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View Poll Results: Pick One
ABS 225 74.26%
Airbag 78 25.74%
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Old 18th May 2014, 13:31   #1
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Default ABS or Airbag: If you had to pick one?

ABS and Airbag are two safety features offered together or in some cases
ABS alone is available. But we Indians have many vehicle models which neither offer both.

If an OEM offers such an option:

1. ABS is optional
2. Single Driver Airbag is optional
The customer can prefer either both or one feature.

Considering the customer to be Cost and also Safety conscious, which add-on safety feature should he go for ? (limiting the discussion only to hatchbacks, that too for customers who are frequent highway riders and capable of affording only one feature)

Obviously both features can never be compared against each other technically. The question here is, in absence of which feature there is greater threat for the driver- the answer shall solve the confusion of the customer to choose one.

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Old 18th May 2014, 16:42   #2
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Default re: ABS or Airbag: If you had to pick one?

Good question indeed.

I did prefer an ABS is because ABS might prevent an accident whereas Airbag will only be used after an accident has occurred.

ABS is an accident prevention device where as Airbag is a accident survival device.

Also Airbags are very costly to reinstall and they cost a bomb, but yes nothing is more costlier than life.

But it seems in a crash test evaluation ABS does not factor in whereas Airbag increases the crash safety worthiness factor.

Why I decide for a Airbag is, it was seen in the recent crash test ratings that even with Airbags (like Alto) did not farewell so the basic safety feature in a car is:

1)Seat belts and
2) The most important the car chassis itself.

Later comes the airbags and ABS.

I did prefer a car with a sturdy body with ABS rather than going for a car with weak structure and Airbag.

Please note that when I talk of the structure sturdiness/weakness I am talking about the crumple zones and the design of the structure rather than the weight of the car frame.

Well inspite of all this the first and the best safety device is our own brain (speed control) and then everything else.

Last edited by GTO : 19th May 2014 at 12:26. Reason: Typos
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Old 18th May 2014, 17:35   #3
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Default re: ABS or Airbag: If you had to pick one?

Cannot emphasize that the safety is better with one or the other, but if I were to choose I would choose ABS. ABS helps keep the car in control ,so hopefully the impact itself is lesser.
Also you have not mentioned about how many airbags and so I assume we are talking about driver only airbag. So at most it will save the driver..

But again, if I had a choice,I would choose both.
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Old 18th May 2014, 18:03   #4
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Default re: ABS or Airbag: If you had to pick one?

As a question of value for life, I would urge always that both safety aids are chosen and that seat belts are always worn.
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Old 18th May 2014, 18:55   #5
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Default re: ABS or Airbag: If you had to pick one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amit_purohit20 View Post
I did prefer a car with a sturdy body with ABS rather than going for a car with weak structure and Airbag.
Bang on amit. That's exactly my point.

Our preference should be in the order of Preventing accident 1st and then think about what next. In that case the priority will be ABS (If I'm given a second choice, I would prefer ABS + Airbag combo)

Last edited by GTO : 19th May 2014 at 12:28. Reason: PM coming up
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Old 18th May 2014, 19:13   #6
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Default re: ABS or Airbag: If you had to pick one?

Simply impossible to say. ABS prevents or aids in empowering you to prevent an accident, while airbags come into play only once the crash has occurred.

I suppose if you put a knife to my neck and asked me the same question, I would say Airbags. Since I have seen how perfectly good cars, have been deemed fatal without airbags and I do know how to pump the brakes (to mimic the ABS's effect) in case of such a situation.

However, I cannot recommend going in for one over the other.

Last edited by IshaanIan : 18th May 2014 at 19:15.
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Old 18th May 2014, 20:40   #7
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Default re: ABS or Airbag: If you had to pick one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
Since I have seen how perfectly good cars, have been deemed fatal without airbags and I do know how to pump the brakes (to mimic the ABS's effect) in case of such a situation.
If you're capable of mimicking the ABS effect you must be a true superman!
In the days before ABS drivers were taught to "pump" the brake. However, unless you have had proper training and keep current on that technique you're unlikely to do better yourself in an emergency stop then ABS.

