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Posts Tagged ‘electronic stability control’

New Ford Focus Anticipates Spin-Outs

Compact model predicts problems before they occur.

by on Feb.09, 2015

Ford adopts a new version of electronic stability control when it launches the 2016 Focus.

Anyone who has had to face driving on snowy roads this winter knows what can happen when you hit a patch of black ice, especially when you’re going into a corner or trying to stop.

Ford Motor Co. claims to be launching a new version of electronic stability control that not only intervenes once a car begins to spin, but which “can predict a spin before it even begins.“

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“By recognizing scenarios that can lead to a potential loss of driver control before oversteer has developed, the enhanced transitional stability system is setting the recovery process in motion quicker than ever before – resulting in smoother, more refined control,” says David Messih, Brake Controls manager, Ford North America.


Electronic Stability Control Systems Saving Thousands of Lives

“We know the technology will save even more lives,” says US safety chief.

by on Nov.30, 2012

The 2013 Honda Civic update adds rollover airbags to the car's electronic stability control technology.

Breakthrough technology designed to prevent vehicle rollovers and other serious accidents has saved an estimated 2,200 lives over the last three years, according to the nation’s top vehicle safety regulator.

A federal rule mandating the use of electronic stability control was enacted in April 2007 and following a four-year phase-in, every vehicle sold since September 1, 2011 has had to use the technology which is often known as ESC, ESP or electronic stability program.

The technology is intended to help vehicles avoid skids and other accidents and has proven particularly effective at preventing rollovers, the government indicates.

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“NHTSA research has consistently shown ESC systems are especially effective in helping a driver maintain vehicle control and avoid some of the most dangerous types of crashes on the highway, including deadly vehicle rollover situations or in keeping drivers from completely running off the roadway,” said Administrator David Strickland of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

As many as 10,000 Americans die in rollover crashes annually, even though rollovers occur in just 3% of highway accidents.


Stability Control Systems Yielding Dramatic Drop in SUV Death Rate

Sport-utes now safer than passenger cars thanks to anti-skid, anti-rollover technology.

by on Jun.09, 2011

A new study finds that with the increased use of anti-rollover technology SUVs now have a lower death rate than comparable passenger cars.

Your odds of dying or being seriously injured in the crash of an SUV – especially a rollover accident – has dropped sharply in recent years, according to a new report by an insurance industry trade group that gives much of the credit to the electronic stability control systems that are now becoming standard equipment.

While many motorists tend to view big sport-utility vehicles as a safe option because they sit higher, offer broader visibility over traffic – and have plenty of sheet metal surrounding the passenger compartment – utes have traditionally had higher death rates than comparably-sized sedans and coupes.  The big problem has been rollovers, which are far more common in truck-based vehicles, and which are responsible for a significant share of SUV deaths and injuries.

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But the situation has reversed itself now that a large and growing number of sport-utility vehicles come equipped with electronic stability control, a technology designed to help maintain control in poor driving conditions or when a driver makes an error like over-accelerating into a corner.  Most of the digitially controlled ESC systems used in trucks add software to minimize the risk of rollovers.

“The rollover risk in SUVs used to outweigh their size/weight advantage, but that’s no longer the case,” thanks to electronic stability control, or ESC, said Anne McCartt, the senior vice president for research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “Pound for pound, SUVs have lower death rates.”


AWD or Stability Control: Which Is More Important?

Stability control may be the most important auto safety technology in a generation, but there's still a place for AWD.

by on Dec.16, 2010

Subaru's WRX STi puts its power to all four wheels.

The day after this week’s blizzard, a co-worker asked if I had driven my all-wheel-drive Subaru or the 2011 Buick Regal I happened to be testing.

AWD traction would seem to be a big advantage, and considering that I have a 55-mile commute, I’ll take all the advantages I can get.

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But the Subaru is a 10-year-old warrior, so, while it does have anti-lock brakes, it doesn’t have the latest safety devices such as traction control or stability control. So, even thought the Regal puts power down through its front wheels only, I’ll take the modern car in most circumstances over the older one, even if it is driving all four wheels.

Traction control and stability control are that important. In the old days, you wanted a limited-slip differential to keep the wheel with the least amount of traction from spinning. But traction control effectively replaces the limited slip, in many respects. By selectively braking the wheel with the least traction, the wheel that can get the best bite gets some of the power.

Consumer Reports Rescinds Lexus “Don’t Buy”

Lexus GS 460 passes retest of electronic stability control.

by on May.07, 2010

GX 460’s handling is ultimately okay, but is “still ponderous and ungainly."

Consumer Reports revoked its “Don’t Buy: Safety Risk” designation from the 2010 Lexus GX 460 SUV this morning, saying that recall work corrected the problem it displayed in one of its emergency handling tests. (See Japanese Stop Sales of 2010 Lexus GX460)

CR is not really endorsing the Lexus though, continuing a recent trend of distancing itself from Toyota products after years of automatically endorsing them. CR says that with the fix, the GX 460’s handling is ultimately okay, but is “still ponderous and ungainly, as is common with traditional body-on-frame SUVs.” (See also Consumers Union Defends Role in Missing Toyota Unintended Acceleration Problems and Deaths)

CR’s testers originally experienced the problem in a test that they use to evaluate what’s known in automotive engineering  terms as trailing  throttle oversteer, which is the precursor to a spin.

In the CR test as the vehicle is driven through a turn, the driver quickly lifts her foot off the accelerator pedal. When testers did this with a GX 460, its rear end slid out until the vehicle was almost sideways.

Even though the GX 460 has electronic stability control, which is designed to prevent a vehicle from sliding, the system in CR’s view was not intervening quickly enough to stop the slide. CR says this is a safety risk because in a real-world situation this could cause a rear tire to strike a curb or slide off the pavement, possibly causing the vehicle to roll over. Tall vehicles with a high center of gravity, such as the GX 460, heighten CR’s concern. CR is not aware, however, of any reports of injury related to this problem.