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First ABS now ESC

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by jd, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. Noticed a TAC ad on TV last night encouraging buyers to only buy vehicles fitted with ESC (Electronic Stability Control). Thing that worries me is I'm convinced the increase in ABS as standard has lead to drivers braking later and more aggresively for intersections (in the past locking the brakes once would usually be enough to scare most drivers into rethinking their driving). Now the Government wants cars fitted with computers that prevent a vehicle from over/understeering or otherwise losing control. Sure this may save lives in some situations (especially considering the poor handling of many soft-roaders on the market) - but I also wonder if it's going to lead to driver overconfidence in corners. After all there's only so much ESC can do to keep a vehicle on line and if/when it fails the car's going to go off the road at a much higher speed. The scenario in the ad worries me a little too given that the driver doesn't appear to actually check if the lane beside them is clear before deciding to swerve into it (so bad luck for any vehicles ie motorcycles that may have been trying to pass them at the time). In fact the scenario in the ad doesn't really require ESC to avoid an accident - simply the common sense to know not to sit so close behind a ute with a clearly unsecured load.
    Watch it for yourself here:

  2. You're right, of course.... but not allowed to say it! :p
    Quite a few years ago, there was a small scale experiment with speed controlling in a small city in Sweden (sorry, can't find the details). New drivers (under 20yo or thereabouts) had a crude mechanical limiter fitted to their cars preventing them from exceeding 60kmh.
    What the researchers found was that many of these drivers got into the habit of being habitually on the limiter ALL the time - city streets, shopping centres, approaching intersections, and of course, going around corners! Actually increased the number of accidents. Admittedly the sample was too small to draw proper conclusions, but the behaviour observed was interesting to say the least.
    It doesn't take a genius to work out that if you take responsibility away from people, they will behave without responsibility!
  3. Some valid points there JD although the scenario they chose is a two lane road so in theory there shouldn't be a motorcycle running beside them unless it's overtaking and the driver should've noticed it coming up behind.

    I've noticed in motorsport that the (Porsche) Carrera Cup has gone away from having ABS as the drivers were just jumping on the brakes at the last minute and letting the ABS do all the work taking much of the skill out of it. This was also causing collisions in that the ABS didn't like oil or water on the track and lengthened the braking distance more than non ABS cars.

    My last two cars have had ABS and on my current car I've probably had it kick in three times in 3.5 years of driving it. I have noticed people seem to be harder on brakes but that could also be a result of braking systems being more efficient than they used to be (An oldie like Hornet can probably discuss improvements over the years better than me, he's much older!!)
  4. Yep interesting, disturbing, but not that surprising. The worrying thing is that things like ESC are making cars easier to drive - yet at the same time manufacturers are fitting a greater number of distractions inside the vehicle (ie Sat-nav, ipods, mobiles etc.). So making driving simpler is really only going to provide drivers with a greater opportunity/incentive to focus on things inside the car - rather than the more important stuff outside (like us riders).
  5. Agree completely. Look at how many mroe cars are leaving roads in single car accidents these days, ABS is great, but it DOES NOT increase teh total traction available from all four wheels.
    People seem to forget that to go around a corner needs traction, and slamming on the brakes will reduce that traction (ABS or not), leading to teh all too common sight of late model cars up embankments, over kerbs etc. People seem to think ABS will work on side loaded tyres, it does not measure such a factor, only wheel rotation. Wheel comes close to locking up under side/braking loads, ABS reduces braking pressure, car slides/ veers off road.
    It could also just be me, but I think the number of rear end collisions is way up.
    Stability control will just make teh end that much nastier for most road users, as they plough off teh road at higehr speeds sideways. Stability control usually applies brakes to achieve it's goal, but again, there's only so much traction available..........stability control won't help a car pitched onto two wheels as it clips a roundabout, or is throw into a corner very suddenly and too hard.
    Personally, I've never really needed ABS on the road, I seem to get by with a decent gap, driving skills and proper anticipation of road conditions.
    I feel the same way about ESC, I am the driver, I will decide if and when I want to lock a tyre, or slide one end of the car.
    Yes ESC/ABS makes a car easier to drive, up until teh limit, then it just becomes another hurtling missile, with a frozen idiot behind the wheel, who has even less idea of what to do because it's never happened before in their nanny-cars.

