Friday, October 25, 2013

Advantage of ABS in cars – Anti-lock braking system

Anti-lock braking system


We all know ABS is a better braking technology but only 1-2% of the driving community actually knows what that technology is all about. I have always maintained that we Indians are really ill-equipped as far as knowledge is concerned. And to state the facts, it’s not our fault entirely. Even the sales person prefers to portray how good is his car than the competitor, instead of showcasing and educating the customer on ABS – EBD – BA and stuff. 

I can say from my personal experience that if I was explained about ABS while purchasing the car, then I would have surely given a second thought on buying the base model without these features. 

After being 73,000 km old in my car, after putting in some R & D on ABS, after watching videos of ABS on youtube, now I realise how significant is ABS and that it’s literally a gamble with your life, to not have ABS in your car and venturing out on the road. (unless of course you never drive above 40 kmph). 

Earlier it was only ABS (Antilock braking system), now they even have gone a step ahead with EBD (Electronic Brake force distribution) and BA (Brake Assist). ABS however works on a very simple concept. We all have noticed those long black tyre marks on the road, both in the cities as well as highways. We immediately know that somebody tried to apply the brakes with full force and because of that the rotation of the tyre stopped but the vehicle skid and kept on moving because of the sheer inertia, hence those black tyre marks on the road. The vehicle ultimately stops but it’s not effective. First it’s risky as the driver has no control on the vehicle when it is skidding and second is obviously the wear and tear of the tyre. 

What is ABS

In simple terms ABS is a technology that restricts the skidding of the tyre. Technically ABS is a sensor installed in the tyres that checks whether the rotation of tyres has stopped or not while the vehicle is moving. If the rotation has stopped because of the sudden application of brakes then ABS immediately releases the brakes and initiates the rotation so that the vehicle doesn’t skid. Once set in motion it again jams the wheel by applying the brakes. This entire process of jamming and releasing happens for multiple times in every second. Effectively, it increases the friction of the tyre with the road by keeping the wheels moving and also avoids skidding by stopping it immediately once set in motion. 

Hence, if you apply sudden brakes in ABS vehicles then you wont find that long black stretch mark on the road behind the vehicle rather there would be small intermittent black marks suggesting that ABS was working during the application of brakes. 

Advantages of ABS

  • Lesser stopping distance 
  • No skidding of tyres (even on wet road condition) 
  • Control is always available on the steering wheel for manoeuvring left or right 
  • Less wear and tear of the tyres 

What is EBD – Electronic Brake Force Distribution

EBD or electronic brake force distribution is the next level of technology that goes alongwith ABS. With the help of EBD the braking pressure is distributed onto the 4 wheels of the vehicle based on the weight that falls on that particular wheel. Hence if during the braking the car is not straight on the road then some wheels will have more pressure to brake than the others. EBD simply understands the requirement of braking pressure distribution and applies the brakes in all 4 wheels based on the force, hence obviously more effective. 

What is BA – Brake Assist 

Brake Assist is a second step over and above ABS and EBD. The idea behind BA is that when we apply brakes in an emergency situation, sometimes we might not be putting in all the effort to brake completely. Hence Brake Assist is a technology that recognises a emergency situation with the force with which we press the brake pedal and in such a situation if there is any remaining braking power available, then it completes the full force of braking by assisting the driver, hence, helping in emergency situations. 

So much for braking effectively. A lesser known mortal would just add his few cents here saying, why drive so fast at all? To be precise, it’s not about driving fast, it’s about braking more effectively. Even at 40 kmph if the roads are completely wet, ABS can significantly reduce your stopping distance and avoid any skidding of the vehicle. 

So next time you go into that car showroom, don’t get loaded with the competitive blabber which the salesperson gives you. Rather, take an informed decision and go for the model with ABS + EBD + BA, Sometimes that might also mean spending a little bit extra. But the peace of mind will surely be yours. 


  1. you have explain the very nice information. It is very useful for everyone.
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  2. Pleas add ESP to the list too. ESP ensures that the vehicle steers exactly as per steering input, with or without braking involved. It eliminates under steer/over steer/Roll over (Especially in SUVs).

  3. plz explain Traction control system(TCS) IN CARS also

    1. Yes Sanjeet, that's also picking up these days! But that is more about engine power distribution and less about braking. I tried to keep this article only for braking.