ABS brakes Safe or not?

When I had a new 94 Buick it had a ABS problem that was promptly fixed under warranty.
My 2002 also had a ABS problem which was also fixed under warranty.
Anyway the last time I had this problem I insisted on talking to the Buick brake man about it.
The long and the short of it is that he told me the ABS brake system is completely redundant with respect to the primary brake system.
The way he put it is that even if your ABS system has a total failure then you can drive your car as if you had simply bought a non-ABS equipped Buick and is no more or less safe then any other Buick without ABS.
He even had the front office make me a copy of one of his service bulletins from Buick which says as much just to calm my fears.
Thought this would be helpful to someone.
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ABS system preventing wheel lock. The system pulsates brake hydraulic pressure is milliseconds where you can't. If you are experiencing wheel lock, you will not be able to steer or control of your car. The system has been proven again and again that its benefit is clear for in experience driver or winter/wet road conditions. Perhaps you should do a quick research in the net to learn more about the system. While it is clear that if your ABS system failed, you are still have your normal braking system. The light on the dash-board is a reminder to driver to ABS will not engage and driving with caution is required. It is unfortunately that the sensors are not as reliable in this climate. Typical failure is due to corrosion as the sensors is locates just behind the wheels.

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the interaction between the ABS system and the primary brake system as far as ABS system failure is concerned.
I live in Minnesota and can think of at least three times where it probably saved my life.
One time I was approaching a T intersection and tried to stop but there was nothing but glaze ice with a 18 wheeler approaching from my left. The ABS system allowed me enough control to swing off to the left just missing the back end of the trailer and making a soft landing in a snow drift on the other side of the intersection. Otherwise I'm sure we would have slid under the trailer of the truck. After all the truck couldn't stop any better then we could.
If I have a problem with my ABS system I have it fixed as promptly as if I had a complete engine failure. I won't drive in the winter here in Minnesota without it.
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Serial # 19781010 wrote:

I believe there are ABS failure modes that can be a safety hazard, as in pedal to the floor and no braking. The feeling might be similar to a failed master cylinder bypassing except it would not pump up. It must be very rare because you seldom hear of it.
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Al Bundy wrote:

brakes. It also had a pump seal which was prone to failure so when the seal failed the pump would have to run more often and cause the seal to leak more and finally the pump motor would overheat and the ABS and power brakes would no longer function. Many people having never driven a vehicle without power brakes would mistake this for loss of brakes (and even I had difficulty stopping the stupid minivan with it undersized brakes and I've driven vehicles with no power brakes before).
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Paul, perhaps you should do the research.
http://www.hwysafety.org/safety_facts/qanda/antilock.htm
ABS have shown no statistical benefit in reducing accident rates, according the the folks that have the data, the HLDI. I suspect that the same is true for those other idiotic "feel-good" devices such as DRLs.
This explains one reason why you see more car models that used to offer ABS as standard equipment no longer do (added-fee option now). Also, the response to customers...many that had ABS and changed their mind about them and don't want them any more on their next car.

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After checking the link it seems that ABS isn't the issue but the driver. They indicate studies show ABS works on trucks quite well.
I've never had ABS "save me" but it has helped on snow. I know how to handle a slide and slippery conditions. Drove a Boss 302 Mustang through two winters in Michigan :) Sometimes you don't realize it has gotten so slippery and the ABS sort of warns you to back off even more. So does it help in the statistical sense, I don't know. Can it help? Yep.
As far as DRL's... if all people were smart enough to turn on their lights in the proper situation I'd say get rid of them. Since that isn't going to happen why not just have head and tail lights on all the time. Oh, that's right my car does that already (2000 SAAB 9-3)
James C. Reeves wrote:

</pre> <blockquote type="cite"> <pre wrap="">ABS system preventing wheel lock. The system pulsates brake hydraulic pressure is milliseconds where you can't. If you are experiencing wheel lock, you will not be able to steer or control of your car. The system has been proven again and again that its benefit is clear for in experience driver or winter/wet road conditions. Perhaps you should do a quick research in the net to learn more about the system. While it is clear that if your ABS system failed, you are still have your normal braking system. The light on the dash-board is a reminder to driver to ABS will not engage and driving with caution is required. It is unfortunately that the sensors are not as reliable in this climate. Typical failure is due to corrosion as the sensors is locates just behind the wheels.
</pre> </blockquote> <pre wrap=""><!---->
</pre> </blockquote> </body> </html>
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Could be. But drivers are who are operating the vehicles...so are a part of the equasion that can't be removed. So...in essense the driver is part of the "system" that is statistically ineffectual in total. The site does mention that the average driver doesn't use ABS brakes correctly as a *possible* reason...true. But they also mention several other potentially viable *theories* as to why as well. But, they really don't know *conclusively* why ABS hasn't had the expected benefit (actually has had no benefit at all). Any layman's conclusion we come to is just opinion.

