Stops wheels locking to prevent skidding

A shot of the rear brake light on a Volkswagen

All Volkswagens are fitted with an anti-lock braking systems to stop you losing control of your car and help prevent accidents.

Skidding is one of the major causes of accidents. It tends to happen in an emergency when the driver brakes heavily on a slippery road surface or in a bid to avoid an obstacle. The wheels lock and the car skids out of control. But our anti-lock braking system stops skids by giving you more control of the wheel while braking hard. That means you can stop, or steer round an obstacle.

In the past, the only way to stop wheels locking and avoid skidding was to 'cadence brake'- applying and releasing the brake quickly to prevent prolonged wheel lock and maintain control of the car.

Thanks to ABS, we can now brake far more safely, making cadence braking unnecessary. Using advanced electronics, ABS detects when a wheel is about to lock - and automatically releases and reapplies the brakes to prevent a skid.

With ordinary brakes, if the front wheels lock, they will not follow the steered path, so no matter how hard you turn your steering wheel, nothing happens. That's when you lose control of your car. But ABS prevents the wheels from locking, so you can steer to safety.

How it works?

The ABS control unit uses wheel speed sensors to monitor the turning speed of each wheel. If it detects a wheel is about to lock, a solenoid valve in the system's central control element reduces the brake pressure at the wheel until it starts to turn freely again. Pressure is then increased to the safe threshold again - with the process repeated several times per second. So your car slows down, stays stable and can still be steered.

Brake Assist

The most common cause of a rear-end collision is that, although some drivers react quickly, they don't press the brake pedal down hard enough. As a result, the car is not slowed as much as it could be and the risk of an accident increases. Our brake assist system helps the driver by increasing braking power and reducing stopping distance considerably.

The system recognises you want to make an emergency stop by how fast you press the brake pedal down. It increases braking pressure hydraulically via the ABS/ESP unit. When you lift your foot off the brake, the system reduces pressure. So, although the system is working hard to keep you safe and avoid an accident, you'll hardly notice it happening.

Please refer to your Volkswagen Owner's manual for official guidance on use and operation of all our technology.

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