What is Brake Assist?

Brake aid is an active vehicle safety feature intended to help drivers come to a stop more quickly through an episode of emergency braking. Studies reveal that when making emergency stops, about half of all drivers do not press the brake quickly enough or hard enough to make full use of their vehicle’s braking power (NHTSA 2010; Page et al. 2005). Brake assist is intended to recognize the tell-tale signs of emergency braking and provide drivers with additional brake support.

Brake assist is called by other names such as Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and Predictive Brake Assist (PBA). The different names are auto body repair kingston significant because though all brake assist systems have the same purpose, some are designed differently.

When would brake help be useful?

Brake assist is useful whenever drivers must brake hard to generate an emergency stop. Brake assist usually works in combination with anti-lock braking systems (ABS) to make flying as effective as possible while preventing wheel lockage. There are plenty of relatively common situations that prompt heavy braking.

-A fisherman loses her balance and veers sharply in front of your car or truck.

-A large animal runs out into the street, forcing you to create an emergency stop.

-Cresting a hill, you encounter an unexpected line-up of cars and you must brake hard to prevent rear-ending another driver.

How does brake assist work?

According to the automobile safety National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States, brake assist systems fall into two general classes: electronic and mechanical. The main difference between the two is in the method used to differentiate panic braking from regular braking.

Electronic brake assist systems use an electronic control unit (ECU) that compares instances of braking to pre-set thresholds. If a driver pushes the brake down hard enough and fast enough to surpass this threshold, the ECU will determine that there’s an emergency and boosts braking power. A number of these systems are adaptable, which means they will compile information about a driver’s particular braking style and tweak the thresholds to ensure the highest accuracy in emergency-situation detection. Modern drive-by-wire vehicles (i.e., vehicles with an ECU) are qualified to have electronic brake assist installed.

Older vehicles that do not have an ECU can have a mechanical brake assist system put in. Mechanical systems also use pre-set thresholds, but these are set automatically. This means that they are not flexible to individual drivers. These systems incorporate a locking mechanism that triggers when the valve stroke — that is directly related to how far the brake pedal is pushed — passes a critical point. After this threshold is passed, the locking mechanism switches the source of braking power from the brake piston collision centre edmonton valve to the brake booster, which provides the braking assistance.

How successful is brake assist?

The expected benefits of brake assist are many, especially given the kinds of situations that brake assist is intended to address. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the United States has determined that the sorts of crashes pertinent to brake assist are those where the driver saw a hazard, braked, but didn’t stop in time. Given this, the IIHS quotes that brake assist is pertinent to 417,000 crashes per year in the United States, such as 3,080 fatal crashes.

Other studies also support brake help’s efficacy for preventing and reducing the severity of certain types of vehicle crashes. For example, NHTSA found a reduced stopped distance of up to ten feet when brake help engaged during an emergency stop. In addition, researchers from France estimate that brake assist would reduce injuries in 11 percent of all crashes, and reduce the total number of road fatalities by kingston auto body shop between 6.5% and 9%.

Does brake assist have any limitations?

Yes. As with other vehicle safety technologies, getting the maximum from brake assist requires that motorists understand its purpose and limitations. Both electronic and mechanical brake assist systems trigger solely on the basis of a driver’s braking controls. If the signs of panic braking are there, brake help will engage to provide stopping support. However, inappropriate, unclear, or delayed braking actions could lead to brake help either not activating at all or failing to provide all available support.

The first thing to consider is that brake aid has no method of seeing obstacles ahead: it cannot scan for potential dangers and does not warn drivers of any threat. As such, drivers must continue to be vigilant by paying careful attention to the street and avoid behavior that could make identifying and responding to obstacles more difficult, like speeding, impaired driving, fatigued driving, and distracted driving.

Also, drivers should be aware that the pre-set thresholds in both electronic and mechanical brake-assist systems where they recognize panic braking are set intentionally high. This is to ensure that brake assist does not engage when it’s not needed. However, many drivers are not used to applying the brakes hard enough and fast enough to exceed these thresholds and trigger brake assist (NHTSA 2010). To get the most out of brake assist, drivers must use the brakes forcefully and decisively whenever they realize an emergency stop is required.

How common is brake help in today’s vehicles?

Brake assist was first introduced in high-end European vehicles in 1996. Since that time, brake aid has become remarkably popular in Europe and Australia where it’s available as either standard or optional on the majority of new vehicles. In North America, brake help was slower to get to the economy vehicle marketplace. But is now more commonly available within a security package, and a few manufacturers offer brake assist as a standard feature.