This is an excellent road safety question and one that many people are confused about.
Most vehicles are equipped with Antilock Brake Systems (ABS), however, that wasn’t always the case. Many of us learned to drive without the assistance of ABS and therefore, we learned that in times of emergencies when you have to slam on your brakes you must pump the brakes to keep them from locking up which results in skidding and loss of control of the vehicle.
In short, ABS adds an extra layer of safety to your vehicle’s brakes which, when used properly, prevents skidding and reduces stopping distance during hard braking on wet and icy streets. However, if you are not using the ABS properly, you will not be getting its benefits.
The main purpose of ABS it to prevent your brakes from locking up resulting in loss of control at times when you must stop quickly. Essentially, the system pumps the brakes automatically for you, preventing them from locking up.
Therefore, according to the experts:
- You do not have to pump your brakes. In fact, if you pump them while braking hard, you will lose the benefits of the ABS.
- During emergency hard braking, apply firm pressure to the brake pedal; do not take your foot off the brake until your vehicle comes to a full stop. Essentially, brake and steer.
- When the ABS is working, you may notice vibrations/pulsations on your brake pedal and a grinding sound. This is normal and signs that the ABS is engaged.
Warning: ABS does not mean that it is safer to speed, tailgate, or drive unsafely.
Note: If your ABS is not working or you do not have ABS, you must pump your brakes like in the olden days.
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