The anti-lock braking system (ABS) allows the wheels on your vehicles to maintain contact with the road while you are braking. Furthermore, it prevents them from seizing up in uncontrolled skidding. ABS does not decrease stopping distances on both slippery and dry surfaces, though. On snowy or gravel covered surfaces, ABS improves vehicle control but increases the braking distance.
Here are some things to know about ABS safety:
The ABS Light does a self-test every time you turn on the ignition. Once you start your vehicle, the light will come on just for a second and if the computer finds a problem, the light will stay on. If you notice the light flash immediately after starting the vehicle, then it's just your vehicle doing a self-check.
If the warning light comes on while you are driving, it means the ABS is not working properly. Your normal brakes will work, but the anti-lock brakes will not. If the light remains on, you need to have a mechanic diagnose the ABS Light issue as soon as possible. Since the ABS helps with vehicle control and stopping distances, it is an important safety feature of your vehicle.
If both the ABS and Brake System Light come on at the same time, your vehicle is no longer safe to drive. This means there is a serious problem with the braking system, and continuing to drive puts yourself and others at risk of a car accident.
As you are driving and your ABS is engaged, you will notice the brake pedal pulsating. This is completely normal and it means the ABS system is working normally. The ABS works with your braking system to creating this pulsating so the wheels do not lockup. Once you feel this pulsating, keep your foot on the brake pedal as the ABS system will do the work for you. All you need to do is concentrate on steering safely.
Driving with the ABS Light on is not a good idea because it means your ABS is not working properly. This means your vehicle may not handle like it normally does. If both your ABS Light and Brake System Light come on, this is an emergency and you need to stop driving right away. Have your entire brake system inspected by a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic.