What is now a standard feature was a major step towards greater traffic safety in the 1980s.

ABS – three simple letters that have probably saved millions of lives around the world. The anti-lock braking system is a safety feature that prevents the wheels from locking up during braking, which in turn, contrary to what many people believe, improves mainly the vehicle’s behaviour when cornering under emergency braking.

Like many systems that these days we take as something natural in our cars, including the electronic stability program, the ABS was initially introduced in the bus and large truck sectors back in the 1980s. One of the first companies to implement the system into its entire lineup was Mercedes-Benz - ABS has been standard equipment on all touring coaches of the brand since 1987 and on all trucks since 1991.

But before that, Mercedes tested the feature on pre-production prototypes to make sure everything works as it should. A new retrospective video from an interesting YouTube channel called OldBenz shows the testing procedure with a number of trucks and buses performing emergency braking on a wet, snowy, and mixed surfaces. It’s horrifying to see a giant machine like a Mercedes bus losing traction and spinning around on the ice like a ballet dancer.

The basic idea of the ABS is based on the principles of threshold braking and cadence braking, something skillful drivers with non-ABS vehicles once practiced. Of course, the electronic system operates at a very much faster rate and significantly more effectively than what most drivers could manage.

In Europe, the ABS is required on all new passenger cars sold since 2004, while the United States requires ABS in conjunction with ESP on all new vehicles since September 1, 2013. The anti-lock braking system is now mandatory for motorcycles as well.

Check out the press release section below for the full history of the ABS.

Source: OldBenz on YouTube