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Safety group promotes driver aids

28 June 2005

Motorists are being advised to buy cars with stability control by experts at crash test programme Euro NCAP.

Stability control dramatically reduces the chances of an accident, research has found

Motorists are being advised to buy cars with stability control by experts at crash test programme Euro NCAP.

The organisation says the systems dramatically reduce the chances of drivers having accidents, by helping them to stay in control if they misjudge a corner or have to swerve suddenly.

It points to Swedish research that shows cars with stability control are in 22% fewer accidents in dry conditions and 32% fewer when roads are wet. Japanese studies show the reductions are between 30% and 35%.

Stability control technology works by automatically braking wheels and sometimes also reducing engine power to rein in skids. It is different from traction control, which simply reduces engine power to allow wheels that have lost grip to regain their footing on the road.

Chairman of Euro NCAP, Professor Claes Tingvall, said: ‘Euro NCAP’s role is to alert the consumer to cars which offer the greatest protection in an accident.

‘However, the safest car on the road is the one which does not get involved in accidents. That is why we are extending our advice to the motorist to cover developments in technology such as stability control.’

Stability systems are standard on many models and have various names. Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) is the most common moniker, but others include Dynamic Stability Control (BMW), Cornering Brake Control (Vauxhall) and Active Stability Management (Porsche).

Whatcar.com editor Iain Reid said: ‘We’d like to see stability control fitted to all cars. After all, it’s just an extension of the anti-lock braking system which manufacturers have now agreed to fit to all models.’

Euro NCAP is working on new tests which will rate how well cars are able to avoid being in an accident in the first place, so-called primary safety, although such tests are still around two years away from introduction.

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