Anti-lock Braking systems were developed to reduce skidding and maintain steering control when brakes are used in an emergency situation.

However, cars with anti-lock brakes are up to 65% more likely to be in fatal crashes than cars without them, says a recent US study. It appears that the problem isn’t with the technology, it’s poor driving habits and lack of driver awareness on how the brakes operate. Driver who rely on technology instead of better driving habits to improve safety are driving down a dangerous road.

Since much of the problem stems from lack of awareness of how to use the brakes, education is needed. Here are Manitoba Safety Council tips on operating ABS-equipped cars:

  • In an emergency situation, apply your brakes hard and stay on them. The more pedal chatter the better.
  • Don’t pump your brakes. Pumping is for standard brakes. It completely robs ABS brakes of their effectiveness.
  • Remember that ABS brakes do not help you stop quicker under most conditions. They do help you maintain steering control during braking so you can veer around obstacles.
  • The general rule of thumb is that if you have to avoid an obstacle, veer to the right. This way, you avoid oncoming traffic.
  • Don’t become an over-confident driver because you have ABS. Drive prudently as you always should.

Anti-lock brakes are designed to keep cars from going into a skid when the brakes are applied in an emergency. Designed to allow the driver steering control, ABS brakes work by automatically actuating the brakes on and off during emergency stops. They are effective in helping drivers avoid accidents.