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ABS break system

I drive a 1998 Mercedes SLK230. Recently I was rear-ended when I breaked hard to avoid a head-on collision. I avoided the collision but after I was hit from the rear the car kept on rolling even though I had my foot on the breaks. I suspect that the ABS activated to prevent my breaks from locking but if there had been a pedestrian ahead of me instead of a car, I might have run him over. The breaks work fine. Is this an ABS shortcoming or a malfunction?


Certainly have the brakes checked. ABS does not act that way. ABS pulses the brakes quickly in slippery conditions. You would have felt the pulses if it activated.

ABS works by maintaining directional control while giving up some stopping power.  The stopping distance is slightly increased, but under most conditions that is more than worth the increased directional control. 

 It would be interesting to know how you know your brakes did not lock up?  

 In any case I repeat it would be wise to have your brakes fully checked out.  BTW when was the last time you had the brake fluid changed?

I will have the brakes checked and the fluid changed. Since the car rolled I did not think that the brakes were locked. Thanks.

I respectfully disagree with Joseph on this one.

ABS brakes, in their quest to prevent loss of control, do prevent lockup, which is exactly your complaint. In the situation you describe where wheel lockup would be preferable, ABS exhibits one of its weaknesses. It was doing exactly what it was designed to do.

Contrary to popular belief ABS is not intended to shorten stopping distances. It’s intended to enable you to better maintain control.