Get Streetwise About Auto Safety Features

Get Streetwise About Auto Safety Features bb3 Nov 21, 2013

By Staff Writer

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A comprehensive study recently released by Canada's Traffic Injury Research Foundation contains some surprising statistics. Although nearly three-fourths of Canadian drivers understand the function of anti-lock braking systems and almost 50 per cent are familiar with traction control, far fewer respondents were familiar with four other common safety features—features specifically designed to improve a car's performance and prevent accidents.

Brush up on the benefits of your vehicle's important safety components with this summary plus a review of your vehicle's operating manual. (If you can't unearth your original manual, you can go online and download a copy.)

  • Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
    When a driver slams on the brakes, an ABS prevents wheel lock-up and loss of steering control by applying pulsed pressure to each individual brake line.

  • Electronic Brake Assist (EBA)
    By interpreting the speed and force with which the brake pedal is pushed, an EBA system automatically activates maximum braking pressure—then the ABS takes control and stops the wheels from locking up.

  • Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBFD or EBD)
    As a car's weight shifts forward during a sudden stop, an EBFD unit minimizes skidding by applying varying pressure to the brake pedals.

  • Electronic Brake Override (EBO)
    As one of the newest vehicle safety improvements, EBO systems are gaining in popularity because of their ability to help prevent uncontrolled acceleration and avoid high-speed crashes.

  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
    If your car starts to swerve or fishtail, an ESC system can help correct the vehicle's course by instantaneously braking the individual wheel (or wheels) and reducing engine power, this will help get the car back on track.

  • Traction Control (TC)
    If one wheel spins much faster than the others, a TC sensor engages the anti-lock brake system to reduce that wheel's speed and increase traction. Some traction control systems also have the ability to temporarily reduce engine power to help eliminate wheel spin regardless of the throttle inputs being provided by the vehicle operator.