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back to article The moment a computer crash nearly caused my car crash

I very nearly had a terrible car accident: my car almost left me stranded on the tracks of my city's light rail transit. The short version of the story is that my car started acting up, of all times, as I was on the way to the mechanic for an oil change. “Acting up” in this case meant refusing to go above 20kph (12.4mph) for …

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It's a straight trade-off as I see it, between the number of casualties/fatalities/near misses that used to occur in cars without all the extra safety equipment, versus the same criteria when considering cars fitted with all the safety gear.

I personally think we should go back to dumb cars and improve the practical driving test.

(You don't need ABS/Traction Control/Lane Departure Warning, if you're driving correctly)

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Stop

ABS is pretty handy, I can't manage the same barking distances without ABS, certainly not in the kind of situations where I actually need to slow down quickly.

(I've never owned a car with ABS mind, just driven a few)

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Anonymous Coward

> I can't manage the same barking distances

Get a bigger dog?

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I think the point of the OP was that if you need ABS, you're driving too fast / close in the first place anyway. Driving skill and common sense trumps technology any time.

That said, ABS *can* outperform a top driver in braking, but not by much, and certainly not on certain surfaces (which it has no way to detect, like gravel). But then, so would just driving slightly slower.

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@Lee Dowling

"if you need ABS, you're driving too fast / close in the first place anyway"

You've obviously never driven onto a patch of black ice and felt the ABS kick in to prevent you from gliding at 5 mph into the van in front of you who has just stopped to let someone out.

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@b166er

Agreed, if I might add -Take away the seat belts, air bags and whatever, then fit solid metal dashboards with sharp edges and stuff - then you will see people slow down and take care of themselves and others on the roads. In effect - Keep it Simple.

Otherwise we remain cocooned in all this needless gubbins and divorced from the real job in hand - driving with due care and attention.

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Devil

I beg to differ

Traction control - definitely. If you drive sanely you do not need it. The failure described in the article is a classic traction control blooper. I used to have a car with VSA (aka traction control + selective breaking) and I hated it. It was of no use in really slippery situations and it sucked royally in marginal ones - unpredictable acceleration, etc. I am now back to proper "fully manual" fleet and it is a welcome change (especially at this time of the year).

Lane departure warning - definitely. WATCH THE F*** ROAD YOU F*** TWIT!!! If you cannot watch the road you do not belong on it.

ABS - I beg to differ. A well behaved ABS tends to kick in only in emergency situations and is of no consequence to normal driving. If you have gone as far as ABS usually you are in emergency stop mode. While emergency stop is something that is being tested and exercised for the practical driving test it is not something that is practiced regularly. If you drive normally you end up doing it once every 6k+ miles (if not 10k) so you are guaranteed to be a bit rusty on it. There is nothing wrong with some judicious assistance on that. I have had it kick in all in all 3 times in the last year or so and each time it was right, proper, needed and appreciated.

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On ice, ABS generally performs no better than a skilled driver. If you don't know how to drive in icy conditions, you probably shouldn't drive on them. For a start, you should NOT be gliding into the vans in front of you (insufficient braking distance, ice or not, ask your insurers) especially if you know to release and reapply the brakes repeatedly in the absence of ABS (in the way everyone was taught to before ABS became standard - but DON'T try it on an ABS car unless you're in gravel or loose earth, where ABS fails miserably) rather than hold it down and hope for the best. Hell, even with ABS usually the best path is to not lock the wheels if you can help it but steer gently away. This pumping or ABS only allows the wheel to regain traction which you can then use to slow yourself further until the wheel skids again. ABS does nothing more than this, it just does it for you and slightly faster.

And, actually, I've hit black ice on motorways several times and watched everyone else careen off the road because they weren't watching in front where all the other cars did the same and either glided to a halt behind them (and ABS cars make a horrible grinding feel when you do that on such a surface) or driven calmly past them while holding the steering wheel for dear life. It's not fun, but it's also not entirely unpreventable in most circumstances.

Spot loss of control of vehicle, release throttle, MAYBE apply brake (depends on circumstances), MAYBE pump brake (depends on car and circumstances), steer ever-so-gently. But ice doesn't magically form on roads with no warning of outside temperatures - I'm not saying you'll *see* it but you're expected to take notice of the possibility of it.