Large trucks and trailers...not light duty trucks. Becides, the topic was ABS on automobiles, so irrelivant for the purposes of this discussion. We can start a different thread! :-)

Opinion. If they helped overall, then wouldn't the data show it? There is a difference between perception and reality. If something makes one "feel" more comfortable, is the feeling real or imagined? The data says it's imagined. If the ABS helps you sense a skid, would you not have possibly sensed the skid without ABS anyway? There is no way to answer that conclusively. The results the data shows is all that truly matters...not what any of us "feel" (or what the ABS makes us feel/imagine as having any relivance).
What I do know is that for the experienced driver that knows how to use controlled skidding as a form of directional control, will loose much of that type of control ability when the car is equipped with ABS.

Newsflash...they still don't turn them on (so tail lights are not lit at night...perhaps because of the DRLs...they *think* their headlights are on). So, that reasoning doesn't wash. But, I don't want to go down this path again. Sorry I even mentioned it! :-)

There are studies out there that show that when tail lights are on during the daylight hours, there is a corresponding increase in reaction times to the brake lights...increasing rear end collision rates. The exception seem to be when the tail lights are completely separate units from the brake lights (like on the Volvo). So, that idea very likely a safety-negative solution.
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On Mon, 10 Jan 2005 20:39:43 -0500, "James C. Reeves"

I'm on my 40th year of driving in Minnesota winters. I live in a rural situation where the nearest paved road is 3.5 miles from the beginning of my driveway. My gravel driveway is long and steep with a rise of 90 feet over a distance of 800 feet.
Recently we had a bad ice storm here. It turned my driveway into a bobsled run. You couldn't even get up it on foot. I had to get into town so I took the 4WD, non-ABS, Subaru . Using the Subaru in 4WD in low gear and just inching down I lost control repeatedly and slid sideways. I finally got down my driveway and into town and was doing my shopping a few hours later when I see our ABS Park Ave in the Super market parking lot. I find my Wife in the store and ask her how in the hell she got down the driveway. Her answer was:
"I just did as you told me-hold the brake pedal down and steer the car down the driveway. It made all these funny buzzing sounds as you said it would but getting down was no problem."
It should be said the little Subaru is half the weight of the Buick.
These are the kind of practical day to day experiences that don't ever show up in any database.
An experience winter driver.
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Clearly ABS helps to control the vehicle! I live in Canada where snow and icy road condition few months of the year. Again and again ABS clearly shows an advantage for most of the drivers population.
wrote:

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I hear you guys...but this is anecdotal. So, it still begs the question. If the personal anecdotal experience you relay here can be extrapolated out, then why doesn't the overall data (a.k.a. the facts) show it? The data (many years worth) "clearly shows" no benefit in the final analysis. Why is that?

Actually, the data (which is made up of average drivers) "clearly shows" the opposite. If you have counter information that is credible to dispute the insurance institute's data, please post it. I would be interested in seeing it. But if it's more anecdotal, it's really irrelevant and meaningless. Anyone has contradictory experiences pros and cons in these cases. We can go on forever with this he-said, she-said stuff. The only thing that is real is what is actually happening statistically out there overall.
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James C. Reeves wrote:

--------------060400030506070402090900 Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> <html> <head> <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html;charset=ISO-8859-1"> <title></title> </head> <body text="#000000" bgcolor="#ffffff"> <br> <br> James C. Reeves wrote:<br>
<pre wrap="">&lt;snip&gt; </pre> <blockquote type="cite"> <pre wrap=""> Since that isn't going to happen why not just have head and tail lights on all the time. Oh, that's right my car does that already (2000 SAAB 9-3) </pre> </blockquote> <pre wrap=""><!----> There are studies out there that show that when tail lights are on during the daylight hours, there is a corresponding increase in reaction times to the brake lights...increasing rear end collision rates. The exception seem to be when the tail lights are completely separate units from the brake lights (like on the Volvo). So, that idea very likely a safety-negative solution. </pre> </blockquote> <pre wrap="">interesting ... is there a reference I can peruse</pre> </body> </html>
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On Mon, 10 Jan 2005 16:57:49 -0500, "James C. Reeves"

