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  • Writer's picturejianmei huang

How to Use ABS?

Updated: Feb 29

Learning to use ABS system correctly so that a car with anti-lock does not lose control is essential. It's about stepping on the brake fully and not releasing it even if it vibrates.


Using ABS system correctly to avoid losing control of the brakes can be useful in any situation. Imagine that one day you follow a friend's car and, trying not to lose track of him, you suddenly realize that the traffic light is red and several pedestrians are about to cross. You press the brake with all your strength without lifting your foot and feel how the pedal begins to vibrate, until the car stops completely, without losing its trajectory. The engine stalls, but the consequences could have been much worse...

How does the ABS System work?

Sensors located on the wheels permanently control their rotation speed. From the data provided by these sensors, the control unit calculates the average speed that approximately corresponds to the speed of the vehicle.


By comparing the specific speed of a wheel with the overall average you can tell if a wheel threatens to lock once the brake has been applied. If so, the system automatically reduces the braking pressure until it reaches a set threshold value below the blocking limit.


When the wheel rotates freely, the braking pressure is increased to maximum again. This process is repeated until the driver removes his foot from the brake or the brake activation force decreases.

If my car lacks ABS, what should I do?

Although today all new cars have ABS systemas standard, there are still vehicles that circulate on the road without this system, although they are becoming fewer and fewer.


If this is your case and you want to prevent your wheels from locking in an emergency braking, you have to depress the brake pedal vigorously but not all the way and then lift your foot and repeat the same operation until the car stops.


Additionally, and unlike what you would do in a car with ABS system, you should not depress the clutch. As long as there is no emergency, braking with or without ABS is done the same.


One of the added advantages of ABS system is that it adapts to all types of terrain so that it can ensure the vehicle's trajectory, stability, and maneuverability under all road conditions, from dry, with a lot of grip, to the icy surface, very slippery.

How does ABS System work depending on the type of surface?


Although ABS system is of great help in controlling the vehicle during emergency braking, it can alter the behavior of the vehicle depending on the type of surface on which it is driven.


Therefore, to achieve maximum performance from the anti-lock braking system, it is important to know how it will act on each type of terrain, thus preventing technology designed to help you when driving from turning against you. This is all you need to know:


Dry Asphalt

on this type of surface, the grip is total and in the event of emergency braking, the ABS systemprevents the wheels from locking and allows you to regain control of the vehicle.


Wet Floor

it is one of the most frequent and most dangerous situations when driving in the case of sudden braking. The ABS systemallows the tires to continue rolling and the vehicle's steering to respond to your needs.



in this type of circumstance, in which the wheels float on a road covered with water, the ABS system adapts to the situation to maintain stability and drive in a straight line.

Ice or compacted snow: in situations of very low grip, such as in the case of ice or compacted snow, even if the anti-lock braking system comes into operation that allows the steering capacity of the vehicle to be maintained, driving schools such as Race recommend lifting fully release your foot on the brake pedal to turn.


Virgin Snow (Soft)

A vehicle equipped with ABS system may need more meters to stop than one without this device because when the wheels lock, the snow accumulated in front of the front axle contributes to an additional braking effect and the tire finds greater grip under the slippery layer.


Loose Gravel

another exception like the previous one. In addition, there is the added disadvantage - in the case of off-road vehicles - that since it is a slippery surface, the brakes are required to respond when and how you want, which is why ABS system is annoying. For this reason, all-wheel drive vehicles have a self-locking differential that avoids the situation described.

Remember that it is important to always drive safely and you should not entrust control of the vehicle to any type of technology, even if it involves driving assistance systems such as emergency braking, lane keep assist, or tailgating assist. the lane, among others.


In summary, effectively using the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is key for safe driving across different conditions. ABS helps maintain control during emergency braking, but its effectiveness varies with road conditions like wet roads, ice, or gravel. For vehicles without ABS, use a pulsing brake technique. Remember, ABS is a helpful tool, but it's not a replacement for cautious driving and good judgment. Always drive responsibly and stay aware of your surroundings for safety.

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What is the primary function of the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)? The primary function of ABS is to prevent the wheels from locking up during emergency braking, allowing the driver to maintain steering control.


Can ABS be effective on all types of road surfaces? While ABS is generally effective on various surfaces, its performance can vary depending on conditions like wet roads, ice, or loose gravel.


Should drivers rely solely on ABS for safe driving? No, drivers should not rely solely on ABS. It's important to drive cautiously, adapt to road conditions, and use good judgment, as ABS is an aid, not a substitute for responsible driving.

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