3 Letters to save your life: ESC - Electronic Stability Control
Approximately 48% of serious road crashes in Canada are the result of loss of control.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is a safety technology that helps drivers avoid crashes by reducing the likelihood of skidding.
The danger of skidding is greatest when you are taken by surprise and face the unexpected. You need to take sudden action... you lose control... and your vehicle goes into a skid.
That's when ESC can help.
ESC acts before you lose control. It identifies the risk of a skid and activates the brakes on one or more wheels early, so you can steer the vehicle safely back on track.
Why do I need ESC?
Approximately 48 per cent of serious road crashes in Canada are the result of loss of control. Studies show that ESC could reduce these by 20 to 40 per cent.
ESC helps bring the vehicle back under control.
How does ESC work?
ESC sensors compare the direction of the steering wheel to the direction the vehicle is going, more than 20 times per second. When they are not the same, and the car begins to skid out of control, ESC applies the brakes to correct oversteer (when the back of the vehicle slides out) or understeer (when the vehicle loses traction at the front). ESC can also reduce engine power to prevent wheel spin when the road is slippery. ESC helps bring the vehicle back under control and heading in the right direction.
Is ESC the same as ABS (Antilock Braking System) and TCS (Traction Control System)?
No. ESC adds stability control to the benefi ts of ABS and TCS. ABS helps you to maintain control and steer when you need to brake suddenly. TCS helps prevent wheel slippage when you accelerate. Both of these affect the forward movement of your car. ESC helps with sideways movements, which may lead to skidding.
ESC does not require any change in driving style.
Are there other names for ESC?
Yes. ESC is a generic name. Automakers may use different names for their ESC systems. Trade names include: ESP (Electronic Stability Program), DSC (Dynamic Stability Control), VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist), VSC (Vehicle Stability Control), VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control), AdvanceTrac, and Stabilitrak.
When do I need to activate ESC?
You don't. ESC is automatically "on" whenever you start the engine. Read your owner's manual to learn how ESC works on your vehicle. For example, some have an "ESC Off" switch. You should turn ESC off in certain situations, such as when you are stuck in deep snow. On some four-wheel drive vehicles, ESC will turn off when you shift to the low range of 4WD. A dashboard light or message will remind you when this happens.
The only way to get ESC is to buy a new or used vehicle that is equipped with ESC.
Can I have ESC retrofi tted to my car?
No. The only way to get ESC is to buy a new or used vehicle that is equipped with ESC.
Do I have to change how I drive with ESC?
No. While ESC will support you during an emergency skid, you should always be alert behind the wheel and drive carefully.
Do my brakes and tires matter?
Yes. Not even the best ESC system can help you if your brakes are not working as they should or your tires are not suited to the road conditions, worn-out, improperly inflated, or overloaded.
ESC is available on more and more vehicle models each year.
What should I do about ESC?
You never know when you will have to steer your vehicle to avoid a crash, so don't take chances. In Canada, ESC is available on more and more vehicle models each year. So the next time you buy or import a vehicle:
- Ask your dealer to show you models equipped with ESC.
- Ask your dealer to show you clear evidence of ESC, such as a symbol or OFF switch on the control panel.
- Check the feature list posted on the window — it should include ESC.
Where can I get more information?
Visit our website at www.tc.gc.ca/ESC.
3 Letters to save your life: ESC - Electronic Stability Control (PDF format - 238 KB)
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