What does an anti-lock braking system do? ABS explained simply

Almost every car now has ABS, but not every driver knows what an anti-lock braking system really does. Although the purpose of the ABS is queried in the driver’s license test, it is rarely used in everyday life. We clarify it.

How does the anti-lock braking system work?

The primary purpose of ABS is to prevent the wheels from locking when braking. In the best case, this results in a shorter braking distance and better steering behavior during the braking process.


On dry and straight roads, you come to a standstill quite well, even at high speeds. However, as soon as the friction between the tire and the ground worsens, braking hard with the lead foot is no longer the best tactic.

This is especially the case on smooth or wet surfaces. The ABS will then help you to find the optimal brake pressure. This is at the point where the tires are just turning but not blocking.

The ABS constantly measures the circumstances and can control the braking force on each tire individually. The technology then controls your braking behavior in the direction of the optimal value. On a dry road with gravel or light snow, the ABS can also have an adverse effect, but this is rarely relevant.

How ABS helps you in everyday life

Driving on a slippery road in winter reduces the friction between the tires and the ground. If an obstacle appears, you must not brake too quickly, otherwise you will get off track, if you brake too slowly, this can also provoke an accident.

You can only achieve the optimal braking force by your experience, beginners have an even harder time here. The ABS, which understands the laws of physics, helps you here. If you brake too hard, the brake pressure is reduced so that the optimum value is reached.

ABS can be especially helpful in curves. Braking on a curve at normal speed makes full braking instinctively make sense, but will likely throw you off the curve. The ABS reduces your excessive braking and, at best, keeps you on the bend.


Author: Nabeel K
Email: nabeel@wheelsjoint.com



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