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What is ABS and Why is it Necessary?

By Team ManAndMotor - 15-02-2021 11:20 AM

Even for a skilled driver, unforeseen trouble can get in the way sometimes. Attempting to avoid such approaching collision or danger on the road ahead, one may find themselves pressing the brake heftily.

This is where the anti-lock braking system (ABS) comes in. It prevents the wheels from locking up and helps the rider maintain grip with the road below.


The History of ABS

ABS was originally introduced as an anti-skid system for aircrafts in the 1950s. In the 1970s, Ford and Chrysler proved that it can also be used in cars and later it was used in bikes as well. Anti-lock braking systems are now present in all modern vehicles sold across the globe.

Let us understand the How ABS work? How effective it is? And some common misconceptions related to ABS.

How does it work?

ABS is part of an overall stability system, commonly known as electronic stability control, which monitors wheels under heavy braking. Each wheel has a sensor attached to it. If the sensors detect the wheel is about to lock up and stop moving, the system releases the brake. The release is only for a moment, then ABS takes over as it continuously applies equal braking pressure to each wheel, it means the system will brake just enough to avoid the locking of the wheels.

When ABS is active, a rider may feel pulsation through the brake pedal as you’re pressing it. The anti-lock system helps the rider remain in control of the vehicle rather than bringing the bike to a stop.


ABS in India & Abroad

ABS is an essential safety feature which should be present in all vehicles. Outside India, in Most Countries ABS is mandatory Safety Feature installed in all vehicles. Until Recently, In India, many automobile manufacturers provide optional ABS for an extra price. Even newer models did not have pre-installed ABS. This has changed though; in Recent times the government of India had made ABS feature mandatory in all the vehicles.


The Purpose and effectiveness of it?

The primary purpose of ABS is to allow riders to have directional control over their vehicle after heavy braking.

In support of the effectiveness of ABS, it has been associated with:

  • a 35% decrease in frontal collisions on wet roads, and;

  • a 9% decrease in frontal impacts on dry roads.

A decrease in frontal collisions suggest that ABS allows Riders to steer the vehicle safely in order to avoid a collision.

In addition, under controlled test conditions:

  • 58% of Riders without ABS strayed from their intended path after braking;

  • only 24% of Riders with ABS did the same.


ABS reduces the risk of skidding of a Vehicle, when undertaking multiple evasive manoeuvres, due to the ABS Action, although, the Vehicle braking distance may increase, the vehicle will stop safely. If the Vehicle keeps on moving straight into an obstacle, the vehicle may not stop in time even if your instincts dictate otherwise. It’s a common misconception that ABS helps in reducing stopping distance, rather It manages to control the speed which might lead to the abrupt press of brakes.


How To Use ABS Effectively

On a vehicle without ABS, if a Rider steers the wheel sharply out of instinct to avoid a collision, nothing good can come out from this action, as control is lost when the wheels lock up. However, the addition of ABS controls the Vehicle, in such a way, which could lead to other dangerous situations like road collisions, or rollovers. Riders with ABS should continue to steer as calmly as possible. The ABS will take care of the rest.

It’s worth keeping in mind that ABS work best on solid stable surfaces, and your experience on ice, snow or gravel can be different.


ABS in Motorcycles/Two Wheelers

Under emergency braking situation in dry conditions, ABS works very well in averting the rear wheel from lifting up, preventing an inadvertent stoppie and putting the rider in better control.

In wet, slippery conditions, a bike with ABS would offer way more traction and control than one without the system. Braking under an ABS System feels linear with abruption. You can feel mild pulsations on the brake lever as the hydraulic system controls brake pressure – this works as a warning of sorts if you’re pushing the braking limits of the motorcycle.




Is motorcycle/Two Wheeler ABS different from Car ABS?

ABS in both cars and two-wheelers work on the same basic principle. However, as you would imagine, for a car, a wheel locking up would mean the vehicle skidding and losing steering control to an extent, still being balanced on its four wheels.

However, for a two-wheeler, a lock-up of wheels, especially the front unit, would mean a complete loss of steering control, which make a two wheeler fall, it leads to dangerous circumstances from a road safety perspective.

Most modern cars with ABS have the system installed on all four wheels. However, ABS in two-wheelers, especially in cost-conscious markets such as India, is offered with options of a single, or dual channel system, wherein the former gets an ABS system, only for the front wheel, while the latter gets the ABS for the rear wheel too. The Safer option is off course Dual Channel as it spreads out the stopping power evenly through both wheels.

Is it necessary to have ABS in your vehicle?

The answer is yes . Yes, because it gives you an added advantage to steer your vehicle properly and avoid sudden braking which might damage your vehicle as well as lead to a major accident.

An electronically controlled Braking system would be Helpful in emergency braking situations which has a high possibility of occurring in Indian Road Conditions.

However, if you are planning to buy one, we highly recommend you to go for a vehicle with ABS as a safety measure.

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