BBC electronic stability control - scott bell

Hi,

Few days ago, the bbc morning news ran an item on ESP (electronic stability programmes), basically saying all cars should have it fitted, and less than 1% currently do..which seems a rather low stat, so i hope i heard it right.

What do people think? I am currently looking to buy a second hand zafira, and with ESP...on some models that would cost me 1K more (I get a bigger engine also).

Question is, is it worth the hassle. One person comments in a newsgroup he took his car for a service and after 1 year of driving, the computer logs showed the ESP activated a total of 0 times. Basically, drive reasonably, and it won't be needed.

Ice and snow, and oil slips I think are the only places they might realisically be needed.

so, worth the extra dosh for piece of mind.

(another stat i saw somewhere suggests the swedish motoring safety body found ESP more effective than airbags!...but of course, more cars with ESP would have airbags anyhow)
BBC electronic stability control - Altea Ego
Waste of time. I have to drive completely unreasonably to get mine to flash up.

A well sorted modern car does not need it.
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TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
BBC electronic stability control - Adam {P}
Have you ever crashed because you didn't have it?
BBC electronic stability control - Altea Ego
I crashed

the driver had a lot to do with it, and it was in straight line.
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TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
BBC electronic stability control - Martin Devon
SWMBO needs ESP when she has PMT.........................or another small glass!

Evenin' all.......................................MD
BBC electronic stability control - rtj70
Drove a Passat 1,9 PDI with 130bhp. Turn of the ESP and the front wheel could easily spin....

Have a Mondeo 2.0 TDCI 130 bhp with no ESP.... and front wheels do not spin under acceleration even in the wet.... all down to chassis no doubt. Could spin the wheel on a Vectra B with a 1.8 petrol when wet.
BBC electronic stability control - type's'
This is a cut and paste from a road safety web site.

>>Car makers certainly believe in it. Mercedes-Benz has equipped all its vehicles with ESP since 1999, and has seen accidents caused by loss of driver control reduced by 30 per cent. A survey by Toyota is even more convincing: crashes due to loss of driver control cut by 50 per cent, and numbers of people killed and injured in such accidents by 35 per cent.
ESP is becoming an increasingly common fitment on new cars, but so far mostly on up-market models, or as an option lower down the range. In Germany it is nearly three times more common than here, although perhaps unsurprisingly so since it is the invention of Bosch, a German company.<<

I think the system comes into it's own in the Autumn and Winter and I would rather have it than not, although I have had a similar experience to TVM in that I thought it may have come on when I have gone to fast round a certain bend but the car just keeps cornering (Honda Accord).
If I recall VW are pretty good at offering it as standard on most if not all its cars.
BBC electronic stability control - Dynamic Dave
The ESP on my Vectra has only operated once to my knowledge. Given the choice between having a head on collision with the landrover towing a horsebox on a bend that I didn't realise was as tight as it actually was, and having the ESP help me around that bend avoiding the landrover; I was certainly glad of ESP on that occasion.

It's like having ABS and airbags. You hope that you'll never need them, but when you do, you're glad they're there.
BBC electronic stability control - Adam {P}
>>It's like having ABS and airbags. You hope that you'll never need them, but when you do, you're glad they're there.<<

I'm stuffed if I ever crash then.
BBC electronic stability control - Citroënian {P}
You'll be fine with your added rear crumple zone, sorry boot, Adam. Just try to crash backwards.
-- You know, it\'s not like changing toothpaste
BBC electronic stability control - Adam {P}
>>You'll be fine with your added rear crumple zone, sorry boot, Adam. Just try to crash backwards.<<

That might just happen Lee if I swap these new tyres to the back!
BBC electronic stability control - bursty
I think it is a waste of time. I have it on my current Astra SRi and you need to be driving like a complete idiot for it to kick in. My car came with it as standard so it wasn't like I had asked for it but if I had to pay for it I would say it was a waste of money.

I would say that I have more chance of crashing the car trying to get ESP to kick in.
BBC electronic stability control - Dynamic Dave
I would say that I have more chance of crashing the car trying to get ESP to kick in.


