Starting and Stopping

Learn to Drive | Emergency Stops with ABS Brakes

How to Drive a Car | Emergency Stops with ABS Brakes 

Learning how to drive a car requires learning about brakes and how to use them properly.  The most important function when driving a car is the brake system.    The video explains Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).  If the car you learn to drive does not have ABS see the last section below.

If your car has an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) you will need to know how to use them effectively.  During normal stopping, ABS brakes work the same as other types of brakes, but in emergency stopping situations you need to operate them differently.  Driving Lesson 5 in the 3 Keys to Keeping Your Teen Alive:  Lessons for Surviving the First Year of Driving a Car  provides a  drive lesson on using brakes. 

 With ABS:   

There are 2 kinds of ABS and they operate differently so you need to use them differently when driving a car.  If you aren’t sure which kind you have, check your Owner’s Manual.

Rear-wheel ABS – (on some light trucks, vans and SUVs) prevent wheel lock of the rear wheels only.  Since the front wheels can still lock up, drivers should stomp on the brake, then ease up with just enough pressure to allow the front wheels to start rolling again, so the driver can steer.

Four-wheel ABS – (on most cars) Maintain firm and continuous pressure on the brake while steering to enable four-wheel ABS to work properly. Avoid pumping the brake, even if the brake pedal is pulsating. 

Practice with your ABS: 

Practice emergency stops when learning how to drive a car.  When you apply that firm, pressure you’ll feel the brakes grabbing and letting go and you may hear some strange noises.  That can be scary but it’s normal.  Practicing now will help you know what to expect so you don’t panic in a real emergency braking situation.  Make this a part of your Learn to Drive checklist.  Look for more information in the Driving Lessons sections of the Workbook and the Video Library.  See Driving Lesson 1.  

Learn to Drive: Lesson 1, Structure Practice

Without ABS:

In emergency stopping situations, if your car doesn’t have ABS, you’ll still need to pump the brakes to maintain control and keep them from locking.


The video shows examples of what can happen when a car does not have ABS.  It also has a slogan "Stomp, Stay, Steer" for when you do have ABS.   It is handy to remember as you learn to drive.

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Braking a Car

3 thoughts on “Learn to Drive | Emergency Stops with ABS Brakes

  1. However, you hav to go through a one year probation period where you have to display a triangular plate at the top
    right cprner of the front windscreen and one at the top right corner of the rear windscreen. So, if your lane is blocked you must give-way
    to oncoming traffic. Paul and Minneapolis are the best cities to be when you.

  2. “Stomp, Stay, Steer” included in the last paragraph initially misled me owing to the fact that it seems to be under the section titled “Without ABS:” and immediately preceded by a sentence ending “when a car does not have ABS.”

    Of course, the video indicates the intended association of “Stomp, Stay, Steer” with a car that does have ABS.

    All’s well that ends well.

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