How to stop my brakes from locking without ABS

What is the Purpose of ABS Brakes?

The purpose of ABS brakes is to prevent the car’s wheels from skidding during hard braking. They prevent the wheels from locking up, and make it easier for the driver to steer when braking firmly.

The system allows the wheels to keep turning while braking to reduce the chances of the car skidding.

A brake disc and caliper
A brake disc and caliper

When wheels lock-up under braking it’s a particularly dangerous situation as the driver loses all control of the vehicle’s direction, and it takes longer for the car to come to a halt.

ABS brakes also form part of the car’s electronic stability control system which helps the driver retain control of the vehicle in extreme situations. It’s something that’s fitted as standard to modern cars.


Braking for Fast and Slow Corners

A common mistake for amateur drivers is that they often use the brakes too much. It sounds really simple when I tell them to “brake less” but it’s tough to get right.

If you’re braking for a slow corner – where you require one or more downshifts – you’ll want to reach the maximum braking capacity of the car in order to decelerate as quickly as possible.

If you need to reduce speed for a faster corner however – where we’re likely not changing down – it’s usually better to brake with less pressure over a bigger distance. Fast corners are all about being smooth, with the whole car. If you stamp on the brake just before you turn, you’ll transfer the car’s weight too quickly and unbalance it.

However, if you ‘brush’ the brakes with less pressure, you get much less weight transfer and so the car will feel more stable through the corner. And when the car’s more stable, you can carry more speed. The diagram below is copied from my data around two corners at Silverstone, showing that I’m braking with significantly less pressure going into the faster corner – in order to unbalance the car as little as possible.

Is it Legal to Disable ABS Brakes?

The legality of disabling ABS brakes is disputed. It could be argued that it would be criminally negligent if the ABS brakes were purposely disabled and the car was involved in a crash.

Car manufacturers make it difficult (sometimes impossible) for owners to disable the ABS, but it can be possible. 

Disabling any safety system is a controversial thing to consider doing, particularly one that’s going to help you stop a car safely in an emergency situation.

Some car owners choose to disable their anti-lock brakes temporarily to diagnose issues, but we’d advise using caution and not taking your car onto the public roads if it is disabled.

Not only would your insurance company have something to say about it if you were to be involved in a crash, but the police would also be interested in why you’d purposely disabled a system designed to save lives. 

There are stories of police forces pushing for prosecutions in this scenario.

How does ABS (anti-lock brakes system) work?

A car with ABS fitted has sensors on each wheel that measure its rotation speed, whether it’s accelerating or decelerating – these sensors were pioneered in ABS but are now used by a variety of different safety systems on your car, including traction control and stability control.

Stamp on your brake pedal and, in the context of ABS, these sensors are poised to detect a locking wheel, the minute one is detected, the sensor sends a message to the ABS control module, which counter acts the lock by rapidly increasing and decreasing pressure, essentially turning the brakes on and off many times in a second, which is why you feel a pulsing sensation through the brake pedal. 

The pulsing brakes mean the wheels continue to turn as the car slows and you can, hopefully, steer around the impending collision.

Should I Use My Brakes Without The ABS System?

So, now that we have established that brakes do not need the ABS system to properly function, a new question now arises of whether or not you should use your brakes without ABS. 

Using Brakes Without ABS System:

  • Not recommended for safest practice 
  • Should be fixed as soon as possible 

The answer to this question is no, this is not recommended for the safest practice. The ABS system has so many built in safety features that will pick up where you are lacking when it comes to braking. 

If you ever find yourself in a situation where your ABS system is broken or out of commission, you should take immediate action to get it fixed so you can have it back up and running for the next time that you drive your car, because you never know when you might need it. 

How to turn ABS off

Changing your braking settings couldn’t be easier in F1 22. From the home menu, select "Game options" then "Settings". From there, you need to go to "Assists" and navigate down to Anti-Lock Brakes.


click to enlarge + 3 You can change your braking settings at any time in F1 22

It should also be noted that there is the option to change your braking assist too. The braking assist is basically a self-braking system that the computer automatically applies. To turn ABS off, you’ll need to turn this off too.


