I just returned from a couple days in Houghton, Michigan where I had the chance to drive some trucks on hard-packed snow and ice. Driving on snow and ice may not sound like a lot of fun to most of you – but this was a controlled environment and the worst I could do was stick it into a snow bank (which happened, by the way, but fortunately not while I was behind the wheel).
The purpose of the trip was to test first-hand Bendix’s ABS-6 with ESP (an electronic stability system).
I have some experience with electronic stability systems, but this was the first time I had the chance to drive ESP-equipped vehicles myself. Sliding sideways at 35 mph in a mixer truck is not an enjoyable feeling. However, with the ESP system activated, I was able to maintain control of the vehicle when pulling the exact same maneuver. Technology is a wonderful thing!
You have to admire the engineers who work on systems like this. Those involved in cold-weather testing spend weeks at a time working outside in remote regions where the temperature is well below freezing. The weather in Houghton certainly made Toronto feel balmy in comparison.
A full report about the experience will be in the April issues of Truck News and Truck West.
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