Use Those Brakes for Goodness’ Sake

absMany people simply don’t realize the amazing capability of ABS (antilock braking systems). Most drivers aren’t comfortable pushing a car to its limits; in an emergency they’d even rather run into something. But if you haven’t practiced a full-on ABS stop, you might smash into an easily avoidable obstacle because you don’t know that you can avoid it.

So learn to tap the full power of ABS, “stomp, stay, steer.” First, stomp—hard—on the brake pedal. Second, stay—again, hard—on the pedal. Ignore nasty sounds and the pulsations from pedal. You are not hurting the car.

Finally, steer around the obstacle. The wonder of ABS is that it allows turning while braking, a skill that takes race drivers (who aren’t driving with ABS) years to develop. Just remember that a little steering goes a long way: One big problem with ABS is that drivers turn the wheel too much and then release the pedal before centering the steering. Do this while the vehicle is still moving and it will dart into either oncoming traffic or a roadside ditch.

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