Really? Then you are a fool if you think you can do a better job than Audi ABS
brakes. Take one of the schools I suggested. They will test you with and
without abs. I guarantee you can not do several of the exercises in the school
without using abs. You'd crash - but not burn, thankfully. They'll have you
do one of the exercises with abs. If you can match the same results *without*
abs, you should be driving professionally, not wasting your time on this ng.
No, still not buying it, not for real world average driving shlubs in
real world situations. My wife is driving a new Mazda with ABS and it
freaks her out every time. Differentiate between scientifically minded
drivers like you an me and the average Jane or Joe.
Perhaps I should be driving professionally. If ABS were defeatable on
this A4, I'm certain I could outperform it every time.
ABS is simply too counter-intuitive. It is unbearably unnatural. Of
all the mechanical devices ever invented, clearly the automobile is a
contrivance that most intimately exists as an extension of the
mind/body complex. save that of a instrument such as the violin. ABS
short circuits that relationship in an intensely artificial fashion.
Braking and steering with ABS can be more easily learned than braking,
opening the brakes at the exactly right time, steering clear of the
obstacle and reapplying the brakes.
I can just tell from seeing 20 people in handling training that all 20
were just having a much easier time keeping their car under control.
These handling courses are closed circuits on which you don't go fast
but they have wet, slippery surfaces, water walls, simulated
surprising obstacles, braking uphill and downhill and, most
interestingly different friction coefficients on the left and right
side of the vehicle.
I had the chance to try an Audi 80 (non quattro) at that time with the
ABS on/off switch. On this specific course with the slippery
roadsurface under the right wheels and the standard surface under the
left wheels the difference was remarkable.
With the ABS off, you had to brake hard. On the slippery side the
tires would lock and the car would veer off course, starting a spin,
because braking would only be performed on the "dry side". So you had
to open the brakes, adjust direction and then slam on the brakes
again. A very delicate procedure.
With ABS "on" the car just stayed on course and you could brake for
the whole time.
I consider myself an average driver with some additional training on
cars and reasonable track experience on supersport motorcycles (no ABS
there ;-)). Still, using the same car, at the same time on absolutely
comparable surfaces with the same driver and the same starting speed
(~80 km/h) I stopped the car at least two lengths earlier using ABS.
And with much less work on the wheel and the brakes, I can assure you.
You could hold the car straight with just one finger on the wheel
while with the ABS off you had to really work hard.
Again, it's the ability to control the car all the time which gives
the big advantage.
_All_ participants of the training course claimed that their next car
would have ABS. And if they would have to decide between ABS and air
condition (price wise) it would be the first.
Then just pull the fuse and do so? Or get a car without ABS?
* Audi A6 Avant TDI *
* reply to wolfgang dot pawlinetz at chello dot at *
Good post, Wolfgang. At the school I used to help teach, one of the demos done
by an instructor to emphasize abs advantage was to drive the car down the track
at 60mph. With two tires (right side) on the grass or dirt and the other two
(left side) on blacktop, the instructor would *jump* on the brakes as hard as
he could, and then remove his hands from the steering wheel. The car *always*
came to a straight stop. Try that *without* abs and I'll guarantee the average
driver without any racing/driving school will lose control. The demo was done
not to illustrate how easily the car stopped, but to visualize what was
happening on the right side (less traction side) during the emergency stop. At
every revolution of the right front wheel you could see the "hesitation" just
before lock-up. There would be little piles of dirt (a couple of inches long)
or the grass would be up-rooted for a couple of inches.
ddhartwick's problems with it is probably typical of anyone who does not know
what abs is capable of doing. What you intuitively do when braking with
non-abs is to try not to lock them up (if you know how to do it), while what
you do in an abs car is simply jump on the brakes as hard as you can - don't
modulate or pump them. They will take what they need to stop the car.
Once again, I invite hartwick to take a school that teaches abs vs non-abs
braking. None are so blind as to refuse to see. Such a school will open his
eyes and more than likely save his wife from a bad accident. He may think he
can beat abs in an emergency, but the only way to tell is to do it
You're correct, Dave, that in *most* unusual, low, or (side-to-side)
differing traction situations you can name, ABS will save your butt. OTOH,
you should know as well as I do that it's not all *that* hard to outbrake it
on a regular dry surface. I know I can (admittedly, not by a lot).
However, *most* of our driving is on exactly that type of surface, so *most
of the time*, I can outbrake an equivalent ABS-equipped car. Then, there's
the other extreme of surfaces where it's particulate like snow, sand, or
gravel where piling up a bit of the crud in front of your wheels is the
fastest way to stop. This is where I miss the switch in my older Audis.
For the *average* driver, I totally agree with you. ABS effectively gets
them *pretty close* to threshold braking - but it's not, nor is it quite *as
good as* actual threshold braking. We both know that. We also both know
that, if conditions are anything other than ideal, the *accomplished* driver
will understand and appreciate what ABS can do. I think this is our
original poster's problem. He just isn't used to it yet and he hasn't quite
figured out that the STOP sign he 'ABSed' through was one he was going to
*slide* through anyway with his wheels locked.
I agree. I've also done it. I don't think that the original poster knows how
to do either, however. He has simply made up his mind that abs sucks, while
you and I know it doesn't.
Yeah, but that is only in deep snow. On a plowed surface, I'll go with abs.
