Brake assist is a provision that increases braking power when the computer detects that the driver is making a panic stop. Research has shown that drivers seldom apply enough braking pressure in a panic stop, resulting in collisions that could have been avoided. Brake assist detects rapid application of the brake pedal and increases the assist pressure in the power brake booster. This results in greater braking force for a given pedal position, which might help stop the vehicle short of a collision. As soon as the driver lets up on the brake, even a little, brake assist releases. Originally included in luxury vehicles, brake assist is rapidly becoming common in more affordable vehicles with antilock braking systems.

Drivers may be wary of any system that “takes over” control of the vehicle, but in my experience, brake assist is minimally intrusive. Cars equipped with it simply seem to have very effective brakes.

Information for this was taken from Cars.com’s glossary, written by Joe Wiesenfelder.

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Answered by Joe Bruzek on June 12, 2008 in Glossary , What Does This Mean? | Permalink

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