Is it safe to drive with the ABS lights on?

The ABS warning light coming on means that the anti-lock braking system is not working properly and may not work if you need to stop the vehicle quickly.

ABS stands for anti-lock braking system, and helps your tires maintain contact with the road while you’re braking. It works by preventing the wheels from locking up, which can lead to uncontrolled slippage. The main purpose of ABS is to improve vehicle control during heavy braking, especially on loose or slippery surfaces. It does not necessarily reduce stopping distance, although it can help achieve this.

Here are some things to know about ABS safety:

  • ABS will self-check every time you turn the key ON. When you start the car, the ABS warning light comes on briefly, and if the computer crashes, the light comes on. If you notice this light flashing on and off immediately after starting the car, it’s just doing a self-check.
  • If the ABS warning light comes on while you are driving, it means the ABS is not working properly. Your brakes will still work, but the ABS may not engage if you need to stop at hard level. If the light stays on, you need to have an ABS technician deal with the problem as soon as possible. Since ABS helps with vehicle checks and stopping times, it’s an important whole feature to maintain – you never know when you’ll need it.
  • If both the ABS and brake system lights come on at the same time, your vehicle is no longer safe to drive. This means there is a serious problem with the system and continuing to drive puts you and others at risk of an accident.
  • When you brake hard and your ABS engages, you should see the pedals pulsate slightly. This is completely normal and means that the ABS is functioning properly. The ABS system works with your brake system to create beats to keep the wheels from locking. Once you feel this pulse, keep your foot on the pedal and let the system do the work for you. All you need to do is stay centered to drive safely.

Driving with the ABS warning light ON is not a good idea because it means your ABS is not working properly. Your vehicle may not handle stopping on a skid plane as it was designed for. If both your ABS and brake system lights are on, this is an emergency and you need to stop driving immediately. Immediately contact a qualified technician for inspection, testing and remediation as quickly as possible.

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Written by Fields Nguyen

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