How ESP and traction control help when driving on snow

Team OD  /
02 Jan 2014 19:54:31 IST

Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and traction control are two of the biggest life saving features offered in cars today. They are the reason why large family cars come with close to 600PS (Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG for example). That kind of power at the rear wheels coupled with wealthy but possibly inexperienced drivers is a recipe for disaster. But one of the biggest reasons why you don't see crumpled sports cars littering the countryside is ESP and traction control. These safety systems let even the clumsiest of drivers safely enjoy big power without needing massive skill.


However, one of the best ways to experience the magic of these systems is when driving in poor, low grip situations in purpose built vehicles. For example, driving in snow in a luxurious but highly capable Mercedes-Benz SUV. Snow driving is characterised by very low levels of grip where the tyres follow the path of least resistance and more often than not you feel the entire vehicle slide sideways as it follows the angle of the snow. Even with four wheel drive systems it's all too easy to get stuck as wheels with less traction dig themselves deep into the snow.

This is where traction control and ESP come into play. Traction control essentially detects wheels that are spinning up and cuts power sent to those wheels. ESP takes it a step further by monitoring the vehicle's direction and the driver's desired direction by monitoring steering inputs. It then corrects the car's path by applying the brakes at individual wheels. ESP helps keep the car under control and prevents unwanted fishtailing. With a good ESP system in place all the driver has to do is gently apply the throttle and make steering connections. The electronics will sort the rest out.

To experience the thrill of driving in snow-covered Gulmarg in GL-Class and ML-Class SUVs and how these advanced technologies can save lives log on to and sign up for the drive. You better hurry, we only have 10 seats on offer!

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