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 WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J., May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Automotive experts agree

that the anti-lock braking system (ABS) is one of the greatest advances in automobile safety since seatbelts. Every BMW comes with ABS as standard equipment, and this invaluable safety feature is available on many other cars, as well.
 In an ABS-equipped car, sensors at each wheel detect the onset of lock-up, and signal a computer that controls pressure in the brake system. The system alternately applies and releases pressure up to 15 times per second. The wheels are prevented from being locked, no matter how much force the driver applies to the pedal.
 Regardless of whether they own ABS-equipped cars, all drivers should learn emergency braking techniques, especially now that vacation time is here. During the summer, many drivers will find themselves in cars other than their own, either rented or borrowed. These cars may not have ABS.
 Stomping on the brake pedal in an emergency situation may be a natural reaction, but it is not the way to stop a car in the shortest possible distance. Without ABS, such a reaction can result in a skid, which can lead to a collision.
 No person can be as accurate, precise and quick as a computer-driven system, but you can learn techniques that will maximize braking efficiency. For the past six years, BMW has sponsored a special driving school conducted by instructors from the renowned Skip Barber Racing School. The school is open to all drivers, and course curriculum combines classroom sessions with several hours of behind-the-wheel training in real-life driving situations. Emphasis is placed on vehicle control, accident avoidance and proper braking techniques.
 The BMW Driving School uses BMW 318i And 325i models, but also has a car specially modified to allow its ABS to be deactivated for braking instruction.
 Why does a locked wheel cause a longer, less-controlled stop? A sliding tire is 25-30 percent less efficient at stopping than a tire rolling to a stop just short of lock-up. At speeds up to 40 mph, the actual on-the-road difference is negligible. However, as the speed exceeds 40 mph, that 25-30 percent advantage begins to result in some valuable feet of road surface.
 At the BMW Driving School, drivers learn a technique called threshold braking. This method keeps the wheels just short of lock-up to take advantage of the tires' 25-30 percent greater braking efficiency. Correct tire pressure is critical to threshold braking, and should be maintained diligently.
 The key to threshold braking is the "hard spot" that is present in all braking systems. The hard spot (absence of free-play in the pedal) is a noticeable increase in resistance caused by the brake fluid reaching its maximum compression. You usually feel it at a point between 40 and 70 percent of pedal travel. You may not be successful the first time you try to find the hard spot, but keep trying. Depress the brake pedal slowly and delicately -- it's there.
 Braking quickly to the hard spot transfers weight to the front wheels, which has the dual effect of increasing their traction and forcing them to roll. At the hard spot, squeeze a little more pressure into the system -- nothing dramatic, just continued pressure to keep the front tires at the threshold of lock-up. Maintain or slightly increase the pressure to stop. Quickness counts. The slower your reaction time, the less room to brake you'll have. At 60 mph, a one-second delay uses 90 feet of road.
 If you go past the hard spot and cross the threshold, all is not lost. Rather than going to the full-lock mode in desperation, start modulating the pedal. Don't pump! Pumping the brakes, which uses your knee, is too extreme because it alternates between lock-up and release of pressure. Rather, pulse the brake system by flexing the ankle and foot. This gets you out of lock-up and back across the threshold by only slightly reducing pressure in the system.
 Apply the brakes as quickly and firmly as possible without lock-up. Remember to modulate -- don't pump -- if lock-up occurs. If the car has a manual transmission, don't instantly declutch unless the car is on ice. Let engine compression aid in braking right down to the last moment before it stalls. Every little bit counts.
 Don't worry about the rear tires. They provide only 30 percent of the car's total stopping capability, less with front-wheel-drive. However, if they lock, the rear may start to come out. If that happens, it's very important not to lock the front wheels. A tire sliding across the pavement has absolutely no steering capability. If you can't steer, you can't control the skid.
 As spring turns to summer, you need to keep alert for children playing near the road, bicyclists, joggers, skaters and motorcycles. Knowing safe braking techniques can protect you -- and them.
 For more information on the BMW/Skip Barber Advanced Driving School, call toll-free, 1-800-221-1131 or 203-824-0771.
 -0- 5/5/92
 /CONTACT: Jim Koscs of Coleman & Pellet, 908-687-7767, for BMW/ CO: BMW ST: IN: AUT SU:

SM -- NYIFNS10 -- 6327 05/05/92 07:20 EDT
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Date:May 5, 1992

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