The purpose of the anti-lock braking system (ABS) on a vehicle is to prevent skidding on dry, wet, and slippery surfaces. When a vehicle goes into a skid, the driver is essentially unable to steer the vehicle in the desired direction. ABS uses the existing brakes on your vehicle. Therefore, under normal driving, it does not increase or decrease the vehicle’s braking efficiency.
The most efficient braking is just prior to the skid, and is known as threshold braking. ABS is effectively providing you with threshold braking during the entire braking period. This is accomplished by sensors attached to each wheel, which are designed to detect skidding. When a skid is detected, ABS starts to pulsate the brakes very fast (many times per second), which allows the wheels to continue rolling. By preventing a skid, ABS allows you maintain steering control of the vehicle.
If you have never experienced ABS, consider finding a vacant parking lot or a large traffic-free area, where it is safe and quiet to experience it. This way during an emergency situation, you will know what to expect from ABS. When ABS is activated, you may feel a pulsating sensation on the brake pedal and vibrations in the steering wheel. This is normal. Keep your foot firmly on the brake pedal and a firm grip on the steering wheel.