“About anti-lock brakes”

     Someone recently mentioned to me they wished they didn't have anti-lock brakes on their vehicle.  Among his complaints was the “buzzing” sound they make.  I thought I would offer my thoughts and experience about anti-locks.  First of all, most of us who are over about 30 probably have had more than one vehicle which had the old style brakes.  On icy,  snow packed, loose graveled, or wet roads you simply went out of control when you braked hard if you did not “pump” them.  Even pumping your brakes is no where near as effective as the modern anti-lock systems. 

I had a hard time breaking myself of the habit of trying to pump anti-locks during police driving training because on the first few models before recent improvements you could feel a strong push back from the brake pedal when the system activated and then there was the buzzing noise.  It is best to just push the pedal down and hold it there.  The brakes vibrate many times a second but do not lock the wheels so you are able to steer and not go out of control.  I don't recommend you try this on a public road but you can actually “stand” on anti-lock brakes at a high speed and steer around obstacles while the vehicle is slowing on pavement.   Ice and snow is a different story but you can slow much faster by just letting the anti-locks do their job.  This definetely takes some getting used to. 

If you have reservations about how anti-locks work it would be good to practice trying to stop on snow or ice when it is safe to do so at a safe speed.  It is not a natural thing to hold the pedal down when it pushes back and the “buzzing” noise kicks in.  This is normal.   When safe to do so it might be good to practice so that if and when you do need to stop quickly you will allow your anti-locks to do their job.  I personally think they are the best improvement in vehicle safety that has come along.  Use them to their full benefit and you may avoid a crash one day.....

Trooper Duane Johnson #280

Oklahoma Highway Patrol