Centre for Road Safety

More stable braking

Electronic stability control is a computer-assisted safety technology that helps drivers stay in control and avoid crashes when swerving or skidding. It also assists in correcting understeer and oversteer when cornering.

The electronic stability control is activated automatically when it senses loss of control that could potentially lead to a crash. It works by briefly applying the brakes to one or more wheels to help bring the vehicle back under the driver’s control.

Risks reduced

It is particularly effective in preventing single-vehicle crashes, including roll-over and off-curve crashes. It is also effective in preventing crashes into other objects. Research conducted in the US has shown that electronic stability control can reduce the risk of single-vehicle crashes by about 40 per cent and up to 67 per cent for 4WD and sports utility vehicles.

For electronic stability control to be effective, a vehicle must be driven at a speed suitable for the conditions. Tyre traction on wet or gravel roads is much less than on dry or sealed roads and vehicle speed should be reduced accordingly.

Electronic stability control cannot change the laws of physics and a driver can still lose control if a vehicle is driven unsafely.

Different names

Vehicle manufacturers use different names for the technology, including Electronic Stability Program, Dynamic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Control and Vehicle Stability Assist.

When buying a vehicle, aim for one with electronic stability control as a standard feature. Where it is an option, make sure you add the feature if possible. If a vehicle does not have electronic stability control fitted as standard or available as an option, consider choosing another vehicle.