How much does ABS actually help? | Video

https://www.youtube.com/embed/mlLYJW-yIIg

Ever been out driving and wonder what would happen if you could switch off the ABS in your car? This video shows exactly what that would look like.

Perhaps not surprisingly, coming to a safe, controlled stop without ABS is pretty difficult.

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Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos)
Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos) MegaDork
10/5/21 6:38 p.m.

While it works fairly well on pavement, the ABS in my 2004 Forester will decide to not apply the brakes much at all if you're on bumpy dirt. 

I have to pull the fuse in order to slow down properly during a rallycross.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
10/5/21 6:48 p.m.

Has anybody ever watched Kennedy assassination conspiracy reenactment videos, where a guy who has never used a bolt action rifle can't get three shots off in five seconds?  Or an infomercial where people just can't flip an egg?

vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) UberDork
10/5/21 6:54 p.m.

This is great and totally on point for the lesson I'm planning tomorrow in my DE class. I've been taking the kids out on a deserted dirt road, getting them up to speed, and having them jump on the brakes to induce an ABS stop in a straight line. Then I have them do it again but this time I have them turn left then right as if to avoid something. This perfectly illustrates what I'm trying to have them understand. 

Ultimately I'm teaching them to look far enough up the road, see the problem before it happens, and adjust their speed to avoid a panic stop situation. This limits the possibility of a panic stop or at least it allows it to happen at a lower speed helping them to stop in a straight line in the shortest distance possible.

I tell them, "don't ask the car to do two things at once."

vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) UberDork
10/5/21 6:55 p.m.

In reply to Streetwiseguy :

Umm, what?

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
10/5/21 11:12 p.m.

The thing that strikes me as being strange about the video is that he talks about being a race car driver and using threshold braking, and then when he's comparing non-ABS cars to ABS ones he just stands on the brakes to lock up the tires.

russde
russde Reader
10/6/21 11:05 a.m.

In reply to codrus (Forum Supporter) :

I thought that was his point: most folks (me) don't have the skills/muscle memory to threshold brake, so, look how awesome the difference is with ABS

Toyman01 + Sized and
Toyman01 + Sized and MegaDork
10/6/21 11:13 a.m.

I'm going to go with it depends on the car. 

The ABS in my 97 E150 was completely horrible. Lose traction on one wheel and it just dumped all the brake pressure and wouldn't stop. More than once I ended up off the side of the road or in the middle of the intersection. It was dangerous. I finally pulled the fuse to disable it and dealt with the brake light being on.  

The ABS on the G35 works very well. It kicks in on the track on occasion. Unobtrusive other than a little feel in the pedal. No loss of stopping power.

I couldn't tell you if the system even works on the rest of my vehicles. I've never had them activate.

 

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
10/6/21 11:19 a.m.

In reply to vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) :

See:  Codrus post above.

APEowner
APEowner SuperDork
10/6/21 11:23 a.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:

The thing that strikes me as being strange about the video is that he talks about being a race car driver and using threshold braking, and then when he's comparing non-ABS cars to ABS ones he just stands on the brakes to lock up the tires.

Yeah, I had the same thought.  He was apparently focusing on the ability to steer with ABS but I would have liked to see more discussion about braking distance with and without.  He may have deliberately avoided that topic because it varies so much from car to car and surface to surface.  Perhaps we need a GRM article.

 

 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
10/6/21 12:04 p.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:

The thing that strikes me as being strange about the video is that he talks about being a race car driver and using threshold braking, and then when he's comparing non-ABS cars to ABS ones he just stands on the brakes to lock up the tires.

Yeah, I wanted him to show us that he can out brake the ABS. 

Even top-level, WDC F1 drivers are faster with ABS and Traction Control, so I'm taking his statment and lack of demonstration with a grain of salt. 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
10/6/21 12:40 p.m.
APEowner said:
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:

The thing that strikes me as being strange about the video is that he talks about being a race car driver and using threshold braking, and then when he's comparing non-ABS cars to ABS ones he just stands on the brakes to lock up the tires.

Yeah, I had the same thought.  He was apparently focusing on the ability to steer with ABS but I would have liked to see more discussion about breaking distance with and without.  He may have deliberately avoided that topic because it varies so much from car to car and surface to surface.  Perhaps we need a GRM article.

Yeah, I can appreciate that, as well as the argument that in a panic stop situation on the street it doesn't matter how much race track driving you've done -- your brain just shuts down and you shove the pedal to the floor.  It just seemed strange to go from one statement ("race car driver") to lots of tire smoke without any kind of explanation about why he wasn't using those skills.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
10/6/21 12:46 p.m.

I've stated my dislike of lawyer programmed abs here numerous times.  My Volvo just reminds me I'm going too fast when it turns on.

His accent ground on me rather badly.

I see no reason to believe that the basics have changed in cars since Car&Driver did a test many years ago, where abs was wonderful on dry pavement, and got progressively worse as traction decreased.  It extended stopping distance on ice by a pretty major amount.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
10/6/21 1:57 p.m.

First the video isn't aimed at anyone with track and or autocross experience.

My wife is the one who got me to comprehend that I'm driving well beyond 99.9% of the drivers on the road.

As for ABS in dirt; yeah I find it particularly bad on wash board surfaces; in the past I've pulled the fuse in the dirt.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
10/6/21 2:02 p.m.
Streetwiseguy said:

I see no reason to believe that the basics have changed in cars since Car&Driver did a test many years ago, where abs was wonderful on dry pavement, and got progressively worse as traction decreased.  It extended stopping distance on ice by a pretty major amount.

