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Do you use ABS effectively?


WE HAVE attended many advanced driving courses and not only do they teach you how to handle a high performance car, they also teach you how to work in conjunction with the vehicle’s safety features.

A common oversight from many who attend these courses is the fact that they do not fully understand how ABS (Anti-locking Braking Systems) work and thus do not fully utilise this effective safety feature. We have compiled a few points that might come in handy.

Your anti-lock braking system is an active safety feature, which you need to know how to use before you can harness its full advantage. ABS helps your car maintain stability and control and prevents your brakes from locking during an emergency stop. Remember, this technology does not replace good driving skills and can only work properly if you have a clear understanding of how it operates and only when used in conjunction with defensive driving habits.


  • Know the difference between cars that are fitted with ABS and those that aren’t. ABS helps to slow the car down quicker by avoiding the locking up of the wheels. It allows the tyres to maintain grip under a controlled braking force.

  • Know how the brake pedal will react and then maintain a firm and continuous pressure on it and do not pump the brake.

  • Pumping the brake turns the system on and off. ABS ‘pumps’ the brakes for you at a much faster rate.

  • If you take your foot off the brake it will disengage the system.
  • Whether you have ABS or not you still need to keep a safe following distance of three or more seconds.

  • Practice emergency stops so you can become accustomed to ABS.
  • Depending on how old your vehicle is, you can expect mechanical noise and pedal pulsations when ABS is activated.

  • Continue to steer normally once you engage ABS.

  • If there is a problem with the ABS system, the warning light will indicate this and conventional braking will start.

  • Know where to look for this emergency light. If in doubt, consult your user manual.

We highly recommend that you consider taking an advanced driving course, such as that offered by MasterDrive. They are most effective in teaching you how to work with the safety features and how to quickly judge a situation to help avoid an accident.

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