What is ABS in cars and what are its benefits?
ABS or Anti-Lock Braking System is an important vehicle safety feature that prevents the vehicle from spinning out of control in the event of an emergency, panic, or harsh braking. Sudden braking can cause a wheel to lock up (not spin) and this can result in an immediate loss of traction, particularly over wet or slippery surfaces. This can cause vehicles to skid and meet with an accident. But ABS prevents the wheels from locking up on sudden braking and lets the tyres be controlled by steering input, giving the driver room to safely manoeuvre the vehicle and avoid crashes.
ABS works through speed sensors that are positioned on the wheels. On the application of brakes, these sensors detect a drastic reduction in the speed of any of the wheel(s) as compared to others. The electronic control unit (ECU) reads the signal from each sensor and reduces brake pressure on the wheel that is spinning slowly (or is about to lock up) until it’s on par with other wheels. If the wheels start accelerating again, the speed sensors send the signal to the ECU one more time brake and pressure is increased. This is similar to cadence braking, wherein the driver pumps the brake again and again to increase the braking force.
(Image source: cars.tatamotors.com)
ABS is a great safety feature that comes as a standard in most modern vehicles. The primary advantages of ABS include:
- The technology minimises the risk of your wheels getting locked up and preventing your vehicle from skidding, particularly in slippery conditions. It helps drivers to maintain control and steer the vehicle to avoid an accident.
- The application of ABS can stop the vehicle at a shorter distance than the normal brakes, giving the driver better control in potentially dangerous scenarios. The system also helps avoid uneven tyre wear by preventing the wheels from locking up.
ABS has been made mandatory by the government of India from April 1, 2019 for all new two-wheelers with an engine displacement over 125cc. Bikes with engines up to 125cc need to have compulsory fitment of the combi-braking system (CBS). For four-wheelers, ABS became mandatory for all new cars from April 2018 and for all cars on sale from April 2019.