Do ABS brakes stop cars faster?

Do ABS brakes stop a car faster (in a shorter distance) than just locking up your brakes as cars used to do?

Yes they do. On nearly every surface. There are exceptions, however in deep snow and gravel.

Yes, a little, but the real benefit to ABS imo is they allow the driver to remain in better control of the vehicle in rapid stop situations.

My thought is they do not always stop faster, but they do stop more safely.

Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Depends on the road surface and also the design of the ABS systems. The 1980s era GM Pickups, Surburbans and full size vans were horrible and sometimes prevented you from stopping at all.

The only real advantage I can see with them is that you can still steer while using them.

Oh boy, this is an old topic that could get heated. I think they are most helpful for inexperienced drivers in adverse weather so they can just slam on the brakes and not think about it. For myself though I’ve found sometimes its more advantageous to skid a little with the car going a little sideways, then maneuver around what it was you were trying to miss. Even though the theory is that the wheels are still turning and allowing steering, some times you need to generate a little momentum.

Not necessarily faster, but certainly STRAIGHTER. That’s the reason for having them, to stop safer.

I think that everyone is missing the point of the original reason for the development of ABS. When one’s brakes are locked, it is impossible to steer around obstacles and it is also not possible to alter the car’s course.

In a situation where one is trying to avoid a collision, being able to steer the car, in addition to applying maximum braking force, is extremely important. With ABS, you can steer your car while applying maximum braking. Without ABS, you are just going to continue straight ahead. You might hit something, or you might not, but the chances of hitting something–by not being able to steer–are greatly increased when you don’t have ABS.

And, for the folks who claim that they can pump their brakes just as fast as ABS can do, I have yet to see anyone who is capable of pumping his/her brakes 15 times per second.


What @VDCdriver said, plus ABS allows anyone to brake effectively with just about zero training: “push as hard as you can and steer” is all they need to know. Without ABS it’s “pump the brakes, but not too hard and not too soft, not too quick and not too slow, etc., etc, etc…”.

Even someone who knows how to pump brakes in a panic situation emotions will take over and your mind will tell you to push harder on brake pedal .

On dry pavement in a straight line? Sometimes yes and sometimes no, depending on the vehicle.

When turning and swerving? Yes.

In low traction conditions such as water, ice, or snow? Yes, every time.

…and that’s why I wish my car had brake controls like those on my motorcycle, where I have linked ABS braking. Pressing the brake pedal applies the front and rear brakes with an ABS system, but the hand brake applies additional front braking, so being able to apply additional braking in the front allows for the shortest stopping distance in a straight line.

…not if you’ve practiced the maneuver.

…and I’ve never seen anyone claim they could pump the brakes faster than an ABS system. I have, however, seen people claim they were better at braking for the shortest stopping distance than an ABS system on dry pavement in a straight line because they had practiced finding the point right before the wheels lock and sustaining that amount of braking.

I’ve seen people use ABS in a straight line and heard a slight squeal from the tires as the ABS pumped, but in the one emergency situation where I used ABS, I never heard that sound, and felt as though I could have stopped in a shorter distance without ABS because the system stayed too far from the threshold where the wheels lock.

About 10 years ago, I worked at a junkyard and one summerday the boss and I got a brainfart. We wanted to see whom of us could beat an abs system. 1 test run with abs from 70 km/h, measure stopping distance, that was the distance to beat. 10 runs each same car with disabled abs. Boss never beat it but got close a few times (to be fair, he was 62 at that time snd didn’t drive much). I beat the abs 4 times - with inches, Lost 6 times - with feets if not yards.
Is ABS brakes worth the money? Absolutely.
Was it fun to test? Absolutely.

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Yes. ABS was one of the first computer controlled safety features that allowed people lacking basic driving skills to “safely” operate vehicles. Followed by adaptive cruise control, traction/stability control, lane departure warning, collision avoidance automatic braking, and I’m sure others I am not aware of. Sometimes I wonder how these “drivers” would deal with a tire blowout on the interstate. Slam on the brakes? Let Jesus take the wheel?