    Regards, Andrew.
  6. hmm, thanks, Paul, I think :? :LOL:

    It's not safety-driven, it's dollar driven. The big advances (disc brakes, injection, air-bags {thanks, you dumb Yanks}, etc), have been made, so now the manufacturers have to sell us something else to keep our interest up. But you can be sure of one thing; as soon as someone does it, every other manufacturer will do it too, because whether it's needed or not, they can't afford to be seen as not falling into line to the great god safety..
  7. I share your concerns. I much prefer to turn ABS off if I can in a car. I suspect it would be the same with ESC. Even in that ad it seems that the ESC brakes much too hard, even if only for a moment. The wheel seems to stop turning all together, which means no steering capability. :shock:

    I used to have a 1994 Mitsubishi Galant V24 with ABS that I couldn't turn off. One of the few times I really needed brakes, crossing a wet road with tram tracks and a rough surface, the damn ABS cut in each time the front wheels touched a tram line. So, four occurances of ABS releasing the brakes. The effect was like trying to stop on ice. If the wheels had locked up the car would have stopped before hitting the vehicle in front of me, as there was plenty of traction between the tram lines. Alas, ABS takes a moment to allow braking again, so I bent a bumper.

    Why can't the authorities recognise the need for better driver (and rider) skills, and then tackle that real problem?
  8. No doubt in my mind that tech like ABS/EBD and ESC has allowed for the loss of "driver skills" by doing the work for us but as for the harder braking issue, isn't also possible that it's because as a society we've become impatient and want everything now and this appears in our impatient/aggressive driving. Watching the caterpillar effect on the freeway on the way home suggests that people just hit the brakes harder because they're hitting the accelerator harder too!!!

    I think headspace has as much to do with it as technology.

    On the TAC note, saw the side air curtain advert last night. I wonder why they don't push the "have you considered an advanced driving course" concept for cars?
  9. Because it's too hard to make legislation to do it.
    Minoroty groups push their barrows "even people who really shouldn't drive should have the right to mobility", civil libertarians do too "everyone is entitled to a licence!", youth groups do it "it's too expensive to get a licence, and we're too poor to pay for real training", senior citizen groupd do it "even the old and dangerous should be allowed to have access to personal transoprt" ,and it's just too hard to screen different personality types off the roads. Governments are too spinless and shortsighted to potentially upset any minority groups these days.
    You also have a significant amount of peole who do not fear the law and punishments metered out for road offences, as witnessed by the relatively huge amount of people who drive drunk, under the influence of drugs, or suspended. (I'm sorry, drink driving is not a minor offence, it's attempted manslaughter).
    Combine that with laws and JUDGES that do not punish bad behaviour on teh roads, and self reporting of medical conditions, and you'll never have safe roads, short of cars riding on tracks and having big springs front and back.
    It's too late to make it harder to get a licence, and harder doesn't just mean more hours with your parents teaching you bad habits.

    And as Paul said, gimmicks sell cars, buyers love safety, no matter how it is packaged. Mums and dads will buy ESC, just as they think buying urban tanks is safer. Fleets will have to buy it, to make the cars more sellable at teh end of leases.
    If they can sell you $300 worth of sensors, wire and a computer to justify a $2k base price hike per unit, they'll do it, just as they have done with A/C, power accesories etc.

    Regards, Andrew.
  10. +1 My wife does!!

    We did the tour of manufacturers when she was upgrading. One of the biggest selling points for her (and me too) on the Megane was the Top Gear Video the salesman showed us (nice work that) of the guys t-boning another car @ 70k/hr. Airbags and seatbelt tensioners go off. Smash grill and headlight.... drive off.
    That plus the build quality and a whole host of smaller things sold her!
  11. I can tell you now, no car drives very far after a Tbone at 70 km/h, so just don't expect it if it happens!

    Regards, Andrew.