In the distant past I have had the pleasure of participating in numerous courses on racing, rallying and something called advanced car control. Basicly a course on high speed driving on ordinary roads taught by ex policemen.

A lot of emphasis is put on braking of course. In one of these courses they had a VW Golf in which you could toggle the ABS on/off with a simple switch. They taught us to brake without the ABS. It's not that difficult, most of us got the hang of it within half an hour or so. Actually, it is not pumping, but slamming the brakes on as hard as you can and then releasing the brake pressure just sufficiently for the wheels not to block.

Never the less, unless you keep really current on that technique it is unlikely to be better/more effective than a modern ABS system. You just stomp on the brakes and that's it. No thinking required, just about the most primary reaction of any driver unless completely brain washed by relentless training.

Two things you need to bear in mind. One, if the guy behind you doesn't have ABS he is very likely to rear end you! Secondly, you need to keep distance from the car in front of you. This is something that I yet have to see in India. Everybody seems to be driving bumper to bumper.

Everybody on this forum is likely to think themselves a better then average driver, but that is highly unlikely, at least statistically. So that means we all have very average reaction times. Have a look at this little article about reaction time:

http://www.visualexpert.com/Resources/reactiontime.html

You can have the best ABS in the world, but if you doing 80 km/h at 5 meters behind the next guy's bumper and he slams his brakes on, you don't stand a chance.

There is some evidence that suggest that as cars have become more advanced in terms of safety, drivers are taking bigger chances. Driving faster, more aggressively, closer to the next car etc. Can't win. At that end it is purely down to attitude towards safe driving, I think. I highly individual choice.

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 18th May 2014 at 20:43.
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Old 18th May 2014, 21:04   #8
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Default re: ABS or Airbag: If you had to pick one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
If you're capable of mimicking the ABS effect you must be a true superman!

Actually, it is not pumping, but slamming the brakes on as hard as you can and then releasing the brake pressure just sufficiently for the wheels not to block.

Never the less, unless you keep really current on that technique it is unlikely to be better/more effective than a modern ABS system. You just stomp on the brakes and that's it. No thinking required, just about the most primary reaction of any driver unless completely brain washed by relentless training.

Two things you need to bear in mind. One, if the guy behind you doesn't have ABS he is very likely to rear end you! Secondly, you need to keep distance from the car in front of you. This is something that I yet have to see in India. Everybody seems to be driving bumper to bumper.

Everybody on this forum is likely to think themselves a better then average driver, but that is highly unlikely, at least statistically. So that means we all have very average reaction times. Have a look at this little article about reaction time:

http://www.visualexpert.com/Resources/reactiontime.html
Thanks for pointing this out. I know that I would be better off with an ABS equipped car than just my skills. Was never suggesting that ABS is useless even to a trained driver. I urge you to go through some of my previous posts on this forum and it will be easy to see that I actively preach the values of a car equipped well in terms of safety.

And yes, I am well aware of how "pumping" your brakes in absence of an anit-lock braking system works. Yes it isn't quite literally pumping. I know because I have been fortunate enough to have been trained in these techniques. Also spent years in a personalized training regime which involved extensive reaction improving exercises atleast twice a week since my trainer knew of my love of go-karting as well as football. However, you do not really slam on the brakes either. Infact you squeeze them which enables you to feel the steering and more accurately dance on the limit of traction.

I also, do stay in touch with these techniques; My mother's 10 year old Wagon R, comes with no safety features, several of my friends also own cars which do not come equipped with safety tech and I do take these cars out for a spin quite often.

I am not suggesting that anyone not buy a car equipped with ABS even if they know how to stop the car on their own. Just answering the OP's question. Note:
Quote:
Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
I suppose if you put a knife to my neck and asked me the same question, I would say Airbags. Since....
However, I cannot recommend going in for one over the other.
Thanks

Last edited by IshaanIan : 18th May 2014 at 21:22.
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Old 18th May 2014, 21:08   #9
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Default re: ABS or Airbag: If you had to pick one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
However, you do not really slam on the brakes either. Infact you squeeze them which enables you to feel the steering and more accurately dance on the limit of traction.
I was taught to really slam on the brakes for two reasons. One is reaction time, see the article, you need to get the brakes working pronto. Second, by slamming on the brakes the weight of the car gets transferred to the front wheels, making it brake more effectively as well. The trick is as I said to slam it on, but not to the point of blocking the rotation of the wheel.

