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Stability Control, are you ready for it?



  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    There is no way in Hades that this pro-business

    If it lowers the frequency of car wrecks, it'll be pro insurance business. ;)
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    " ... Unlike ABS, it doesn't require the driver to act any differently than in a vehicle that isn't equipped that way.. "

    kyfdx, Sorry but this isn't true. I've supported ESC
    since the start, goes back aways, but the fact is that most
    people overcorrect in a skid and if you are good and quick
    you can get out of a modest skid that way. If you do that
    with ESC you are going to end up hitting what you wanted to
    miss. The key to ESC is to steer where you want to end up,
    if the eyes find the "exit" then the hands will take the
    steering wheel there and you escape. Problem is that in a
    panic, most people stare at the tree or wall or other car
    in a spin and sure enough that's where they go with ESC.

    There are plenty of forum discussions about Vette drivers
    that tried the old approach and then complained that ESC
    didn't work after the crash. Most after having been told
    what they should have done have agreed that if they had
    known that they would have done it differently.

    BTW, I've got four years on race tracks trying to "Not" have
    the ESC engage, and I haven't always been successful. In
    addition I worked for one of the major gyro suppliers for
    over a decade and got lots of briefings about how the system
    has changed from the first intro in the early 90's by MB and
    the '97 Caddy, '98 Vette introduction. The reason I got a
    2002 Corvette, amazing system.
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    Shifty, if you want to see the system work and how to avoid
    it, feel free to look up the Blue Vette at Sears Point, May
    5/6 NASA event. With a helmet you are welcome to ride, as
    long as you sign the NASA waiver.
    The system engages when the driver is not smooth,
    objective be smooth. However, I have two cases in about
    80+ days on track where I was glad that the system took
    over, once at Sears Point doing about 100mph through turn 1.
    I'm a believer! Problem with wholly depending on human
    skill is that no matter how seldom it happens, bad things
    do happen, the system is pretty nice to have at those times.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    thank you for your post. and you are commenting on educated drivers who have been briefed on proper operation of the system and how to have it aid them (or rather how not to have their actions collide with the automation).

    the general public will not be so well trained and knowlegeable. just as has been with ABS, people were trained to pump their brakes rather than stand on them. so with ABS, they will often not benefit by the technology.

    interesting to me, i've read a report, anecdotal of course on the forums here of a van driver having ESC activate because of a failed sensor (yaw or stearing angle? i don't know) and ending up IN THE ONCOMMING LANE of traffic. I presume the manufacturer may need to work on the yaw sensor and steering angle sensor validation, but I don't know.

    could you theorize on how a failed sensor ended up modulating the brake for 1 tire, and putting someone into harms way?

    another few anecdotes a year or so back on people entering corners at a good rate of speed to have their engine output de-rated, i believe by ESC.

    these are two reasons i'd like to be a late adopter of the technology. besides increased complexity and cost to diagnose and fix, i'm also concerned about the steering inputs colliding with the ESC programming.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,817
    I think in the majority of cases with ESC, the skid never happens....

    The ESC is activated, but the car never leaves the driver's intended path, so no correction necessary...

    If you get into a skid with ESC, I agree... I'm not counting on the driver to do the right thing..


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    the general public will not be so well trained and knowlegeable.

    The ESC studies have shown reductions in accidents and fatalities for this untrained, unknowledgeable, general public.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    i have not read the studies that support your claim. if you've got one that provides specifics w.r.t. how the reductions were estimated or projected (and i highly doubt actually counted) from a large statistically significant sample, please let us know.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,861
    mr. waltrip, he has plenty of other troubles, but i am assuming the vehicle 'had' esc.

    from jayski:
    Michael Waltrip Charged After Vehicle Accident Saturday: UPDATE: Statement from Waltrip: #55-Michael Waltrip is charged with reckless driving and failure to report an accident after a crash on Molly's Backbone Road in Catawba County. The Highway Patrol says Waltrip was driving about 70 miles per hour in the 55 mile-per-hour zone when he went off the right side of the road in a curve around 1:50 a.m. Saturday. His car then traveled back across the pavement and off the left side of the roadway, sliding sideways and striking a utility pole as it overturned. The car then rolled over and came to a rest on its side. Troopers said a witness saw Waltrip crawl out of the vehicle and leave the scene. When a trooper went to his home around 2:30 a.m. no one was there, but when he went back at 8 a.m. he found Waltrip, who admitted he'd fallen asleep at the wheel. Waltrip, with scratches on his face and some deep cuts on his finger, spoke with Eyewitness News about the crash. He said he was on his way home to Sherill's Ford from Charlotte. "I was almost home. I relaxed a little bit and ran off the road," he explained. "I woke up with gravel hitting the car and I tried to correct but it was too late. The seasoned driver says he instinctively got out of his car, and then decided to walk home because he often runs the route and was only a mile away. Waltrip will be in court in Newton on May 14.(
    UPDATE: Michael Waltrip was uninjured in a single car accident Friday night near his home in Sherrills Ford, N.C. The 43-year old was returning from Charlotte, N.C. when he fell asleep at the wheel within a mile of his home and ran off the road, striking a telephone pole. “I am really embarrassed about the accident, but I feel fortunate that I wasn’t hurt,” said Waltrip. “For 25 years I have had a great driving record. I consider myself to be a courteous and safe driver on public roads. I never expected to fall asleep behind the wheel of a car.” The North Carolina Highway Patrol ticketed Waltrip for reckless driving (admitting to falling asleep at the wheel) and failure to notify authorities of an accident in a timely manner.(MWR PR)(4-10-2007)
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    If it was a 2000 or newer Land Cruiser it should have stability control (and it looks pretty new from the photos around the net - pic link).

    Here's the Autoblog story.
  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 5,582
    Amazing he walked away...

    I wouldn't call it a failure of ESC. If you fall asleep and the car's left the pavement when you wake up, there's not much hope. The main capability of ESC in preventing rollovers is in keeping the car on the pavement to begin with, mainly by helping prevent skids. Once it's left the pavement, it can "trip" on something, and roll over, even with ESC (although the newest systems are designed with rollover mitigation in addition to standard skid control).
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    Interesting thing about suspect being a failed sensor. In
    many cases I've heard about researched, the sensor was
    operating properly, what other factors came into play is the
    question. I remember once, folks are gone now, can't hurt
    to tell on myself, but distracted while driving and rear
    ended a parked car. Turned out to be a HS classmate, and he
    thanked me, got a new car out of the deal. My story at the
    time was I swung at a bee and hit the wheel, I was alergic
    to bees so, plausible. Not that anyone ever omits any
    details but it is possible they got confused ...

    Back to the gyro, the one I was most familiar with had a
    built in default mode along with software defaults where if
    the inputs from gyro, steering and wheel speed sensors were
    out of bounds, the system gave a shut off notice. That
    leaves bad input that mimics normal driving, not real big
    window there. The gyro default was that if it didn't have
    self test data that passed the test it also did a self shut
    off with notice. I am not aware of any cases where sensors
    where found to be at fault.

    The software for the full system is usually a car mfg. item
    using various sensors and yes they look for low cost on the
    sensors. Some but not all do pull back on engine power when
    the system engages. Depends on what they are trying to
    accomplish. If using the front brakes is the answer, using
    engine braking shifts more weight forward than just using
    one brake, being more effective. If however, the rear brake
    is called for then keeping power down is better, some have
    figured it out, Corvette being one.

    Most sytems only have one gyro, BMW however, opted at least
    for some time to go with redundant gyros and compare outputs.
    Some gyros can co-exist with other gyros but there are some
    that seem to give bad data when they get together, it is
    pretty complicated for a finance type like me vs. what the
    engineers can discuss. Last I heard there were four main
    gyro producers with two having the Lion share of the market.
    A German Gyro was in the high end MB, BMW, Porsche, etc.
    while a US gyro was in lower end units of those same mfg's.
    I'm about a year out of date on what is going on currently.
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    Ever fall asleep at the wheel, I have, and yes, lucky to be
    alive applies. My MGB carried the scars from that one for
    several years before I sold it. I finally found that
    snacking while driving keeps me awake, what ever works ...
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    I suspect Mr. Waltrip was drunk when this "accident" occured. Most people who leave the scene of an accident and show up 6 hours later are. Oh, he may have fallen asleep... but it was probably as a result of to much booze. :sick:
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I guess this is quite possible -- what better way to avoid a DWI rap than sleeping it off for 6 hours? ;)
  • punkr77punkr77 Posts: 183
    From the IIHS site:
    This is
    important because ESC reduces the risk of
    single-vehicle crashes by about 40 percent.
    The effect is greater for fatal single-vehicle
    crashes, which are reduced by more than
    half. ESC lowers fatal multiple-vehicle crash
    risk by 32 percent (see Status Report, June 13,
    2006, and Jan. 3, 2005; on the web at
    SUVs benefit most because their high centers
    of gravity make them more likely than
    cars to roll over. ESC decreases the risk of
    fatal single-vehicle rollover crashes of SUVs
    by 80 percent.

    I'll expect the same arguements that were used against seatbelts and airbags citing individual experiences that fall outside of the average. I've had people tell me that they'd be safer if they were ejected from the car rather than belted in. I'm sure there are instances where that's true, but for 99% of crashes it's false.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    but how were these numbers derived? i for one am not saying it's a non-valuable technology nor am i saying it's not a safety differentiator...and i'm not saying i'd never own a vehicle equipted with ESC, i just don't see the basis for those numbers (yet), and i'm concerned with the additional complexity and cost to maintain, and the collision with current driver behaviors.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,861
    esc has limits. many seem to think it is the best thing since sliced bread.
    since he owns a toyota race team, i figure he was driving the latest and greatest model, although i can't tell from the picture.
    the seatbelt probably saved him.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    ... but how were these numbers derived? ... "

    The references to the studies have been posted several
    times and you still say to don't know how they were derived.
    Go read the study introduction, not even the whole thing,
    and you will be enlightened! The one I remember from
    several I looked at in the past took two years of crash
    data for a single model and then took two years of similar
    data when the ESC was standard equip. In a world where 34M+
    passenger vehicles are sold annually in the US and EU, that
    does allow for statistically significant data pools. Since
    ESC is the prime difference and since demographics would be
    similar for the same model over time, pretty good study.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    You're exactly right, and the same methodology was used to prove the real-world effectiveness of both frontal and side airbags (and to show the lack of effectiveness of ABS).
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    I must have followed the wrong link. :blush:
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    I want my next car to have auxillary input, side curtain airbags, bluetooth, good fuel economy, good crash test results, good reliability, reasonable price and stability control.

    It's difficult to find something like that. The Altima Hybrid might have been the one, but you have to buy the $5000 option package to get bluetooth and then you have a $30K plus vehicle. You can't get VDC on the 2.5 non-hybrid at all. The 3.5 is pricey and a gas guzzler.

    No VDC on Sentra and Versa.

    Does any vehicle like this exist now?

    I think I can cherry pick that combination of options on the 2007 base model Mini Cooper, but it would fail my reliability requirement. I also have heard rumors than the 2008 Ford Focus might have this stuff available, but reliability might be subpar and resale value will definately be poor. I have also thought of a Dodge Caliber SXT, but reliability and MPG reports have been poor.

    I think the current best choice is the Camry Hybrid or 4 cylinder Camry XLE with optional VSC unless the 2008 Accord has VSA and bluetooth standard on LX or EX 4 cylinder models this fall. I think the next most likely vehicle will be the next generation Honda Fit or Corolla (2009??) unless Nissan has any plans on making VDC available on Sentras and/or Versas in the next year or so.

    Sounds like I might have to wait until stability control is mandated in 2012 to get this combo in features in sub $25K cars. I don't want a Prius and I don't want a bluetooth headset.
    I'd actually prefer to go down to sub $20K economy cars, but I'll look at cars in the 20-25K range if necessary.

    Any suggestions?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    "I was going to consider the Freestyle. Then I learned that, even though it was based on Volvo S80 architecture and it is marketed as a family-safe vehicle, the Freestyle does not offer stability control...not even as an option. I had just assumed that it would be available. Since that was a mandatory feature for me, the Freestyle was crossed off the list and I eventually got a Nissan Murano (which I had to special order with stability control). For the life of me, I don't understand how Ford can market a vehicle for families, offer airbags, ABS and traction control, yet leave out perhaps the most important safety feature since the seatbelt?"

    Missing Features Pt. 2 (Strategies for Smart Car Buyers)

    Note Joepublic's comment - "But in Ford's defense, stability control probably barely registers on the average buyer's radar. Nobody knows what it is! (Okay, not nobody, but probably less than 10% of the general public)."
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Camry now, or wait to see what's offered on the '08 Accord.
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142,1249,680197183,00.html

    Ref's to safety data including ratings with some ESC cars.

    Discussion of new mandate, I thought it was in place but
    some items seem to say it isn't final yet. Also a little
    discussion of differences in systems like the Ford Roll
    Stability Control which has roll measurement in addition to
    Yaw measurement which all systems have.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    It does seem like the hand writing is on the wall. But I think we all knew deep down inside that some of these things were coming. Soon driving will simply be a matter of getting in and pointing the vehicle where you want it to go. ABS was only the beginning. ESC will be easier to convert to I believe and I am looking forward to the new Cruise control devices that will maintain your distance when you come up behind a slower moving vehicle on the highway.
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    Which companies produce these units for the automakers?

    It seems like their profits should start rising as more and more automakers put it on more cars as the date where stability control becomes mandatory gets closer.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    With more and more vehicle coming equipped with VSC, haven't seen much of a reduction in accidents. Though according to initial reports on VSC they were to reduce accidents by 40-50%
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    There still aren't very many cars with stability control compared to the total population of cars, so the total accident rate is probably unaffected.
    The studies had shown that the reduction of accidents was with those few cars that had stability control.
This discussion has been closed.