ABS and Audi's "Antilock Off" Switch

Vincent Gelinas vrgelinas at gmail.com
Fri Feb 1 14:48:39 PST 2013

I disengaged the Abs and ESC on my Sonic in the snow.

The first winter I lived in NH, 2007/8, was a particularly snowy one. My
first car got totaled by a Jeep rear ending me. The next car I got remains
one of my most-beloved. It was a 2002 Ford Focus ZX5. No ABS. No traction
control. And my job was delivering pizza.

I can take a FWD car with all the nannies disabled to places that make some
AWD cars queasy. I don't like the nannies.
On Feb 1, 2013 5:41 PM, "Mark Rosenkrantz" <speedracer.mark at gmail.com>

> I've been instructing for Audi at winter driving schools since 1999 or
> 2000.  ABS engagement IS wheel lock-up.  Threshold ABS usually can shorten
> pure ABS stopping distances.  For most drivers without significant training
> (and yes, I include enthusiasts and people with some track days) on snow,
> full ABS is the way to go, especially on newer cars.  Pre-2000 (1980's and
> 1990's vintage) the ABS was pretty bad.  Better than not having it, but
> newer systems are quite good.
> Here's the scoop:
> 1.  There is one (and only one) condition where disabling ABS (allowing the
> wheels to fully lock up) will shorten the distance.  That is with a
> slippery substrate (bottom surface), such as ice, with snow on top.  A
> locked-up tire in these conditions will act as a "plow" and build up snow
> in front of the tire, shortening the distance.  You give up all ability to
> steer, however.
> 2.  Don't confuse disabling ABS with disabling ASR (anti-slip regulation
> which controls wheelspin) or anti-skid control (those squiggly lines on the
> icon).  Those are integrated and I could add into the discussion if some
> desire.
> 3.  If a wheel is locked up, you can't turn.  You must control, IN ORDER:
> A.  Wheelspin/wheel lock up
> B. Understeer
> C. Oversteer
> D. Counterskid (from oversteer correction)
> I can't stress enough that the newer the car, the better these systems
> are.  For almost every single driver and situation, it IS better to leave
> these systems engaged.  There are a few exceptions, and then only for
> formally trained drivers READY to react instantaneously.  I keep my systems
> engaged on the street.
> Hope I've helped!!!!
> Mark Rosenkrantz
> On Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 10:13 PM, mboucher70 hotmail.com <
> mboucher70 at hotmail.com> wrote:
> > In December, during a highway drive from Toronto to Montreal, weather
> > turned quite bad.  At some point we were brought to stop-and-go traffic,
> > perhaps between 0 and 20 km/h.  At one point when we needed to stop, it
> > turned out that we were on black ice hidden by blowing snow.  The ABS
> > kicked in, and it seemed as though we’d sail straight into the car in
> front
> > of us!  I kept solid pressure on the pedal, and we JUST managed to stop,
> > probably within a few inches of the car in front.  If we hadn't stopped,
> it
> > wouldn't have been much more than a harsh bump.  Nonetheless, it’s a bad
> > feeling!
> >
> > I'd had similar (though not nearly as bad) experiences in the past, but
> > still never disengaged the ABS because all of the studies I'd read had
> made
> > the case that ABS could save your life if you locked up the tires at high
> > speed.
> >
> > After this near miss, I’d had it with the ABS.  I immediately put the car
> > in park, pressed the "Antilock Off" switch, and continued the drive.  It
> > felt so much more in control, at low speeds, even if I was locking them
> up
> > at times.
> >
> > Question I've been pondering is what's to be concluded from this about
> the
> > "Antilock Off" feature that used to be available:
> >
> > 1.) It was useful in situations such as that above, but since the overall
> > benefits of ABS outweighed the downsides, it just became a standard
> safety
> > feature and “Antilock Off" switches disappeared.
> >
> > 2.) ABS has significantly improved from designs used around the 1990
> > vintage, to make the need to disable them obsolete.
> >
> > 3.) The “Antilock Off” switch was a useful feature and would be nice to
> > have in current-day production cars.
> >
> > Other thoughts?
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