When cars start to slip on icy roadways this winter, many drivers will get a little help maintaining control, thanks to the electronic stability control (ESC) feature now mandated in new vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that ESC can reduce one-vehicle crashes for cars by 32 percent and for SUVs by 57 percent.
How ESC Works
ESC works in tandem with your vehicle’s other safety features, including the anti-lock braking system and traction control. Using sensors and a microcomputer, the ESC monitors the direction the vehicle is headed and its steering wheel position. When the two do not match up, the ESC works to correct under- and over-steering by applying the brakes to one or more of the wheels and, in some cases, reducing the engine throttle to adjust the direction the vehicle is heading.
The New Standard
Though ESC technology has been around since 1995, it has only recently become a common safety feature. By 2010, 88 percent of car models and 100 percent of SUVs came equipped with ESC. And starting with the 2012 models, ESC is now required in all vehicles under 10,000 pounds. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety lists pre-2012 vehicles equipped with ESC on its website.
ESC is designed to prevent single-vehicle crashes that result from loss of control at high speeds or on icy roads; it is not intended to stop small fender-benders. However, according to the IIHS, nearly half of all fatal crashes involve only one vehicle. As the use of ESC becomes more widespread, NHTSA believes the feature could save as many as 9,600 lives and prevent up to 238,000 injuries each year.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under any policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information. We assume no liability in connection with the information nor the suggestions made.
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