If you have braking assist turned all the way up, you won’t have to manually brake, the game will do it for you. We recommend you turn this off, as it leads to worse lap times and removes a lot of challenge from the game.

If you’re in My Team, or another single player mode, you can turn off ABS before a racing weekend starts by pressing options on PS (Menu in Xbox) in the loading screen. Alternatively, ABS settings can be edited from the pause menu during a race weekend.

Braking With Traditional (Non-ABS) Brakes

Traditional brakes are pretty simple: you push the brake pedal, the brake pads apply pressure, and the car slows down. But on a slippery surface, it's easy to clamp the brakes hard enough that the wheels stop turning and begin to slide on the road surface. This can be very serious, as it causes the car to skid unpredictably out of control. Hence, drivers learned techniques for preventing that kind of uncontrolled slide. 

The technique is to firmly pressure the brakes until the tires are just about to break loose, then let off slightly to allow the tires to resume rolling. This process is repeated in rapid succession, “pumping” the brakes to get the maximum braking grip without skidding. It takes some practice to learn how to sense this "just about to break loose" moment, but it generally works pretty well once drivers have practiced and mastered the technique.

How a Brake Pressure Trace Should Look

Many racing cars that use data logging systems will record brake pressure throughout their driving sessions. When I’m coaching a good driver, this is what we’ll spend most of our time analysing – it’s probably the most difficult aspect for amateur drivers to get right.

As you can see in the diagram below, we have a data trace that compares brake pressure (y-axis) versus distance (x-axis). It shows a typical brake trace for a corner that requires a reasonable amount of deceleration.

Let’s run through the diagram, thinking about our inputs into the car as we go. The steps are as follows:

  1. Transition from throttle to brake pedal
  2. Squeezing on brake pedal and increasing to maximum braking capacity
  3. Modulate pressure to stay around the grip threshold
  4. Easing off the brake pressure smoothly

Phase 1: The movement from the throttle to brake pedal must be as fast as possible. Any time lost here isn’t huge, but it’s still time lost.

Phases 2: When we are applying the brakes we don’t want to shock the car, which will cause it to break traction. In the same breath, we don’t want to take too long to get to maximum braking capacity. It’s a fine line to get this perfectly and this phase requires a lot of feel.

If your inputs are refined enough, you can begin to feel when the tyre starts to under rotate – something we’re going to go over in the next section of this article.

Phases 3: Next, it’s a case of modulating brake pressure to keep the car at maximum deceleration and around the threshold of grip.

Phase 4: Finally, as you’re approaching turn-in, you’ll begin to smoothly release the brake pressure, so the front of the car rises to a balanced platform (see weight transfer article here). Hopefully, at this point, you’re at the correct speed and on the perfect racing line. If so, you’re almost halfway to taking the perfect corner!

Part 2 of 3: Swerve around the obstacle

Once you’ve neared the deer on the road and slowed as much as possible, you’ll need to swerve around it to avoid a collision. Here’s the best way to swerve without losing control if you don’t have ABS.

Step 1: Stop pressing the brake pedal. Lift your f

Step 1: Stop pressing the brake pedal. Lift your foot completely off the brake pedal.

If you have a standard transmission, continue to press the clutch all the way in. Your goal is to have the car rolling neutrally, or coasting, in as much of a balanced and controlled manner as possible.

At this point, you need to decide which way to go around the deer – left or right – and commit to your decision fully.

Step 2: Turn the steering wheel with both hands. K

Step 2: Turn the steering wheel with both hands. Keep your hands at the 9 and 3 positions on the steering wheel.

Use only the steering motion this hand position allows. If you use more exaggerated steering than this, you’re highly likely to slide or spin out.

  • Warning: Letting go of the steering wheel or turning hand-over-hand is a sure way to lose control.

Step 3: Once you’ve swerved clear of the deer, ste

Step 3: Once you’ve swerved clear of the deer, steer back into your lane. If there is oncoming traffic or another obstacle, this may need to be another quick movement.

Do not release the steering wheel. Just turn the wheel in the other direction to get back into your lane of traffic.

  • Note: It’s a common mistake at this point to oversteer or press the gas. Resist the urge to do either as you’re highly likely to spin out.

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