ESC or the Electronic Stability Control of a vehicle is part of the cars computer system that can improve the safety of the vehicle. The system works by detecting a skid and helping to minimize it. When the system feels the car losing control, it senses it and applies the brakes in order to move or "steer" the car where the driver is wants it to go.
When the electronic stability control of the vehicle is engaged, the system will apply the braking to each separate tire, determining if it needs to counter the over steer or under steer at certain parts of the car.
When a car is being driven normally, the electronic stability control monitors the steering and direction of the vehicle. The computer system will compare the intended direction of the driver by using the measurement of the steering wheel angle with the actual direction the car is going, by using the rotation of the vehicle as well as the lateral acceleration and the speed of the wheel.
The electronic stability control is only engaged when it senses the likely loss of control with steering. For example, it detects that the car is not going in the direction that the driver is steering it towards. This could happen for a number of reasons, such as swerving to miss an animal or another vehicle, skidding in slippery road conditions, or hydroplaning during a storm.
There may be times when the ESC intervenes with driving when it should not as sometimes steering is not indicative of the direction being traveled. When the ESC is initiated it will apply pressure to the brakes by estimating the direction of the skid and putting pressure on the tires of the car individually to create torque. This torque will oppose the skid and bring the car into the position the driver intended.
The ESC system will react much faster than any human could and there are times when it may become engaged before the driver is aware of the loss of control of the vehicle. The system will work on any type of surface that you may drive on.
Is it Effective?
There have been many studies conducted around the world that have shown the electronic stability control system to be extremely effective at helping the driver maintain control during a skid or other loss of control of the vehicle. The system helps save lives by reducing the severity of crashes.
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Commission (NHTSA) conducted studies that concluded with the electronic stability control system actually reduces accidents by around 35%. The study also found that an SUV that is equipped with the computer system has 67% less accidents than SUVs that do not have this type of system.
Overall, the electronic stability control has been described as one of the most important safety features of the car. In fact, in order to be considered for the Top Safety Pick award a vehicle must have electronic stability control available as an option.
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