> I can't beleive that in this day and age there is still so much ignorance surrounding ABS...
I would concur with that.
> It does not stop you faster in a straight line
Yes it does.
Go to a skid pan and try it - make sure you know which fuse to pull before you get there.
If you're a *very* good driver, you'll get reasonably close to the ABS stopping distance (but not beat it). And you'll get signed by McLaren. We mere mortals go a lot further.
> in fact it increases the distance from stopping without locking the wheels in the first place.
If you don't lock your wheels, your ABS system does *nothing at all*. It doesn't make any difference whatsoever to an unlocked wheel. So your stopping distance, if you don't lock the wheels, is absolutely 100% identical.
If, however, you *do* lock the wheels, then the ABS does something: it unlocks the wheel. This means that you can get some retardation from the wheel, rather than just sliding across the road. This *dramatically* shortens the stopping distance.
> Learning how your car reacts on different road surfaces and knowing how hard to hit the
> brakes in an emergency will improive your stopping distances.
Perhaps. But ABS isn't there for when you do everything completely right - it's there to pick up the pieces when you make a mistake. Have you ever made a mistake? I certainly have.
> And in my experience it fails on ice...
That is because you fundamentally do not understand what ABS does.
> It does 'work' but it doesn't slow you down as the grip just isn't there before you start.
Even imagining that ABS might generate grip that isn't there shows just how little you understand the technology.
Please - go to a skid pan and *learn*.