What is ABS?
by Perth Truck Company – Vintage Road Haulage
Learn about the development and use of the Anti-Lock Braking System…
ABS stands for Anti-lock Braking System, a vehicle safety system which ensures the wheels of the vehicle stay in contact with the road when the driver brakes, which prevents wheel locking and uncontrolled skidding.
It allows the driver to stop within the shortest possible distance, but remain in control of the vehicle by steering and prevention against out of control spinning.
Development of ABS Brakes
ABS was created and first used in 1929 for use on aircrafts. Then in 1958 it was seen as being beneficial for use on motorcycles. Tests were carried out which showed anti-lock brakes could reduce the stopping distance and amount of skid, yet ABS was not installed at that time. Some cars had anti-lock systems installed in the 1960’s but they were too costly and unreliable to be a standard feature.
However from the mid 1970’s ABS became more widely used and recognised as a viable safety device. Electronic and computerised systems were then developed and these can be seen in modern cars and motorcycles today.
4 Main Components Of The Anti-Lock Braking System
There are four main components – speed sensors, pump, valve and a controller.
- Speed Sensors – provides information about when the wheel is going to lock up via sensors found in the differential or wheel.
- Pump – raises the pressure in the brake line after the valve has reduced it.
- Valve – works in 3 positions to open, block or release pressure from the brake line and master cylinder.
- Controller – a computer which watches the speed sensors and controls the valves.
How To Use ABS Brakes
When driving a car or truck with ABS, you should never pump the brakes. Instead, just press the brake pedal firmly down and hold it so as to allow the system to work.
Often in slippery conditions, drivers of vehicles without ABS installed will pump their brakes to make their wheels unlock so the vehicle stays straight. However when using this technique in an ABS fitted vehicle, the wheels will not lock meaning that the pumping will just increase your stopping distance.
Instead to stop in an emergency in a vehicle with ABS, apply the brake pedal and hold it firmly. The pedal may pulse or shudder violently, but this is normal when it is working, so do not take your foot off the brake.
Effectiveness of ABS
Current research has shown that cars with ABS are less likely to be involved in a multi-car accident, but are more likely to be involved in a run-off-road accident like leaving the road on a bend. Speculators say this is due to poor driver knowledge about how ABS works, meaning drivers take their foot off the brake when they feel pulsing or they pump the brakes. Also, ABS brakes have been found to be more effective on hard surfaces such as bitumen and concrete rather than gravel, sand and snow.
Read about brake law changes for new trucks in Australia.
Vintage Road Haulage
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