Anti-lock brakes

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Updated: 3/28/2003 1:53 pm
If you slam on your brakes to stop your car in an emergency situation, they can lock up and cause you to lose control of your steering. Anti-lock brakes are designed to prevent your wheels from locking up during a panic stop, especially in adverse weather conditions like ice, snow, and rain. This system also helps you maintain steering control so you can stop the car where you want to and avoid spinning out of control. With steering control, you may also be able to direct your car around hazards if a complete stop can't be accomplished in time. Basically, this system does exactly the same thing drivers would do if they pumped the brakes. The only difference is that anti-lock brakes are controlled by a computer chip that can pump the brakes much quicker than a person can. Consequently, don't attempt to pump your brakes in a car equipped with the anti-lock brakes, as doing so will defeat the system. Just hold your foot firmly on the brake pedal and steer the car to safety. If you do decide to buy a car that comes with anti-lock brakes, it's a good idea to practice using them on a vacant parking lot on a wet or snowy day so you get a general idea of what to expect when an emergency situation occurs. When used properly, an anti-lock brake system can be safe and effective.

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