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An anti-lock braking system (ABS) is an automobile safety system that allows the wheels on a motor vehicle to maintain tractive contact with the road surface according to driver inputs while braking, preventing the wheels from locking up (ceasing rotation) and avoiding uncontrolled skidding. It is an automated system that uses the principles ofthreshold braking and cadence braking which were practiced by skillful drivers with previous generation braking systems. It does this at a much faster rate and with better control than a driver could manage.
ABS generally offers improved vehicle control and decreases stopping distances on dry and slippery surfaces; however, on loose gravel or snow-covered surfaces, ABS can significantly increase braking distance, although still improving vehicle control.
Since initial widespread use in production cars, anti-lock braking systems have been improved considerably. Recent versions not only prevent wheel lock under braking, but also electronically control the front-to-rear brake bias. This function, depending on its specific capabilities and implementation, is known as electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), traction control system, emergency brake assist, or electronic stability control (ESC).