Now, if you'd said "oil spill", I'd be much more inclined to agree with you.

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ABS

only used it a few times - there are 2 lights that flash on my dashboard 1 for ABS and 1 for traction control. Both times were emergency braking situations, I still did my usual hard pump then softer sharper pumps to avoid skidding but the ABS kicked in anyway.

TC was on perpetually last year in the ice and snow - I was quite impressed by it to be honest.

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Everybody thinks that they are...

...Lewis Hamilton. Not everybody is a skilled driver, not everybody knows how to steer into a skid. And as for ABS, suppose a kid runs out into the street? Not your fault, but I'd be willing to bet that ABS will do a better job than most people here.

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Not ABS

ABS and TC are different things. And neither of them will work on ice cos you got no traction to start with.

What is described in the article is classic oversensitive TC. The conditions seem to have been fairly poor as there was ice on the road at least in one place - the TC should have been turned off because in these conditions it is not just useless - it will work against you and can be a positive danger. What is needed is TC always off below 30.

Learn about your equipment before you use it.

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Stop

ABS

doesn't actually do much to stopping distances really, it helps you keep control of the car by attempting to prevent the wheels locking up. If at all possible you should try and steer around the obstruction, rarely possible I know.

You do tend to see people lock up quite a lot though, they stamp on the brakes and hope for the best because they panic.

Much like the lady in the brand new golf that slammed in to the back of me yesterday.....

Stop, because she didn't..

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Headmaster

ABS

For those that are unaware. The purpose of ABS is not to improve straight-line braking, but to provide the driver a measure of steering control while breaking in an emergency situation. The fact that it can improve braking for the average driver in slippery conditions is a bonus.

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Anonymous Coward

Bollox to ABS!

Don't talk to me about ABS! I've just shelled out £1100 to have replaced a piece of electro-hydraulics associated with the ABS and traction control system I've never needed to use and, with careful driving should never have to. It wasn't even classed as "show stopping safety" so you might reasonably ask 'Why did you do it?'. 'Cos my wife uses the car more than me and I value her life very highly.

The added technology, without doubt, saves lives and improves drivability for some but at what capital, maintenance and fuel cost to the majority? The biggest safety aid not fitted to cars is a large red-coloured foam rubber spike located in the centre of the steering wheel. A pointed reminder to drive safely.

I'd pay good money to have most of these safety features on the options list so I could select to delete them.

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Unhappy

@ Lee Dowling

"For a start, you should NOT be gliding into the vans in front of you (insufficient braking distance, ice or not, ask your insurers)."

Lee, these are UK drivers we're talking about. La Royaume de Jeremy Clarkson. Appeals to reason, safety, legality, morality, insurance liability, sense of shame, responsibility, caring for others' or one's own wellbeing, or any other sense of the boundaries of sanity and proper behaviour - are all useless.

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Raz
Megaphone

@ phuzz Thursday 15th December 2011 11:22 GM

ABS will not make you stop (a lot) sooner. It will "only" allow you to keep the car under control and not wildly spin around.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't know if ABS would have made a difference to my car accident but I wasn't driving at excessive speed for the conditions. Other safety features--seat-belts, airbags, and crumple zones--worked as advertised. ABS should pay off in that OMG-stop! situation.

Something such as traction control seems far less significant. It could be dangerous, even, since it makes it easier to be going too fast in marginal conditions.

I used to drive a Series III Land Rover. No fancy electronics. And the four-wheel drive could get you into some tricky situations. It didn't make the brakes any better.

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Devil

Not all cars have a TC off button you know.

Not all cars have a TC off button you know. I can think of at least one major make which had dispensed with the TC off button on their major model lines.

The fact that you and me agree that this is a criminally stupid idea does not mean that 10%+ (more for fleet cars) out there are not from said manufacturer.

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Vic
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> [ABS] doesn't actually do much to stopping distances really

Oh yes it does.

A skilled driver who knows about cadence braking may be able to get fairly close to the stopping distance of an ABS system. But very few drivers are that skilled.

