If you’re driving a newer model car, you’ve probably got some pretty advanced technology sitting in there. This technology is designed to potentially save your life when things get awry on the road. Keep on reading to find out what you need to know about your car’s technology to get the full benefit from it.
Electronic Stability Control
Imagine being in the helpless situation of losing control of your vehicle. You’re sliding due to black ice, running over wet leaves and losing traction, or driving through deep water. You may want to hand the wheel to someone else right when it starts to happen, but the reality is that you have to navigate your own way out of it. That’s where electronic stability control (ESC) can save you.
When ESC activates, your brakes are applied only to the correct wheels that will get you back on your intended path. There are some caveats, however. ESC can’t operate outside the laws of physics, and it can’t make up for big user errors, such as challenging fate by setting out with worn tires or going over the speed limit in dangerous conditions. However, if your car is still in good condition, and you’re driving safely, ESC can be your hero and help to save your life. The government gives credit to ESC for over 2,200 lives saved in a 3-year timeframe.
If you’re expecting ESC to be on your side in these dangerous situations of winter, you should check to see if your car even has it. In the middle of the 90s, ESC was starting to be put into higher-end cars. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2006, a third of vehicles had ESC. Government laws require over half of vehicle manufacturers to have ESC after September of 2008. In 2012, pickup trucks and SUVs were also required to have it.
When turning on your car, you may see a light that says "ESC." Before the name was standardized, ESC may have been called ESP, VSC, DSC, or VDC.
You should know that ESC is not the same as traction control. The latter is designed to keep the wheels from spinning while you are accelerating on slick roads. This system is different from ESC, and your vehicle may contain both. Many cars have the option to turn off traction control, but you probably won’t be able to turn off ESC.
The Three S’s of Anti-Lock Brakes
Utilizing your car’s ABS is pretty simple when you remember the 3 S’s — stomp, stay, and steer. First, stomp down the brakes. Next, stay in that position, leaving your foot firmly on the brake pedal, and then steer your vehicle to get yourself back on track. After ingraining those three words in your mind, you can safely navigate your way out of many situations.
Practicing these skills will only help when a real situation arises and you have to use them; therefore, head to a large, vacant parking lot to practice these skills at a low speed.
Statistics from the mid 90s show that over half of vehicles were equipped with ABS. You’ll usually find a light for ABS on your dash, and if you have ESC, you probably have ABS as well.
ABS, ESC, and CMS Lead to Increased Safety
When ABS and ESC are used in conjunction with a collision management system (CMS), driver safety goes up. A CMS system is designed to put pressure on the brakes when data show that an accident might be coming. You’ll hear a different name for it from manufacturer to manufacturer, but it doesn’t require much work from you. All you’ve got to do is ensure your tires are in good shape and drive safely for the given conditions. And remember, never text and drive!
The CMS works by using sonar, radar, or lasers to calculate the distance between you and someone in front of you. Thus, the ABS will become activated if your car determines a crash may occur, reducing your speed.
You can find out more about driving on the road safely and how to utilize your car’s technology by enrolling in a defensive driving course. Talk to us today to enroll in the next program!