ABS or no ABS

Today I almost got into a car accident. My car’s breaks use ABS. The other car was a bit older and didn’t have ABS. And it was exactly this combination that helped to avoid the accident.

It was raining a bit and the road was wet. But the winter is still far ahead of us and so raining is not so common yet. It wasn’t the first rain of the year, but the last one was some time ago and so many drivers still keep their winter driving mode back in the passive memory. I mean those who have winter driving mode at all.

I was coming from the office and when I saw that the road was wet I tried the car grip and sliding. I wasn’t too impressed with the control of the slide, so I was keeping it extra safe until I would get used to the wet road conditions.

So I stopped by the bakery to get some bread and it was when I was starting from there towards my home when the whole thing happened. It was one way street and I was accelerating in the only allowed direction. The road was intersecting with another one way street. My road was the main road of the intersection. And the other street was one of those very quiet streets that noone ever uses. And I knew that, so I was practically ignoring it.

Suddenly, there is this old guy coming on with some old Mitsubishi Lancer. Not only he didn’t stop to check that noone is using the main road, but he turned straight into the wrong direction of the one way road that I was coming from.

Picture this – I am accelerating and already going about 50 km/h. This guy is coming out from an ambush driving at least 70 km/h. The place is very tight. The road is wet.

Now, I see him and push breaks hard. ABS kicks in. He sees me and pushes breaks. He has no ABS. His car slides forward. Still breaking I turn the wheels towards the rear of his vehicle. He still slides.

Finally we stop. His car is standing exactly across the road, touching the pedestrian area with its front wheels. I am standing along the road straight behind his back. There is about 4 cm between the right side of my car and the back of his car. My left wheels are slightly touching the pedestrian area on other side of the road (opposite to the side his car is touching).

That was VERY close!

Now, if he would have ABS, his car would stop earlier, closing all the gaps that I could use to avoid him. If my car didn’t have ABS, I would slide directly into his car and would hit him hard. Interesting and lucky combination I must say.

Needless to say that I was pretty angry with the guy. Since there was no collision and both cars stopped by themselves – no injuries involved. No need to come out and kick each other’s butts. So I left.

Two minutes later I realized that something else happened that I haven’t noticed in this situation at all. I have remembered one of the rules for collision avoidance and even used it. The rule is – don’t look where you don’t want to go. Or was it – look where you want to go. Something like that.

I don’t know if that was just pure luck or pure luck and that collision avoidance rule that saved me from an accident today. Any way it was – I’m glad I missed it.

7 thoughts on “ABS or no ABS”


  1. Thanks.

    Collision avoidance guidelines are hard to find. From my understanding, most of these are taught in the advanced driving courses. I was Googling for some time, but didn’t find anything good. Just a few hints here and there.


  2. Leonid,

    It’s a pity, I read your blog nearly every day and read something about those useful rules will be great, but I’d like read in your interpretation and your site, I definitely won’t make a specific research.

    If I’ll I know resource a little better than del.icio.us, it’s google.com :)

    BTW the del.icio.us has nothing perhaps I’m doing something wrong. :)


  3. Lev,

    I write about things that I feel like writing. If I missed something – I probably wasn’t in the mood or wasn’t too sure what to write about it. :)

    Google is good, but it has too much noise sometimes. For some things del.icio.us is better. Use the tools you like :)

    BTW, you can try http://del.icio.us/tag/driving+tips – there are a few bookmarks worth the checking out.

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