What usually happens in an emergency situation is that the driver sticks his hoof on the pedal and locks up most or all wheels. The car then carries on with little or no retardation.

The difference between a car with ABS and one without in such a situation has to be seen to be believed...

Vic.

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Vic
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> The purpose of ABS is not to improve straight-line braking

Yes it is. It's an Anti-lock system. Locked wheels provide almost no retardation.

That it also permits you to steer is a bonus - but that may not be the best way out of the situation (depending on how badly you've fucked up in the first place).

Vic.

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Stop

Don't forget:

On many modern cars, the ABS replaces the brake proportioning valve. This stops the rear brakes receiving too much pressure. If they have full load, the back end can lock up and put you in a spin.

These used to be physical devices which limited pressure.

These days (I'm led to believe) the ABS system takes care of that.

If you've not got it - fine. If you've got it, but it's broken, it could be dangerous.

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@b166er

OK so you are the greatest driver in the world and you don't need ABS.

Come back when you have been rear ended by someone who isn't the greatest driver in the world because you took their ABS away and then argue your case again.

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Anonymous Coward

@Oliver Mayes

ABS doesn't work on ice.

This is why you will see many people on the first snowy day of the year driving into the hedges, with their brake lights on, completely unaware that their braking is actually causing the skid to persist.

I largely trust my cars computers... though I did hit a puddle on the apex of a corner once, causing quite a nasty understeer, which I actually caught... then the traction control kicked in, causing it to grip and snap into lift off oversteer. Wasn't really all that impressed with the safety system at that point in time.

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Boffin

In otherwords

Very possible; just drive cars from the 60's and 70's.

When there were far fewer cars, generally not traveling as far or as fast and when much more people died on the roads.

In otherwords, the safety mod-cons work. And work well.

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Vic
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> ABS doesn't work on ice.

Yes it does.

ABS is an Anti-lock Braking System. It releases the brakes when the wheel is locked. Even on ice. Which means it works on ice.

What it is *not* is a Magic Braking System. If the friction is not there between your tyres and the surface, no amount of electrickery is going to help.

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

> That said, ABS *can* outperform a top driver in braking, but not by much...

But surely the point/purpose of ABS is that it can easily outperform an "average" or "typical" driver.

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Vic
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> the ABS replaces the brake proportioning valve.

Not on any car I've ever looked at. It would be a serious mistake.

The ABS system is designed to disable itself in the event of any failure (e.g. a few iron filings on the sensor). It would be madness to design a braking system that is seriously compromised in the event of an ABS shutdown.

Vic.

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WTF?

OMG

I can't beleive that in this day and age there is still so much ignorance surrounding ABS...

It does not stop you faster in a straight line - in fact it increases the distance from stopping without locking the wheels in the first place. It works by releasing and reapplying the brakes when the wheels stop turning so that you still have control over your car to (as a couple of others have said) to steer around the obstacle rather than careening into the back of it.

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.

And in my experience it fails on ice... It does 'work' but it doesn't slow you down as the grip just isn't there before you start. Using winter tyres (not an option in the UK due to the stupid insurance companies I know) has a much bigger impact on stopping distances in wintery conditions than the ABS.

And no I don't think I am Dancia Patrick, and yes I have had the front end of my car saved on one occasion by the ABS kicking in and allowing me to keep control. But it isn't something I try to rely on!

I think the saftey systems on modern cars are great (look at the falling death rates on the roads) but people do need to realise that it is not an excuse to drive 1m from the car in front...

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Avoid ABS when you think you need it the most

On dry asphalt, ABS is marvelous. I would be very surprised if any driver (regardless of how skilled he thinks he is) could match it in any way.

On snow and ice... It only helps in those situations where you are too lazy to take your foot off the brakes so you can use the steering wheel.

The thing is that you want to lock the wheels on snow, because this increases your chances of digging the wheels deeper so they eventually touch the road surface. Plowing up snow in front of the wheels also helps.

ABS tries to mimic this by allowing the wheels to lock a bit, but the prime directive is to allow the driver the opportunity to steer the car.

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WTF?

F*ck That!

