ABS and ESC are Your Car's Ultimate Safety Features

by Mohammed Burman | 26/04/2020
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Do you know that Anti- Lock Braking System and Electronic Stability Control play an extremely important role in your car's ecosystem? Discover these two safety features in this article.

Researchers have been trying to create more and more technological devices to boost the convenience of human’s life. In terms of automobiles, there have been a lot of advanced upgrades to ensure that drivers can fully experience comfortable and safe journeys. Among the inventions, ABS and ESC are the topmost key safety features for cars which have saved many lives. How the features can effectively protect the drivers and passengers is discussed in the below article.


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Anti-Braking System (ABS)

To check if your car has ABS, step on the brake pedal to see if there is any growling and rumbling noise like a Bronx cheer. The noise seems to be irritating for some, but thanks to that sound, ABS, can save your life in many ways. Briefly saying, ABS is one of the key features in cars that help drivers gain enough traction and control over the vehicle while doing an emergency brake, especially at high speed and/or on slippery surfaces.

How ABS works.

Imagine that you are driving on the highway at 100 km/h, and you have to make an abrupt stop because there’s something wrong on the road. You step the brake too hard to slow the car as fast as possible. However, because ABS has not been installed on your car, the attempt you’re doing only makes the situation worse. You immediately experience a sudden shock and your wheel is getting heavier, losing its movement and creating a deafening sound. Following that sound is your biggest effort to maintain the unstable car which is now losing all control. If the road is free, you can be safe; however, if there are obstacles including other vehicles on the road, you’re likely to be involved in a severe accident.


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On the other hand, driving beside you is a car that is fully equipped with ABS. When its driver steps the brake pedals, the wheels just don’t stop immediately but slow down gradually. This provides the driver with sustained control over the steering. And while he’s braking, he can easily manoeuvre the vehicle to avoid existing obstacles because the wheels are still working. Without any sudden shock or loss of traction and control, he safely passes through the unexpected on the highway at 100 km/h.

That’s a typical example of how ABS assists you in handling. Because the mechanism helps the wheels not totally stop, you can avoid a sudden loss of control and in rarer cases, tires burst. Therefore, ABS is definitely a necessary feature for every car.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

Watching The “Fast and Furious” franchises, many of us enjoy the thrill of drifts and speed. It’s so amazing that the drivers can avoid obstacles easily. You may think that it is because of their skills in such situations, but the protagonist in these scenarios is the ESC. Particularly, ESC is a computerized control system which involves brakes to each wheel and reduces engine power to sustain control of drivers over their own vehicles. Most ESC systems consist of the hydraulic modulator, a yaw rate sensor, a steering angle sensor, a control module, wheel speed sensors, and an accelerometer. In the movies, in order to capture the intense shoots, the cars must have been installed with a high-end ESC system in which the sensors receive notable upgrades.

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The mechanism of an ESC system is relatively understandable. While driving on the street at 80 km/h, an animal - for example, a cat - suddenly appears and you have to avoid it. You start to roll the steering wheel, and at the moment, the sensors of the ESC system engage in assisting you. They record, estimate and determine the distance, the circumstances (whether your car is sliding or not), the speed of your car, and the place the wheels are pointing. Then they give all of the information to the calculating program which will automatically adjust the wheels by controlling the brakes via the control module. Note that when a vehicle is oversteering or tailgating, the module will apply braking to the front wheels in order to maintain whole control. As a result, by the help of ESC, you can easily manoeuvre your car to avoid the animal without being out of track.

This is how ESC helps stabilize control.

What will happen if you avoid the cat when ESC is absent? To thoroughly understand what commonly occurs, you need to open your physics school book and search for Newton’s First Law. Just kidding, you don’t need to. In fact, every object has its inertia, and any external forces affecting its motion; and that the effect is either huge or small closely relates to its mass - the bigger the object, the harder to manipulate its inertia. That is to say if the car moves slowly, its inertia is small and you can simply manoeuvre. However, at high speed, its inertia is so high that you can not just change the direction of the vehicle by just steering the wheel or stepping the brake pedal hard. What will happen is you’re going to lose control over the car, the severity depends greatly on the mass of your car and the speed you’re at.

What happens if you try to drive without ESC at different speeds?

Let’s recap. Having an ESC system will help your car gain stability and sustainable control over the changes in terms of inertia which is dangerous when you make a sudden change in motion. There is a huge collection of records showing that losing control at high speed has resulted in many fatal crashes. Researchers also found that ESC can greatly reduce the chance of such tragic accidents to an average of 56%. Therefore, you should buy a car with both key safety features: ABS and ESC for the most effectiveness.

*FYI: Inertia is the tendency of an object to remain at rest or remain in motion. Inertia is related to an object’s mass.


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Traction Control (TC)

The Traction Control system is similar to but simpler than the ESC system. TC produces the same result as ESC but instead of using a lot of sensors, it relies on the traction of the wheels and the ability of separately providing power to each wheel. For example, when a car is on slippery surfaces, its wheels tend to lose a lot of traction which makes it difficult to be controlled. Therefore, TC has to perform its duty as a power distributor: increasing power on the less-traction wheels and decreasing power on the more traction ones. If distributing power is not enough to regain control, the TC system will apply braking on the more slippery wheels. Interestingly, most TC systems determine the states of a wheel by using the information from the speed sensor of the ABS system.

Traction Control System (TCS)

All in all, ABS, ESC, and TC are the most popular and most effective safety features for cars. They help the car stabilize and assist drivers in regaining control. You can easily find these features in any updated cars because they are essential. However, double-check is never a waste of time. And if you want to know more about cars and interesting automobile-related articles, visit IndianAuto.

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