January 21st, 2005

Work Your ABS

My last car was a 1992 Pontiac Sunbird LE four door - it was a lease buyback with an Antilock Braking System (ABS). I thought this was a great idea at the time, after all, ABS was all in fashion with the new cars & shit. But it turned out I totally despised it.

ABS provides a great stopping distance in dry or wet conditions, hell, it even saved my ass one time when someone turned left in front of me without looking first. However...ABS *SUCKS* in icy conditions, such as today, with a layer of freezing rain down underneath a layer of snow. I remember many occasions when I said, "Stop", and the car said, "I'm sorry, your call cannot be completed. Please hang up and try again." I would be still going full tilt (however "full" tilt was in inclement weather), with the ABS system clicking away like mad trying to figure out how to stop my car. In other words, I had no brakes. I'm sure larger cars, SUV's and heavy trucks improve their stopping, but ABS has no place on a sedan in our country, where the earth is frozen for five months in every direction for several days' drive.

There are specific driving techniques available to the experienced winter driver which allow for a momentary controlled skid in order to stop. The ABS computer can't tell when you are trying to get from the ice track to the snow track, which has more traction. It also can't tell when there aren't any other cars around and fuck it, I'm going to fishtail out, but I will STOP. My computer is better than yours, bitch!

So when the Echo was offered with ABS I cringed and said "Hell, no!" It's far lighter than the Sunbird was, so it would just fly directly into the ditch if you even thought about touching the ABS brake. I made many successful maneuvers today, all of them while sliding.

Heck, maybe I should just go out and buy sled runners and attach them to my axles.

Oh, and the one thing I do miss from the Sunbird? Continuous delay wiper control. One could set the wiper interval to long or short or anything in between, which is a great option for changeable weather. Toyota crapped out on ONE delay setting.
  • Current Music
    The Hum Of Slush In My Wheel Wells

No Kids, No Dogs...

To spoil the serenity of my backyard. It's knee deep in places.

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    Annie Lennox - Cold