How Do I Use Anti-Lock Brakes in an Emergency?

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Brakes allow you to stop the vehicle when you need to. Anti-lock brakes help you do this in extreme conditions. As a vital safety feature, understanding how to use your anti-lock brakes means you’re that much safer in an emergency.

If you’ve ever felt a slight vibration when you tap the brake in wet or icy weather, you’ve experienced the anti-lock brake system (ABS) in action. This rapid pulsation means the ABS actuator has prevented a skid and you can maintain control of your vehicle on slippery roads, helping avoid collision.

A Close Look at Anti-Lock Brakes

The ABS senses wheel motion, turning on if it perceives skid conditions after you engage the brake pedal. The vibration you feel comes from the system’s actuators pumping the brakes (up to 100 beats per second), stepping in for a panicked driver whose manual pumping would be less effective.

Why all the pumping? Well, this speedy move allows tires to maintain traction and circumvent a skid. During a skid, the wheels lock and slide over slick pavement. When this happens, the vehicle becomes difficult to control, producing several dangerous possibilities.

The Best Way to Use Anti-Lock Brakes

  • The ABS should perform well as long as you drive carefully but assertively. Staying calm while pressing the brakes is the only action needed to effectively initiate the anti-lock brakes.
  • Since the ABS does the work for you, avoid pumping the brakes.
  • If driving in slick conditions, allow more distance before a stop.
  • The ABS controls the tires but not the steering wheel, so remember to steer. On the flip side, avoid erratic steering movements when the ABS is active.
  • Expect noise and vibration when the ABS steps in; don’t panic. Keeping calm on wet or icy roads means everything.
  • Practice emergency stops in a large, empty parking lot in normal weather conditions. This can get you used how the system feels, making you comfortable during real-life hazardous situations.

Note: For more information about the ABS in your vehicle, check the owner’s manual.

Can the ABS Fail?

Fortunately, with a built-in safety feature that turns off the anti-lock brakes if any component malfunctions, your brakes should work even if the ABS does not. It’s important to note that if this system disengages, you should pump the brakes manually to stop safely in slippery conditions.

For all your car’s maintenance and repair needs, remember to call Kirk’s Auto Care in Livonia, MO at 734-402-722 today!

Call Kirk's Auto Care at 734-402-8722 for an appointment today!

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