How the hell am I going to make it home in time to watch Beavis and Butthead while I'm hauling ass down the highway at 110km/hr in a 30 if I don't have the safety features.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to drive a car without all the computers when I have my girlfriend on my iPhone and I'm trying to watch the GPS on the console?

I used to have far more problems driving... things like traffic rules and laws that would force me to go slow or yield the right of way to people from the right and shit like that... but then I bought an Audi and am now exempt from those. If I can see the round-about, then I have the right of way now!

Thanks to ABS, I didn't even spill my coffee on mr. happy while I was steering with my knees and talking on the phone with m girl friends sister (who I might add has been much sweeter to me since I go the Audi)... it would have been embarrassing showing up at her place, having burned the whole reason I went to visit in the first place.

ABS is a necessity! Now stop talking this crap about driving safer... just pull out of my way.

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FAIL

Most people misunderstand how ABS works. It is designed to allow the driver to maintain steering control during braking. It does not significantly, if at all, reduce stopping distances and won't stop you ploughing into the back of the car you were tailgating at 90mph (even though people were shown to drive closer in ABS-equipped cars, before all new cars were so fitted).

Conversely, people who learned to drive without ABS don't use it properly. The technique should be to brake as hard as possible, and keep braking, while attempting to steer away from the collision. Instead, people modulate their braking and won't brake and steer at the same time, which is sensible without ABS but negates the benefits of the system if you do have it.

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Anonymous Coward

Erm...no. That is a terrifying way to drive. Braking in corners at the edge of the car's performance envelope is very dangerous. Please stop!!! I am sick to fricking death of seeing M3s, Audis and the like pitch into corners, try to brake in them and watching them go all squirrelly.

DO NOT BRAKE WHILE MAKING ANYTHING MORE THAN THE MOST MINOR OF DIRECTION CHANGES!

If turning to avoid a hazard in an emergency situation, the brakes should not be applied at the time, as it restricts your car's grip levels and ability to turn: If you have an evasive path you should follow it as your primary action, any extra braking should not really be of benefit, or should be secondary in import to making that evasion route and maintaining the car's balance. If there is a way of driving out of the problem, then impeding your car's poise to do so is the wrong thing to do. Alternatively, if there is not a way out of the situation, then you need maximum braking effort rather than compramising grip levels by turning, and you need to present your crumple zones and crash protection to the hazard by hitting it head-on, rather than risking going in broadside.

It doesn't matter if you have ABS or not, as regards tyre loading. A tyre can only hold so much load before slipping or locking. ABS does not change that. Tyres can either brake at maximum efficiency or corner effectively. If you ask them to do both at once, the car will skid. Specifically, the front outside will give way, followed by other corners, as the tyres are overloaded.

Granted: ABS acts to allow changes of direction while braking, but it's still grossly sub-optimal and the act of a panicked or unskilled driver, and not the thing that drivers should be educated to do. Steer OR Brake. Simply lift off the brake for a half-second, allow the car to regain front-back balance, make the direction change, allow the car to regain side-to-side balance, then reapply braking efforts. It's far, far safer and better driving.

Stop braking and turning, because it's blisteringly stupid. If this annoys you because you think you know better: Tough. Go and ask a traffic policeman or anyone who does track days. Because at present, you are a danger to ME!

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WTF?

ABS most certainly does 'work' on ice, because it does what it is supposed to do: Unlocks the brakes when they lock. That is most certainly not the problem. The problem is that road tyres and car braking systems do not 'work' properly on ice because of the lower friction. The problem is not ABS: The problem is between the steering wheel and the back of the seat in the driver travelling too fast for the conditions, or not braking early enough.

People crash a lot on ice because they assume that just because modern cars have traction and/or ABS, they can still brake freely. 4x4 drivers are dreadful for assuming that AWD means that they can somehow magically stop just as quickly on ice and regularly tailgate in such conditions. ABS does not change the friction co-efficient of ice. That is not it's job.

A major part of the problem is both not understanding the technology and what it can and cannot do, and not understanding the road conditions.

The time when ABS *is* an issue is at low speed on snow. At very low speed (eg 5mph) locking the brakes allows a pile of snow to form in front of the wheel which helps the car stop. ABS does not do that.

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Gold badge

Vic, ABS implementations are not always sane..