When I was listening to the news around Christmas a news story mentioned a stretch of highway 401 outside of Toronto Canada passing Cambridge had it's first year without a fatality in nearly 40 years.
They didn't mention lower speeds, or DRL or ABS as the reason. They mentioned strict Seat Belt enforcement and quicker dispatch of Air Ambulances when in doubt.
Having commuted with thousands of others on that stretch of road many mornings at 100+ MPH <shhh don't tell our insurance co's> I can assure you that many highways with adequate visability can be quite safe with our without ABS. However, no Highway will forgive inattentive drivers without seat belts in poorly maintained cars.
Some ABS sensors can come on if a tire is under inflated.
Get the ABS checked out.
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"James C. Reeves" wrote: RE: ABS brakes Safe or not?
ABS have shown no statistical benefit in reducing accident rates, according the the folks that have the data, the HLDI. I suspect that the same is true for those other idiotic "feel-good" devices such as DRLs. ______________________________________________
Modern cars are turned into crash targets by mounting "DRL" lamps with focused-beams close together and low on the front bumper. The close spacing suggests distance, encouraging other drivers to turn into the car's path, and the focused beams annoy or blind oncoming drivers.
DRLs are effective safety devices if they are:
1.) As far apart as possible. Drivers perceive another vehicle as "Close" or "Distant" according to its size. That's why they will pull out in front of a compact car but not in front of a semi truck. Wider DRL spacing promotes this subliminal sense of larger size.
2.) As high as possible. Eye level brake lights introduced on the Olds Toronado significantly reduced rear-end collisions, and are now used extensively. DRL recognition can only benefit from higher placement.
Other desirable features; DRLs should be 3.) as large as possible, to enhance the sense of closeness, and should 4.) emit non-focused (diffused light), to prevent interfering with the vision of other drivers.
Spacing and size matter. Intensity does not. The best compromise now is to continuously operate the low beam headlights.
Wendy & John _______________________________________________________
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ABS helps to control the car during braking. So it is up the driver to take control of their vehicle while ABS is engaging. It is easy said than done because we are in panic mode and natural reaction is to hold the pedal to the floor and hope for the best. Experience drivers understand the concept and can use this ABS option more effective than other. Following too close at high speed or sudden braking with ABS system does not reduce stopping distance. A good test would be on snow with and without ABS.

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That claim has been registered with the NHTSA with some studies as backup. Hopefully that will be a consideration taken when drafting their final rule on the matter.

That has been claimed and backed up with studies on file at the NHTSA. Hopefully they will take this into consideration also when drafting their final rule.

I disagree with height...unless the DRLs extinguishes automatically when stopped (so they aren't frying your retnas through the rear-view mirrors from the vehicle pulled up close behind you at a stoplight. When DRLs shine over your trunk lid height...they are extremely distracting/glaring. Glare and being too high are the largest concerns registered with the NHTSA.

Makes sense...except the "desirable" part. ;-) There's nothing desirable about unnecessary headache-causing light pollution. Having less focused "beams" would make them more tolarable for those on the road that are light sensative.

Except maybe the efficiency issue...fuel used to power a lamp that shines 90% of its light produced down below horizontal and onto the road surface during the day when that isn't at all necessary. A properly designed DRL with the correctly designed reflective optics would use 10%-20% of the power a low-beam lamp would use to perform the same function.

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There are times when ABS does things a human cannot do, such apply maximum braking force to any combination of wheels. An expert driver without ABS has only has one pedal to modulate which controls all four wheels simultaneously. If the left side of the vehicle is on dry pavement while the right side is on an oil slick (or gravel, wet grass, black ice, etc.), the expert driver can modulate the breaks to prevent lockup on the slippery side, but at the same time they are applying almost no braking to the left side of the vehicle with traction, thereby greatly increasing stopping distances. With ABS, if they simply stand on the brakes, the ABS system will apply maximum braking to the wheels with better traction, thereby minimizing stopping distances and of course maintaining some steering control.
Personally, I don't care whether a vehicle I drive has ABS or not. I'm comfortable and familiar with how to drive a vehicle with or without it. However, if I have a choice, I will choose ABS. I can't say that it's ever saved my life, but it has kept me from flat-spotting an expensive set of tires during a few standing-brake-pedal stops.
As to whether a failure in the ABS system can affect the basic hydraulic braking system, that depends on the type of ABS system in use and what specific failure has occured. Most ABS systems will fail in a mode that won't affect the normal braking system, but there are a few rare exceptions.
Roger

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