Cars today have many safety features, from lane change assist to rearview cameras and even to self-driving vehicles. Even if your vehicle isn’t the newest model, chances are you have at least one or more of the modern safety features — including anti-lock brakes.
Starting in the 1990s, the Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) became a standard among the safety features in all modern cars. And for a good reason!
Every time you drive, you use your brakes. Anti-Lock brakes changed the way your car reacts when you have to stop quickly and forcefully. In short, ABS keeps your vehicle’s wheels from all locking up at the same time.
A car does not automatically stop just because all four tires have stopped spinning. Instead, the vehicle keeps its momentum, throwing the vehicle into a skid or a spinning motion, causing the driver to lose control of the car potentially.
One of the critical features of this braking system is that it allows your car to maintain its grip on the pavement, safely bringing your vehicle and its cargo to a halt at a safe distance. This is particularly important when bringing your car to an abrupt stop on a slippery surface. Driving on a wet surface means that the friction between all four wheels can be different. Applying the brake when the wheels have various frictional forces will produce torque and throw the vehicle into an uncontrollable spin.
To understand anti-lock brakes, let’s look a little deeper into how ABS keeps you safe when braking.