The principle behind ABS is PREVENTING brake action for a split second, then re-assert friction when the wheel starts rotating again. There is a mild problem with that in modern car electronics: researchers have already demonstrated remote hacks of car electronics that COMPLETELY DISABLED THE BRAKES - do a search and you'll find it.

Insane, I know. Sadly very, very true :(.

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Vic
Silver badge

> 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*.

Vic.

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@Rune

"On dry asphalt, ABS is marvelous. I would be very surprised if any driver (regardless of how skilled he thinks he is) could match it in any way."

Really? I think it's pretty simple. I Just don't jam the pedal all the way down. By stopping just short of the skid-point, I get maximum braking ability. ABS is not, and never has been maximum braking ability. The clue's in the operation. It kicks in when the wheels lock. When the wheels lock, you have REDUCED braking force. So when it starts kicking in, you're already behind the curve.

I believe the Michigan State Police experimented with the ABS system during their annual police vehicle tests one year. A braking test is one of the tests they do, and on a non-ABS brakeing, they average about 29ft/s/s deceleration. ABS gives about 23 iirc, which isn't upto the spec they require, which is 24.

The point of ABS is to prevent wheels from STAYING locked into a skid when braking, so that you have steering ability, just as you would if you hadn't caused a lockup to begin with. ABS isn't there to improve braking, but to help with drivers panicking.

Personally, I can't stand it. The one vehicle I had with it, I disabled it. It was a pain. If the wheels lock, it's because I wanted them to. Same vehicle had traction control. It was turned off when the ignition was turned on.

Something really funny though is that 2 years ago, I went to visit a friend who lives on a Mountain in Georgia. It's actually a suburban mountain, just on the edge of Marietta (where the Lockheed Martin plant is, Blackjack mountain is on the flightpath). Anyway, it was snowing. I drove up that place, then had to turn around and drive up the other side, because at the top was a 14 car pile up (with 3 news teams and a news chopper overhead). Every car in the pileup had ABS, most had TC (it's a posh area). Me? I was driving a 20yo american boat (Lumina) which not only had neither, but was a slushbox as well.

ABS/TC are just to make incompetent drivers slightly less dangerous to the rest of us.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes and no. The purpose is to prevent the wheels staying locked up, as they would if the driver panicked and over-applied them. If the wheels don't lock the ABS system makes *no* difference to braking distance... well, apart from the extra couple of cm you'll travel, due to having to retard a slightly greater mass, but that's being pedantic.

Granted; cadence braking and an alert, skilled driver will *slightly* outperform ABS braking if there is a lock-up, but that's not the target audience. But there's no point skilled drivers getting arrogant about it and discarding ABS as a concept for them 'because they're too good to use it': I'm into my track days and motorsport, but would still favour ABS on any high performance road car which I intended driving in excess of normal parameters, because there are times when I'm *not* 100% on the game, and might lock the brakes. In that situation, the ABS is a boon.

In short: Even if you ARE Jenson Button... sometimes you're just not concentrating and alert enough to prevent the mistake and to cadence brake properly.

More to the point, what stood out to me in this article was why on EARTH did the author drive over a railway crossing in a car that was evidently malfunctioning and delivering power erratically. This is a blisteringly stupid thing to do! Never mind about 'remember to turn the electronics off if your car does something silly', how about 'remember not to do incredibly risky things in a car behaving erratically'?

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@CheesyTheClown You're a loser. You should always, always text the girl in advance - best while you're coming round that roundabout. Use the next roundabout to check if your teeth are properly clean - Audis also have a mirror in the driver side sun shield..

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WTF?

@Vic - please re-read my post...

>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.

That's exactly what I was saying!!!!!! ABS releases the brakes to allow the wheels to rotate, this allows them to regain tracktion. Then the brakes are reapplied until they lock again. Repeat as required. The same as with manual cadence braking, just much, much faster than a human can achieve. Obviously skidding to a stop takes longer than using ABS, but then braking just short of the the point of where the ABS is needed will be better still as your brakes will never be released (at that point you are not slowing down as your brakes are not applied).

>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

I beleive that I said ABS had saved the front end on my car. I'm human (last time I chekced) so yes I make mistakes.

