Driver Alert
A publication by the Auto Safety Alliance
Volume 1 November 1997 Issue 1

Antilock brakes require proper steering

Drivers need antilock brake training

by Robert Fisher

Photo by Chris Johnson

Conventional brakes 
behave differently from antilock brakes.


Tips for antilock brakes

Antilock brakes are lifesavers when used correctly. The key to effective usage is practice. Practice in a safe, open parking lot. Accelerate to 35 or 40 miles per hour, and brake hard. Knowing how your car responds in an emergency can prevent panic steering.
Despite the fact that antilock braking systems (ABS) were designed to reduce crash rates, automobile insurers such as USAA and Allstate have announced that discounts for ABS equipped vehicles will cease. 

Why? Research shows no substantial difference in claims between vehicles equipped with ABS and those without. 

With ABS, drivers are not supposed to pump the brake. The brake pedal of an ABS-equipped vehicle behaves quite differently when ABS engages. A loud grating sound and rapid brake pedal pulsation often accompanies the braking action with ABS, which may alarm the driver. 

When this occurs, safety experts theorize that some drivers assume that something has gone wrong with their brakes. These drivers then begin to pump the pedal or simply lift off the brake pedal. This defeats the ABS system. When anyone buys a vehicle with an ABS system, they should practice using ABS. 

Jerking the wheel while using antilock brakes can send a car swerving violently off course.  Drivers with anitilock brakes should practice emergency braking and steering before an emergency. 

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