All 2009-10 Volkswagens come standard equipped with Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP). ESP has been called the most important safety device since the safety belt and the most important safety advance of this generation. To paraphrase one auto writer, “it’s like having a guardian angel as your co-pilot.”
· Helps prevent oversteer and understeer (fishtailing).
· Uses technology applied in the Stealth aircraft to keep it aloft to measure the spin of the vehicle.
· Applies computer technology to help the driver maintain control.
· NHTSA research found ESC could save 10,000 lives a year.
Multiple studies from the U.S., Europe and Asia have concluded that vehicles equipped with ESC have in the range of 35 percent fewer crashes. NHTSA studies conducted specifically in the U.S. concluded that passenger cars equipped with ESC experienced a 30 percent reduction in fatal single vehicle crashes. The same study concluded that SUVs equipped with ESC experienced a 63 percent reduction in fatal single-vehicle crashes. The NHTSA research saw a reduction in crashes that also involve a rollover by more than 70 percent. The studies conducted by NHTSA and others reached similar findings when it came to reducing the incidence of crashes overall: vehicles equipped with ESC saw a significant net reduction in crashes. The agency predicts that ESC could save 10,500 lives and prevent between 168,000 and 252,000 injuries every year. That equates to more than $40 billion savings in economic losses in the U.S. alone.
One independent study conducted in 2006 by the prestigious Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) concluded that ESC could prevent nearly one-third of all fatal crashes and reduce the risk of rolling over by as much as 80 percent.
ESP takes advantage of the great advances in electronics that have occurred in the past 20 years to be in the vanguard of active or primary safety systems. ESP is the sum of three functions — antilock brakes that enable individual braking and control at the four comers of the vehicle, traction control which affects acceleration, and yaw control that addresses the spin of a vehicle.
ESP is a vehicle control system comprised of sensors and a microcomputer that continuously monitors how well a vehicle responds to the driver’s steering input and selectively applies individual brakes and modulates engine power to help keep the vehicle traveling along the path indicated by the steering wheel position. If an unstable condition develops — such as a sudden evasive maneuver or going too fast through the curve of a freeway exit ramp — within a fraction of a second, ESC intervenes via engine electronics and the brake system to help align the vehicle with where the driver is pointing the vehicle.