ABS has definitely improved from where it was 20 years ago.  That said, it is built on the principle that rolling friction is better than sliding friction and if the surface conditions are such that this is no longer true then it's not going to help.

 

Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter)
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
10/6/21 5:12 p.m.

Did not watch the video.

The ABS in my '88 Vette was really good, saved my butt on the race track once.  The ABS on my '98 Jimmy is so bad I pulled the fuse.

outasite
outasite HalfDork
10/6/21 5:58 p.m.

General Motors produced a video explaining the ABS operation on their police cars in 1991. The video was sent out to explain the use of ABS and it's shortcomings to law enforcement personal. The video is still on YouTube.

rluciano
rluciano New Reader
10/6/21 6:47 p.m.

In 1994, I took a BMW driving school at the Nurburgring. We were in M3s. They had a switch on the dashboard to turn off ABS. They taught us that there are things you can do without ABS that you can't do with it. There was a high speed avoidance maneuver, where you lock up briefly, turn the wheel 180º left, come off the brakes and straighten the wheel, then turn 180º right and straighten again. It felt like a miracle. You just jumped around the object in front of you and avoided oncoming traffic (actually a cone.) 

 

They taught us then that threshold braking was faster because ABS reserved some traction in case the driver decided to steer. It feels to me that today's ABS, like on my wife's Mercedes GLE 63S doesn't reserve as much (any) traction for steering unless you are steering.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
10/6/21 10:48 p.m.
rluciano said:

They taught us then that threshold braking was faster because ABS reserved some traction in case the driver decided to steer. It feels to me that today's ABS, like on my wife's Mercedes GLE 63S doesn't reserve as much (any) traction for steering unless you are steering.

I think that was an oversimplification -- ABS doesn't "reserve" traction.  It doesn't actually know what traction is, all it knows is wheel speeds.

Threshold braking used to be better than ABS because the cycle speeds were relatively low and it swung too far in the direction of lockup and release.  That's gotten a lot better since the 90s and the advantage of being able to modulate all four wheels independently makes modern ABS stop the car better than any human driver can in real-world conditions.

 

steronz
steronz Reader
10/7/21 8:16 a.m.
z31maniac said:

Even top-level, WDC F1 drivers are faster with ABS and Traction Control, so I'm taking his statment and lack of demonstration with a grain of salt. 

I've never had a track car with (working) ABS, and while I can see ABS saving drivers who are still learning how to threshhold brake, or who make a mistake in a particular corner, maybe due to track conditions, are drivers regularly relying on ABS in a normal lap?

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
10/7/21 9:46 a.m.
steronz said:
z31maniac said:

Even top-level, WDC F1 drivers are faster with ABS and Traction Control, so I'm taking his statment and lack of demonstration with a grain of salt. 

I've never had a track car with (working) ABS, and while I can see ABS saving drivers who are still learning how to threshhold brake, or who make a mistake in a particular corner, maybe due to track conditions, are drivers regularly relying on ABS in a normal lap?

I wouldn't think so. From guys I used to talk at local/club level, their main reason for wanting ABS was to help from flat spotting expensive Hoosiers if they made a mistake.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
10/7/21 10:04 a.m.
steronz said:

I've never had a track car with (working) ABS, and while I can see ABS saving drivers who are still learning how to threshhold brake, or who make a mistake in a particular corner, maybe due to track conditions, are drivers regularly relying on ABS in a normal lap?

At what level?  In a pro or high-end amateur series where ABS is allowed, absolutely.  It makes the car faster and it makes it more consistent.

Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos)
Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos) MegaDork
10/7/21 2:37 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

As for ABS in dirt; yeah I find it particularly bad on wash board surfaces; in the past I've pulled the fuse in the dirt.

I'm glad I'm not the only one.

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
10/8/21 8:13 a.m.

I agree with many ABS systems falling short on dirt.  A lot also fall short in snow with snow tires, as the amount of wheel slip required to generate maximum braking force (without lockup) is higher than what many ABS systems will allow.  So good threshold braking will stop significantly faster in some situations. Of course, the average driver can't threshold brake well (if at all), and many cars having very low brake pedal effort makes the problem worse. 

jwagner (Forum Supporter)
jwagner (Forum Supporter) Reader
10/9/21 12:38 a.m.

I won't pretend to be an authority on ABS, but I don't think you can lump all ABS systems together.  Newer generations of ABS seem to me to be a vast improvement over the early stuff.  (like NA Miatas...)

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
10/9/21 8:36 a.m.
Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos) said:

While it works fairly well on pavement, the ABS in my 2004 Forester will decide to not apply the brakes much at all if you're on bumpy dirt. 

I have to pull the fuse in order to slow down properly during a rallycross.

The ABS on my S40 was brilliant on dirt or gravel.  I considered it to be a functional driver aid.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
10/9/21 10:16 a.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:
Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos) said:

While it works fairly well on pavement, the ABS in my 2004 Forester will decide to not apply the brakes much at all if you're on bumpy dirt. 

I have to pull the fuse in order to slow down properly during a rallycross.

The ABS on my S40 was brilliant on dirt or gravel.  I considered it to be a functional driver aid.

It wasn't programmed by an American lawyer.

chandler
chandler UltimaDork
10/9/21 11:38 a.m.

I went to the Bridgestone proving grounds a few years back and got to test to identical Kenworth semis; one with ABS and one with it disabled. On the wet skid pad it was amazing how controllable it was with abs under heavy braking and how impossible it was without. I'd never cared much before that but now having seen its strengths in a fan. Oh yeah, and be glad that 80,000# behemoth in the lane next to you has it.

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