But isn't that the point of ESP. It's an aid to help you avoiding a crash in the first place. Granted you shouldn't deliberately be trying to crash, but in a similar vein if you've got ABS, you don't go around deliberately stomping on the brakes every time you want to stop (well, some people do, but that's a different story).
BBC electronic stability control - Citroënian {P}
I'm with DD on this - hope you'll never need it, but should the situation arise when it's going to get me out of the mire, I'll be very glad that I looked for a car with it.

If we all knew when were we going to find ourselves in a situation where we're going to be in a crash, we'd neither need ESP or Russell Grant.

I'd rather have everything in place to avoid a crash; better avoid it altogether if possible.
-- You know, it\'s not like changing toothpaste
BBC electronic stability control - Altea Ego
Well

Having found out how to kick in the ESP, having tried the car with it off, and on, I can safely say the chances of the system on my car preventing a crash is about zero. well less than that actually.
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TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
BBC electronic stability control - type's'
Surely that cannot be the case in the winter TVM when driving on wet/icy rides - ESP will offer a greater level of protection then won't it ?

And if it is less than zero does that mean it has more chance of causing an accident then ?
BBC electronic stability control - Hamsafar
The only time mine winks is when it has rained and I'm driving on tram rails round bends in the city. My car is exactly the same guage :o(
BBC electronic stability control - SjB {P}
My SE spec V70 2.4T has the DTSC option as opposed to the standard STC.

The latter contains Traction Control (under wheel spin conditions transfers motive power to the wheel with the most grip) and Stability Control (reduces torque to kill wheelspin) to which the former adds Active Yaw Control (independently balancing braking to each wheel) and Emergency Brake Assistance (gives full brakes even if you don't if the the system thinks that's what you actually want to do).

I have invoked Traction Control and Stability Control countless times (especially since tuning as it is now very easy to do so), but the only time I know Active Yaw Control has kicked in was when I set out to force it to in an empty snowbound car park. The only time Emergency Brake Assistance kicked in was again when I tried it (I know it kicked in as the brake pedal sank away under my foot as it does given that the brakes are artificially being pulled on harder). May be one day I'll be glad to have the "D" part of STC, but not so far.

A comment on the Stability Control (wheelspin police); if driving away on the margins of grip the car launches beautifully, but step over them slightly and mechanical sympathy gives an instinct to back off as the driven wheels judder, caught between "go" and "reined in". If however you really go for it and NAIL the throttle, the system does a fantastic job of containing optimum torque and delivering a beautifully smooth, slug in the back, computer controlled, getaway. Every time.
BBC electronic stability control - Citroënian {P}
Well, I suppose the only argument against it is that it can give a false sense of security - all the manuals have lines along "you can't change the laws of physics".

Would you drive more carefully if on your steering wheel there was :-
a) An airbag
b) An enormous metal spike pointing at you

I'd still personally rather have it, but hopefully am not so stupid as to rely on it all day long; like the ABS, if it comes into action, I'm doing something I probably shouldn't. Some people may get the idea that it's there to support their reckless driving, these are the people to worry about

-- You know, it\'s not like changing toothpaste
BBC electronic stability control - rtj70
And how we all know when ESP did something to help but the light does not come on. My example of the previous model Passat 130bhp proves this. With ESP on no wheelspin but no ESP intervention. Turn it off and wheelspin... conclusion is ESP on does do something and not always light the ESP warning light.
BBC electronic stability control - Dynamic Dave
With ESP on no wheelspin but no ESP intervention.


Are you confusing ESP with TC (traction control)?

TC limits wheel spin by cutting engine power, whereas ESP uses the braking system to bring the car back into line.

www.thatcham.org/esc/index.jsp?page=239

Compare the two video clips in the following link:-

www.thatcham.org/esc/index.jsp?page=240

(Both links deliberately made non clickable as both can lead to the video clip)
BBC electronic stability control - cheddar
Are you confusing ESP with TC (traction control)?


ESP incorporates TC.

