake pedal
or pump the brakes, because that will disengage the anti-lock system.
you can steer while you are braking with four-wheel anti-lock brake systems.
Steer clear of hazards while keeping your foot firmly on the brake pedal. Be
aware that your vehicle will not turn as quickly on a slippery road as it would
on dry pavement.
because your anti-lock brakes are only as good as the driver using them.
Anti-lock brakes cannot compensate for driving faster, more aggressively, or
maintaining unsafe following distances. They cannot guarantee recovery from a
spin or skid prior to an emergency braking situation. Avoid extreme steering
maneuvers while your anti-lock brake system is engaged.
and vibration in the brake pedal when your anti-lock brakes are in use. These
sensations tell you the ABS system is working properly.
brake systems can stop more quickly than conventional brakes on wet paved
surfaces and on icy or packed snow-covered roads. Stopping distances can be
longer on loose gravel or freshly fallen snow, although drivers won't experience
the lock-up of the wheels usually associated with conventional hard braking.
Therefore, drivers will still have the ability to steer around objects in front
of them—such as another car.
there is a difference between four-wheel and rear-wheel ABS. Four-wheel ABS
prevents wheel lock on all four wheels giving the driver improved control over
steering. Drivers of four-wheel ABS cars should step firmly on the brake in an
emergency stopping situation and keep their foot on the pedal.
trucks that are equipped with rear-wheel ABS, however, the front wheels can
still lock up the same as with conventional brakes. If that happens, the driver
should ease up on the brake pedal with just enough pressure to allow the front
wheels to roll again so the driver can steer.