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ANTI-LOCK BRAKES, TRACTION CONTROL AND DRIVING TECHNIQUES IMPORTANT IN WINTER DRIVING

 WARREN, Mich., Feb. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- New automotive technology and proper driving techniques can help reduce, if not avoid, crashes on slippery roads, according to General Motors (NYSE: GM) safety experts.
 Technology such as anti-lock brakes (ABS) and traction control go a long way toward avoiding a whole class of crashes on slippery roads, according to Mitchel C. Scherba, director of safety performance at GM.
 Four-wheel ABS involves sensors on all four wheels that detect when a wheel is beginning to slip or lose traction. The system automatically modulates brake pressure several times a second. The braking action allows the driver to stop quicker than with regular brakes and, more importantly, maintain control and steering during hard braking. The driver can either keep the vehicle in a straight line or turn to avoid hitting another car or object.
 The system also applies the appropriate amount of braking action to where it is most needed, something even the most expert driver can't do.
 For example, you are driving along when an oncoming vehicle drifts into the lane in front of your vehicle. You swerve to avoid a crash and start to brake hard. The two left wheels are on the pavement but the two right wheels are off the pavement and are on loose gravel.
 The ABS recognizes that the wheels on one side of the car -- the side with the wheels on the gravel -- are starting to slide while the others are not. Instead of abruptly applying equal amounts of brake pressure to both sides, it controls the pressure to help maintain steering control.
 Though ABS does most of the work for you, you still must brake properly, and the braking technique differs slightly from the technique used in a vehicle not equipped with ABS. Richard A. Whitworth, manager of GM's Traffic Safety Department, provides these tips for braking with ABS:
 1. Squeeze the brakes. Apply steady pressure until lock-up.
 2. Maintain pressure -- let ABS work the brakes -- and steer to avoid obstacles.
 3. DON'T pump the brakes. That limits ABS performance.
 4. In a panic situation, stand on the brake, hold it there and steer clear of obstacles.
 Traction control is another technology that aids drivers on slippery roads. Often tied to the ABS, traction control also consists of a series of sensors which detect when the drive wheels are spinning on slippery, wet or icy pavement. The sensors connect to a computer that reduces engine torque and/or applies braking torque to the spinning wheel until traction is regained, thus maximizing vehicle acceleration.
 Imagine, for example, you are merging from an on-ramp to a busy expressway on wet pavement. In a vehicle not equipped with traction control, you probably would hear the wheels spinning but the vehicle won't be accelerating as quickly as you want. You have to back off from the accelerator to allow the wheels to grip the road surface.
 Traction control detects that the wheels are about to spin. It automatically reduces the power to the wheels so it can maximize traction.
 Whether or not the vehicle is equipped with ABS and traction control, the driver is still responsible for controlling the vehicle. GM's Whitworth suggests the following:
 1. Inflate tires properly. Inspect them for good tread. Bad tires are a handicap in slippery conditions.
 2. Slow down when it rains or snows. Allow added space between you and the vehicle in front of you.
 3. Brake early. Avoid sudden braking and sudden acceleration which cause the tires to spin and the car to go out of control.
 4. Prevent lock-up by squeezing -- not slamming -- the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. If you sense lock-up -- with non- ABS vehicles -- ease off the brake, then reapply.
 5. Brake and steer. Squeeze the brakes and steer the car to avoid hitting objects.
 6. If the car goes into a skid, apply no brake and no accelerator. Instead, steer the car where you want it to go.
 7. Read the driving section of your owner's manual for proven driving techniques.
 -0- 2/26/93
 /CONTACT: Richard R. Thompson of General Motors, 313-986-5721/
 (GM)


CO: General Motors Corporation ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:

SM-JG -- DE017 -- 0944 02/26/93 15:29 EST
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Date:Feb 26, 1993
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