As per rtj70's earlier post the chassis is the key, a good chassis will provide optimum mechanical grip, in some circumstances TC and / or ESP are able to overcome some of the shortfalls in the chassis. That being said a good chassis with well set up ESP and not too intrusive TC is perhaps ideal.
BBC electronic stability control - Red Baron
Manufacturers that claim many XX percent in accident reduction will have selectively broadcast the information.

ESP, traction control, abs, 20 airbags, suspension with foresight, auto-sensing everything all contribute to a false sense of security to driving. Some people will suffer from the invincibility syndrome which is even more fatal than putting a bad driver behind the wheel.

With all that invincibility, no wonder we need more crash protection.

My cars 'only' have ABS and airbags. I have to brake like an idiot to get ABS to engage. The airbgs are getting bored from inaction.
BBC electronic stability control - Dynamic Dave
ESP incorporates TC.


True, but one controls acceleration, whereas the other assists stability.
BBC electronic stability control - cheddar
True, but one controls acceleration, whereas the other assists stability.


If pulling away in an ESP equipped car it is TC that will control wheelspin.
BBC electronic stability control - cheddar
>>
>> True, but one controls acceleration, whereas the other assists stability.
>>
If pulling away in an ESP equipped car it is TC
that will control wheelspin.


Sorry, that is in the context of rtj70's post "Drove a Passat 1,9 PDI with 130bhp. Turn of the ESP and the front wheel could easily spin...."
BBC electronic stability control - Dynamic Dave
Sorry, that is in the context of rtj70's post


Exactly.
BBC electronic stability control - cheddar
Exactly.


Nice to concur ;-) my "sorry" etc was because it was perhaps not clear to anyone else what we were on about.
BBC electronic stability control - rtj70
It was the TC part included in ESP I was referring to. The Passat I drove had an ESP button and would easily lose grip with it turned off. But with it turned the light never came on although I'd proved it was doing something.

Then again the previous model Passat even with the "sport" lowered suspension was pretty poor for handling and rolled a lot when going round twisty roads. The Mondeo I have now is a lot better in this respect.
BBC electronic stability control - rcspeirs
Aren?t we missing the point?
Those of us who read this forum are a self selecting bunch who ARE interested in cars/bikes and have a good appreciation of how ice/rain will affect the handling characteristics of our vehicles. So - ESP is rarely likely to be of any benefit to us. But surely ESP is to help those who ARE NOT interested in cars/bikes. They have no interest or no clue about these issues, and are more likely to get themselves into situations where ESP could save their lives.

However. Just to argue against myself - even if you think you?re a smart driver, you can still make a mistake. I was driving a rented Corolla Verso last January. Probably driving harder than I should, given that I thought the Verso was vile to drive and I knew there was a possibility of ice. Indeed I hit black ice in the middle of a corner. All sorts of lights flashing on the dash and loud ?bong bong bong? noises telling me that I had been stupid - but we made it through the corner and stayed on the road. Very impressive.
BBC electronic stability control - Dulwich Estate
Didn't I read somewhere (here?) that ESP came in very handy for someone when a tyre blew out at high speed on the motorway. That's what I'm banking on - the very thought of not being able to control a very dodgy handling situation at say 90mph (not in UK naturally) scares me rigid.

Anyway, if your car doesn't have ESP you could always try Extra Sensory Perception to find out what's round the next icy bend!
BBC electronic stability control - barchettaman
The ESP in a Sprinter van saved my bacon a few years ago.
BBC electronic stability control - Glaikit Wee Scunner {P}
The traction control (part of ESP on my 100ps Passat) certainly got me up a long snowy hill a few years ago.
I switched it off for a few seconds which convinced me that it was doing something- albeit I was going pretty slowly up the hill.
The stability control kicks in regularly on rippled/damaged tarmac, greasy roundabouts, diesel covered roads, turning out on to main roads quickly etc.
Especially when my tyres get to 3mm or so.
Not at dangerously high speeds I have to say. I'm convinced.
--
I wasna fu but just had plenty.
BBC electronic stability control - DP
All sorts of lights flashing on
the dash and loud ?bong bong bong? noises


This is all the justification you need to abandon it by the side of the road and set it alight, vile to drive or not.

