SIDEBAR Driving With ABS

by Steve Sturgess

Since anti-lock brakes don’t necessarily shorten stopping distance, an ABS-equipped vehicle should be driven the same way as one without ABS.

That means allowing the same distance to stop in varying conditions. ABS is designed to give the driver an added margin of safety. If you follow too closely or drive faster in slippery conditions, you take that margin away.

Here are some simple rules everyone should know before driving a vehicle with ABS:

1. Brake normally and hold your foot on the pedal, modulating it when necessary.

2. Avoid pumping the brakes rapidly. The ABS is already pumping them at full capacity (up to five times per second). Let it do its work.

3. Don’t take unnecessary risks and assume ABS will bail you out. Chances are it won’t.

4. If you are in an ABS-equipped tractor towing a trailer without ABS, use the truck brakes as necessary to keep everything in a straight line.

5. If only the trailer has ABS, use the rig’s brakes carefully to maintain control.

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