Anti-lock braking systems and traction control systems
An anti-lock braking system (ABS) prevents skidding, reduces stopping distance and allows you to steer your vehicle around obstacles you'd otherwise hit. The system engages when it detects a wheel has locked and starts to skid. It then 'pumps' the brake (applying and releasing it) much quicker than you can.
Traction Control systems offer the added feature of improving your vehicle's traction on slippery surfaces when accelerating.
ABS isn't automatic - it only works when the brakes are on. It's activated by pressing the brake quickly and firmly, and maintaining pressure.
Pumping or easing off the brakes stops ABS working.
ABS will not prevent skids on corners caused by excessive speed. Having ABS is not a licence to drive faster or follow other cars more closely.
Stopping distance tends to be shorter on wet and slippery roads, but can actually increase on shingle or soft snow.
When ABS brakes are activated, the brake pedal may vibrate or there may be a thumping noise.
New to ABS? We recommend you take a practical driving course to become familiar with it.