Today, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about one of the great options available on the Cascadia. Freightliner has teamed up with WABCO to offer an enhanced stability control (ESC) system. By combining roll stability control with directional stability ESC reduces the steering effort typically required to correct skids, slows the vehicle to prevent potential rollovers and decreases the risk of veering off curves or uneven roads. The system accomplishes this by continuously monitoring the vehicles individual wheel speed, driver steering and braking, lateral acceleration and yaw rate. When it senses a potentially hazardous condition (often before the driver recognizes it himself) ESC kicks in to help the driver regain control of the vehicle, either applying individual wheel end brakes, activating and engine retarder and/or cutting engine power.
This is the type of system that as a driver you don’t want to experience. One of my fears in the past was this electronic system would take over driving the truck which would then take the control out of my hands. Unfortunately, one day it was my turn to experience it first hand and here’s the short version of what took place… On a rainy day, I was traveling over a hill on I-59 in Mississippi when a truck which was passing me suddenly began braking very hard. I could not see over the hill and thought to myself “something must really be going on for this guy to be trying to get stopped so quickly”. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see a car behind the truck in the passing lane being hit by a pick up truck. To avoid the collision, under full braking power, I turned my truck towards the shoulder of the road. At this point, I was able to see the reason why the truck next to me had tried to stop so abruptly… there appeared to be approximately 15 vehicles scattered all over the highway. Unfortunately, a car was sitting in the shoulder of the road in the spot where I was headed and luckily I was able to steer the truck back onto the highway before coming to a complete stop. After I was stopped, I was amazed that I made it through this incident without touching another vehicle. This entire scene took place in mere seconds and the ESC never took over any driving, however, it massively assisted me in controlling the truck exactly where I wanted it to go. I don’t think there would have been any way for me to get through that situation with a traditional braking system. I’m sure glad that I chose this added safety feature on my Cascadia. Till next time… be safe,