Cheers
DP

BBC electronic stability control - nutty_nissan
I suspect some comments to this post are based upon artificially inflated egos, as in, I'm such a good driver, I would never need ESP. On some cars, you can turn it off with a switch on the dash, if you want the "pure" driving experience.

Personally, I believe it to be a wonderful invention that in an emergency helps as much as possible to regain control of the car and avoid a crash. Airbags etc. are useful in a crash, but ESP is even more useful if it helps to prevent a crash in the first place.

My previous car skidded down a country lane after the back wheel caught the edge of the grass verge, and I ended up hitting a tree and rolling over. I truly believe that had ESP been fitted, I would have had a much stronger chance of keeping control of the car.


BBC electronic stability control - pd
However good a driver you are, or perhaps more importantly think you are, ESP is almost certainly more intelligent and a better skilled driver and very definately faster. Whatsmore, it's always alert and not trying to find Radio 2 at the vital moment.

The statistics speak for themselves - ESP equipped cars simply crash less often.
BBC electronic stability control - PoloGirl
ESP came as standard on the Golf. I don't need it, and never flew off the road in Polo which didn't have it, but I'd rather it was there than not, especially as we head for icy road season.

What I don't understand is, why I have the option to turn it off, just by pressing the bitton which is easy to do accidentally while reaching for the mint poppets in the centre cubby hole. What would the view be if you crashed while taking a corner and investigations found you'd turned the ESP off?

BBC electronic stability control - Altea Ego
Oh come on PG, its not that easy to turn the ESP off. Plus you have that picture of a skidding car in your speedo if its off.
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TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
BBC electronic stability control - psi
Agreed, but I must admit I am curious about the "what if I turn it off myself and crash" scenario. Would an insurer impart a higher percentage of liability if they were (can they?) to find that you turned off a manufacturers driving aid. AFAIK ESP's main advantage is apparent when you are unlucky enough to have a tyre blowout esp. at motorway speeds, this is where it can be a life saver allowing you to bring the car under control a lot more predictably.
BBC electronic stability control - PoloGirl
Depends on the size of the big bag of mint poppets. ;)

I meant, what if you turned it off intentionally, and then had a crash?

BBC electronic stability control - Martin Devon
BBC electronic stability control - Martin Devon
Accepted.

MD.
BBC electronic stability control - Adam {P}
I could swear that you didn't type a blank post Martin.
BBC electronic stability control - Martin Devon
I could swear that you didn't type a blank post Martin.

Very Funny Ad.

v v b r Martin.
BBC electronic stability control - Altea Ego

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TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
BBC electronic stability control - Altea Ego
I did
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TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
BBC electronic stability control - spikeyhead {p}
I've had a couple of Imprezza turbo's over the years. The second had the ESP turned off.

The car with ESP was great most of the time, handled at all times as if it was on rails, until you went jsut past the ultimate limit and then it got very confused, possibly becuase I was automatically applying opposite lock and this was ocnfusing it. I got caught in the snow ands it was a nightmare. Driving gently along in a straight line, start to go uphill, apply a little more throttle to get up the hill, the turbo would KICK in and the car would just leap sideways.

The car without ESP didn't have the same ultimate grip that the first car did, btu it handled predictably, gentle understeer progressing very smoothly into very contrlable oversteer, jsut apply opposite lock the right amount of throttle and you could hold the back end out forever.

