Last week, we explained the difference between 4WD and AWD and you probably realised that many of the technologies we referred to are available in both cars and bakkies. So let us explain ABS and some other abbreviations.
ABS: ABS is part of the car’s electronic stability control (ESC). This technology will prevent your vehicle’s wheels from locking up during emergency or hard braking, thus preventing total loss of traction. ABS allows you some control, though. If you step on the brakes, you will feel a vibrator-like action under foot – that is your ABS working. With brakes not locking up totally, you will still have some steering control.
Does ABS shorten stopping distances? I could not find clarity on this. Some believe it does and others believe otherwise. The fact is, it was not designed with shortening stopping distances in mind at all. It was designed to prevent wheel lock-up and allow some steering control during hard braking.
EBD: Electronic brakeforce distribution distributes the braking power to all four wheels simultaneously as per the power required at each wheel and it works in conjunction with ABS.
AEB: Autonomous emergency braking is another technological wonder. When it senses an imminent collision and the driver is not responding to an early warning, it will apply the brakes so as to prevent a collision. AEB is activated by radars sensing the distance to the car in front of you and will then react if there is a sudden shortening of that distance.
HSC: Hill Descent Control is mostly found in 4WD and some AWD vehicles. It will allow for a smooth descending down a steep hill and often without any input from the driver. It will also control each wheel individually. Some systems will allow the driver to set the maximum downhill speed depending on the gradient of the downhill.
HAC: Hill-Start Assist Control, on the other hand, allows easier and safer pulling off against a hill by holding the vehicle, just for a short time, to allow the driver to move his/her foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator.