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Topic # 175277 23-Jun-2015 16:20
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I've been wondering this for a while. In light of today's fatality when a ute spun on black ice into path of oncoming bus.

What happens when a car with electronic stability program hits black ice?

Google and youtube have not helped over the last 24 months of wondering.

I have a belief that not all ESPs are made equal, but wondering if anyone knows.

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  Reply # 1330044 23-Jun-2015 16:31
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There are a ton of factors that will play in to what happens - type of vehicle, speed, steering direction, which tyre(s) encounter the black ice, how large the covered area is, type of tyres. Generally a good traction control system will work to reduce the impact of the black ice on the vehicles handling, but if it's a large section and all four wheels lose traction for a sustained period as a result, it's probably not going to be fun no matter how many stability systems your car has. That said, in my experiences having encountered patches of such ice on state highways at speed, I'm thankful I was in my Evo or WRX at the times.




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  Reply # 1330045 23-Jun-2015 16:33
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Mine works quite well, what I have found is in that split second between deciding what to do and doing it the car acts first. My car does have active steering which literally steers the wheels for you, so it always turns into the skid etc. When the rear goes on ice it certainly reacts faster than I can. If you just gun it in a bend on ice however ...Well it may be the "Ultimate driving machine" but it cant change the laws of physics.

Breaking on ice is a different story.. going down 3 mile in the ice if I NEED to stop it wont help. I have found I am better able to control the car if I turn the active stability control off in this circumstance. having the presence of mind to find the little button before needing it means I am expecting to slide and so have generally slowed down quite a lot.






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  Reply # 1330050 23-Jun-2015 16:37
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From what I have read - if there is no traction to be had, you are screwed regardless, i.e. Big patch = no grip at all regardless of what your wheels are trying to do/ what the computer is trying to do.

If it is a small patch then stuff your tires can grip on it would probably help stop a spin etc.

Depends entirely on the situation I guess.



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  Reply # 1330052 23-Jun-2015 16:41
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yes very good points everyone

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  Reply # 1330151 23-Jun-2015 19:01
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Hope I never have to find out.

Only times I ever activated the ESC on my car has been in relatively safe situations (ie. Too much right foot at the lights, especially in the wet). I did once lose the back end in the rain going into a roundabout a little quick and the cars response was impressively good - but again a fairly low risk situation at fairly low speed.




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  Reply # 1330154 23-Jun-2015 19:07
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used to have a Subaru STI and had pretty lousy tyres. on a rainy day it will lose traction on the rear and fishtail. thankfully i never did a lambo. one rainy day i went round a very tight roundabout at just about full lock and the rear end decided to chase the head. didn't know i had it in me to counter steer instinctively! i can tell you i no longer own that car! (or i should have invested in better tyres but anyhow didn't think that was the car for me)

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  Reply # 1330160 23-Jun-2015 19:17
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Half on topic, I bussed today, my property was wet everywhere as it rained, and froze. 8 minute walk to the bus stop was dicey at times. Everyone I talked to at work witnessed an accident, saw motorbikes or cycles topple. Two of our staff fell, one went to hospital. yet, every car I saw was traveling at regular speed. This was 7am, dark, still -2. Drive to the conditions, not from what I saw. 



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  Reply # 1330164 23-Jun-2015 19:29
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at work i heard that someone's friend fell off the road and half hanging off the harbour ... funny enough i expected the worst freeze on the roads i take, but found nothing, other than the frost on my driveway.

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  Reply # 1330327 24-Jun-2015 05:40
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All the safety features in the world won't really help if it is a zero traction situation. As always it is the loose nut behind the wheel that is the best safety feature of all " always drive to the conditions " if the possibility of ice exists slow down. It is usually pretty well sign posted.




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  Reply # 1330342 24-Jun-2015 08:03
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Electronics? Make me smile.
I spent over 20 years driving on ice and snow wearing spike tires 7 months a year and having chains in the trunk (5 minutes to put them on top of the spike tyres if condition worsen). Electronics is helpless. Chains and spike tyres - are life savers.



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  Reply # 1330349 24-Jun-2015 08:23
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yes of course, but black ice refers to a perfectly normal road that has a patch of ice usually unseen even after going over it. no one in NZ would have spikes or chains over these conditions.

but yes, if you expect ice ... then don't drive if possible, or pray



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  Reply # 1330350 24-Jun-2015 08:24
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i can testify that going down an icy hill with "hill descent control" works really well. even backwards (stupid x trail got stuck halfway up, got passed by all the proper 4WDs and looking rather daft)

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  Reply # 1330358 24-Jun-2015 08:37
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joker97: I've been wondering this for a while. In light of today's fatality when a ute spun on black ice into path of oncoming bus.

What happens when a car with electronic stability program hits black ice?

Google and youtube have not helped over the last 24 months of wondering.

I have a belief that not all ESPs are made equal, but wondering if anyone knows.


My guess - exactly the same thing.  A complete loss of traction is a complete loss of traction.




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  Reply # 1330397 24-Jun-2015 09:30
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RUKI: Electronics? Make me smile.
I spent over 20 years driving on ice and snow wearing spike tires 7 months a year and having chains in the trunk (5 minutes to put them on top of the spike tyres if condition worsen). Electronics is helpless. Chains and spike tyres - are life savers.


Kind of like suggesting you rent a moving truck to help rearrange the furniture in your house. Who's is going to drive from Auckland to Wellington on snow tyres and chains? It'd take weeks. Stability control is literally a life saver in many cases where black ice or similar hazards are encountered.




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  Reply # 1330406 24-Jun-2015 09:43
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ESP test: I've taken it out on flat frosty roads to try to lose control but it just will not. (of course, I didn't do 100 miles an hour round blind corners, it was controlled conditions, clear line of sight, normally no cars around anyway).

but black ice ... I guess it depends on how many wheels have traction as people have said. still will not want to hit one unsighted (no chance to prepare)

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