When Joanne and I used to rally, we had Audis with an abs switch to turn it off
while on dirt/gravel roads. Which reminds me: when I was invited to review
the first Corvette with ABS, they had jury rigged an on/off toggle switch on
the center console. I did a couple of exercises that required threshold
braking and steering. It was much easier (no brainer) with the abs on. It
could be done (by many) without the abs, but abs made several new friends on
that day, especially those who failed ("crashed") the exercise without abs.
them if they tried it, they said they "didn't know". I convinced several to
take their cars on a out-of-the-way road on a rainy day and jump on the brakes.
Again, it was an eye-opener. Most said they took pressure off of the brake
pedal when they heard the brakes and felt the kick-back on the brake pedal. Of
course when they actually felt the abs under an emergency condition, they knew
enough *not* to take their foot off of the brake.
I believe it was the Ohio State Police that had several accidents when they
first equipped themselves with abs Chevys, maybe even a fatality. They
contacted GM and claimed their brakes weren't working properly. Again, it was
lack of training, lack of "what to expect", when applying abs in an emergency.
I think it good advice to those reading these words to experience exactly what
happens when abs is employed. Experience it safely off on some side road so
that you will know what to expect when you experience them in an emergency.
Also note that you can steer during full braking. You *can* steer away from
hitting the guy in front of you.
It's also worth bearing in mind that the early systems would often release
all four wheels if all locked at the same time.
I've had it happen on a Rover [Sterling] 400, and it wasn't very pleasant.
(An idiot shot a red light and came at me on the wrong side of the read).
IIRC system fitted to BMWs simply kept all four wheels locked (not as
effective as working ABS, but a helluva lot better than having to fully
release the pedal and try again..)
Modern systems are much better, and EBD gets around the reaction of a driver
unfamiliar with the system (although, on my TT, it did appear to generate a
little lateral instability when I tested it)
Is Hairy thinking of the system (pioneered by MB?) and called something
like Electronic (or Emergency?) Brake Assist, which attempts to
determine the level of panic when pressing the brake pedal and, above a
certain level, automatically applies maximum braking effort?
Peter Bell (Note Spamtrap - To reply, replace 'invalid' with 'bellfamily')
Thanks, Peter - precisely that (Electronic Brake Distribution)
It sharply ramps the braking force (with ABS engaged), just in case the
driver gets hesitant. It is entirely unrelated to the pressure valve used to
prevent the rear wheels locking before the fronts (thereby inducing a spin.
And, believe me, that's perfectly feasible - I had a nasty tank-slapper once
on a new Citroen with a "pre-failed" unit). It's also the reason why, if one
only buys two tyres, they should always go on the back, rather than the
front. Oversteer can be fun. Reversing into a tree at high speed is
expensive, at very best ;o)
Back to the TT: this also gives a slewing motion as each wheel adjusts to
the local surface conditions under its own tyre. I wouldn't like to even try
and steer in any particular direction when it's activated, ABS or not! It's
enough to keep it in a straight line.
Probably less obvious on a car with a greater length:width ratio.
TBH, I've no idea how much /actual/ road movement it induces, but the
acceleration /feels/ significant - akin to an unexpected breakaway on a
Exactly--fatal accidents due to ABS. It is not unreasonable to assume
that psychological factors--lack of knowledge, startle factor, lack of
intuitively correct feel, etc., probably greatly overwhelms ABS
advantages that are only theoretical unless in the hands of guys like
Aditionally, How often do people brake AND steer around the car their
about to crash into? Some do, I do, many don't.
I do know how to threshold brake, fwiw, but you guys are obviously
more skilled and knowledgeable than I.
Finally--I must stress that I hope you're right, that ABS is superior.
I don't want to own a car that has permanently crippled brakes.
In all honesty, I find it somewhat sad that technology has taken-over from
Not (unfortunately) that I'm complaining.
With EBD, a number of car manufacturers have realised that it's a tiny
minority that understand ABS "might" be have advantages. Most, I submit,
simply consider it "a better mousetrap".
Whilst it's a better talking-point for us car nuts, I think most of use
would agree that the sort of "arrghh! What's happening, better stamp on the
brakes!" tailgater is better off with ABS. From a purely selfish point of
Heck, let's - the rest of us - keep talking. F'instance - how do people find
EBC Greenstuff pads, and how do they work with standard vs. aftermarket
discs? (There's a reason for asking.. ;o)
Your wife shouldn't feel her ABS unless the tires were entering a state
of skidding. THAT would have really freaked her out. The first few
times you feel the noise/pedal feedback it can be disconcerting, but it
is better than the alternative. I think you're overestimating the
traction of your tires when you think you could beat the ABS. RE950's
have an agressive tread pattern and appear to have no siping. Not good
for snow. All weather/all-season is a joke of a classification. I've
driven on RE92's (all-season) that weren't awful when new, but got
noticably worse each winter. Those were replaced by Dunlop A2's (all
season) that were much better in dry and wet. However, in the snow they
were barely divable the first winter. The second winter, they were sled
runners. I swear i would have been better off with racing slicks. My
wife has an accord and has had various Michelin tires on her car. All
have had considerable siping for an all-season and they were the best
all-seasons i have driven in the snow. Having said that, we both have
dedicated snow tires now and they are head and shoulders above the best
all-seasons. If you want to stay with an all-season tire, try to find
one with a more suitable tread pattern than the RE950's. If you want to
know what works well in the snow, look at a snow tire. Block tread
pattern, siping everywhere!
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