But I'm sure there are different techniques. These days I rely on ABS and a whole bunch of other abbreviations. That is until I start driving my classic cars which have none of the above.

Jeroen
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Old 18th May 2014, 21:18   #10
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I'd say ABS would be preferred if the rule here is ONLY one is allowed but AFAIK it should be ABS+EBD. At least once can get the car to stop or move it away from danger (collision!).

Airbags will be secondary and it depends on the car, type is accident that has occurred (triggers the airbags or no). In some cases cars equipped with airbags do NOT deploy as the impact wasn't high enough or the impact zone (no airbag sensors placed in that area) so there could be a loss of life even when the airbags are present in a car.

If the ABS is equipped then the accident occurring in the first place can be averted somehow by driver's presence of mind.

Moreover these features work in tandem like the SRS-Airbags which means supplementary restraint where the primary restraint are the Seat Belts. That must be worn first to effectively protect the occupants.

But I will love both to be present on the case I choose. No compromise on safety.

Anurag.
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Old 18th May 2014, 21:21   #11
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Default re: ABS or Airbag: If you had to pick one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
I was taught to really slam on the brakes for two reasons. One is reaction time, see the article, you need to get the brakes working pronto. Second, by slamming on the brakes the weight of the car gets transferred to the front wheels, making it brake more effectively as well. The trick is as I said to slam it on, but not to the point of blocking the rotation of the wheel.
Apologies! I had not carefully read what you had to say. Just saw the word "slam" and alarm bells rang in my head
No infact you are quite right. Except I was told that I was to squeeze on them tightly and not slam. Slamming on them suggests that you are just hitting the brakes hard and are insensitive to the limits of the car's traction and once the wheels lock up it will be very difficult to prevent yourself from spinning out.
I guess they were just two separate terms and not really two separate techniques. As I am also aware only of this once.

Last edited by IshaanIan : 18th May 2014 at 21:36.
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Old 19th May 2014, 07:11   #12
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Default re: ABS or Airbag: If you had to pick one?

No choice. Both. Crash may not be due to your driving but some one else's!!
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Old 19th May 2014, 07:20   #13
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Default re: ABS or Airbag: If you had to pick one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mctsiva View Post
ABS and Airbag are two safety features offered together or in some cases
ABS alone is available. But we Indians have many vehicle models which neither offer both.

If an OEM offers such an option:

1. ABS is optional
2. Single Driver Airbag is optional
The customer can prefer either both or one feature.

Considering the customer to be Cost and also Safety conscious, which add-on safety feature should he go for ?
Looking at the driving conditions we have, I would go for ABS instead of Air Bags. With no air bags and buckling up always will save you.

I personally would like to have both. IMO safety features are nothing but insurance. You never know when you'll need it

More on ABS
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKiTAcXK6M4

Last edited by HammerHead : 19th May 2014 at 07:22.
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Old 19th May 2014, 07:53   #14
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Default re: ABS or Airbag: If you had to pick one?

One prevents, the other protects, It is not an "either or" debate, you need both.

Rs 50000 for ABS - a lot cheaper than Rs 1 lakh for repairing the fender bender
Rs 50000 for airbags, a lot cheaper than Rs 2 lakhs for plastic surgery, days off recovering etc.
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Old 19th May 2014, 08:32   #15
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Default re: ABS or Airbag: If you had to pick one?

Given that the car is structurally safe and one had to choose between ABS and an Airbag, it might make sense to choose ABS, because it might help one to avoid an accident BEFORE it happens.

Statitics reveal that an ABS system is activated 4 or 5 times a year for an average driver , whereas an airbag is only deployed when a collision has already taking place. So most people would actually get some use out of an ABS during the life of their car, whereas an airbag is just going to lay there dormant unless it is used.
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