I know which car I prefered driving. I also know which car I'd rather have my mother drive!
--
I read often, only post occasionally
BBC electronic stability control - Pete M
I think that SjB's definition of Active Yaw control (independent braking to the back wheels) differs from the system in my Mitsubishi (97 Galant Estate (Legnum) VR-4). AYC on the VR-4 involves a variable torque differential that can split the power to either side variably. The system works off yaw sensors at each end ot the car which are basically pendulums (pendula?). The signals control which side gets more torque. So if you are oversteering, it puts more torque on the inside wheel to straighten you up, and the opposite for understeer. There are three LEDs on the dash, which act as a bar graph to show how much AYC is working. Getting three bars is quite an effort, but a quick flit through a roundabout will usually show one bar. The end result is very nice cornering, thanks, and it seems to reduce the feeling of how hard you are cornering. It makes the car basically uncatchable on things like roundabouts, but that could also be the Active Stability Control which is also fitted. I think the AYC is also fitted to the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions, after about Evo5. The only down side is that the system needs the fluid changing every 20K miles or so and it needs the special machine at the Mitsubishi dealer to do it.
BBC electronic stability control - mk124
Skipped the body of this thread, but I believe I have crashed because I didn't have ESP. When I get my new car that is an essentail to me. In short I was going down a very slippy minor road and the car over steered a number of times, when I brought the car under control I could not brake in time to stop for the main road at the bottom of the hill. In short I was lucky nothing was travaling along the main road at the time. I stongly feel that my expericance would not have happened if my car had ESP. In a recent thread about adam(P) tyres I expressed that I thought in times of need a predictable handling car was an asset to a non-expert driver. As I understand it ESP makes it much easier for a novie and an expert driver to cope with what the roads throw at you, Just ask tiff Needil what he tested a jag. across a frozen lake.
BBC electronic stability control - Westpig
i think it is a tremendous bit of kit........... as stated above, most interested people i.e. those with more awareness, ought not to need it..........bit it's very handy to know it's there in an emergency

when i bought my car over 4 years ago, i tried it out.... wet tarmac surface, little too much speed and little too much throttle and eventually (gripped more than i thought it would) we're in a tail slide........automatic opposite lock (cos you can't help it)...... yet the car was totally sideways, just when i thought 'oh well it'll be a 180 then' (didn't matter, loads of room) all the lights flashed on the dash & immediately the car starightened up completely....no drama, no fuss, no swing the other way and achieved far more quickly than i could have done it manually.

have never had it happen without provoking it & hope it doesn't have to........but nice to know it's there, because you never know when you might have to do something you normally wouldn't, because you have no choice.
BBC electronic stability control - runboy
Only had it kick in under fairly normal conditions of going round a damp roundabout with a diesel spill. Felt the car going out of shapes but the ESP kicked in and everything sorted. How much of it was due to my control or getting onto a sticky patch of tarmac I'll never know but the whole situation didn't turn into a drama.

Other than that the thing will kick in on snow but then there isn't much else you can do in that situation anyway.
BBC electronic stability control - cheddar
just when i thought 'oh well it'll be a 180 then' (didn't matter,
loads of room) all the lights flashed on the dash &
immediately the car starightened up completely....no drama, no fuss, no swing
the other way and achieved far more quickly than i could
have done it manually.



Rather like riding a Horse, you think you are in trouble though the Horse knows different, the problem is that in both cases, Horse and ESP, if the human takes totally inappropriate action then it can undo all the good.

BBC electronic stability control - Altea Ego
but I believe I have crashed because I didn't have ESP

I you believe crashed because you area poor driver. Your car did not by itself oversteer multiple times. You did, you put the car in that situation,.

Giving you esp does not make you a good driver.

Hey I have crashed because I was driving badly. ESP or ABS would not have saved me.


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TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
BBC electronic stability control - Dalglish
8< SNIP

This, and several other petty argumentative posts removed - DD
BBC electronic stability control - ziggy
Oh come on PG, its not that easy to turn the
ESP off.


My friend turned mine off because he thought it was 'for the CD player'.

I really don't understand all these people who say they don't need it and don't notice it. Your not
meant to notice it..! I've never 'used' ABS, but I am sure as hell it is worthwhile as it aids control
in critical situations. Stomp 'n' steer, it's all you need to know..

I've yet to meet any driver who can brake on 4 wheels individually, regulating the braking
force on each wheel in isolation all within fractions of a second.

In fact I've yet tos ee the car with 4 brake pedals for this purpose..
 

Ask Honest John

Value my car