>Even imagining that ABS might generate grip that isn't there shows just how little you understand the technology.

Again, that is exactly what I was saying. When you try to stop on sheet ice the ABS works perfectly, but the the grip just an't there for it to be efective. And this can happen even at tiny speeds. I never said it would generate grip. In fact I said exactly the opposite.

What I said is that correct winter tyres help more in the winter than relying on ABS to stop you...

So yes, I do have an inderstanding of how it works, and I also know that if I ever use it (not often) then it means I have put myself into a stupid situation where I've had to jam the brakes on too hard.

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Anonymous Coward

Vic; I think you're being a bit pedantic. It makes no difference to straight-line braking at all if you do not lock the wheels. That covers 99% of braking situations.

If you're not a skilled driver and lock the brakes, or are a skilled driver who for some reason is not on the ball, then you are correct that it will make a difference.

However, cadence braking is not a skill limited to F1 drivers and would not see you signed to any motorsport team. It is simply a part of competent driving skills.

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Anonymous Coward

I can only assume that the 'thumbs down' was placed there by one of the afor-mentioned AWD-owners, who has no idea how their vehicle actually operates, nor how to safely drive in icy conditions...

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Vic
Silver badge

> researchers have already demonstrated remote hacks of car electronics

> that COMPLETELY DISABLED THE BRAKES

Reference?

> do a search and you'll find it.

I did a search and found nothing of the sort. Perhaps you'd like to show me what I missed.

Vic.

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Vic
Silver badge

>>This *dramatically* shortens the stopping distance.

>

> That's exactly what I was saying!!!!!!

Nope. What you said was :

>> It does not stop you faster in a straight line

And it does.

> then braking just short of the the point of where the ABS is needed will be better still

You have that sort of control, do you? With wheels on different surfaces?

Maximum retardation depends somewhat on the tyre in question, but for most tyres, it is achieved when the tyre is *just* starting to slip. And that''s what you get from ABS.

Vic.

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Vic
Silver badge

> I believe the Michigan State Police experimented with the ABS system

> during their annual police vehicle tests one year.

Perhaps you'd like to give a reference for that; the only MSP info I can find shows ABS-equipped vehicles performing very well, with the sole exception of the Harley Davidsons in the 2007 test. This is hardly a surprise for anyone that's seen a Harley, and nothing to do with ABS...

Vic.

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Vic
Silver badge

> cadence braking is not a skill limited to F1 drivers

No, it isn't.

> and would not see you signed to any motorsport team.

It would if you managed to beat the ABS. Go on - actually *try* it.

> It is simply a part of competent driving skills.

You are unable to adjust the position of your foot on the pedal as rapidly as a modern ABS system does. You just don't have the hardware - humans aren't built that way.

So although a very good driver can get close to the performance of ABS, the rest of us are a long way behind it.

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

crappy testing

But what were you doing crossing a rail line with a car exhibiting unknown errors ?

You're a sysadmin. Would you leave a server in production that was reducing it's performance to a crawl for no apparent reason ?

A computer in a car is just another component. Would you have blamed the brake manufacturer if you had driven on with faulty braking for just a few more blocks ?

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"But what were you doing crossing a rail line with a car exhibiting unknown errors ?"

If you read the blog, the answer was "driving to the dealership to get the car looked at"

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Bronze badge

For an *UNRELATED* problem (i.e. oil change).

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would you stay in a burning house while waiting for the fire brigade?

This is exactly why we have breakdown services. When a vehicle becomes a risk to its occupants and the people around it then it should be removed from the road.

What if a train had hit the car, many people could have died. The second things started becoming dangerous he should have stopped and called whoever he is covered by. Not covered, face the costs! Don't risk my friends and families lives because you want to save a buck!

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Bronze badge

More importantly - think how would you explain it to a police officer (which is always a good exercise in "Should I be doing this?").

"Sorry, officer, I know the car has a fault and even have a garage appointment for it, but I thought I'd drive it there, across 20 blocks of public roads in the ice, knowing it has a fault rather than get a tow truck out."

I doubt a grieving family would be any more sympathetic to that answer, either.

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