What is a Brake Assist System & How Does it Work?

If you’ve ever driven on a plain highway, you’re probably familiar with the sensation of spacing out behind the wheel. A situation where a brake assist system will work wonders. You might have even wished that the car could drive itself. 

Consider the following scenario: You’ve chosen a lovely day to pay a visit to distant relatives. You and your vehicle are consuming highway miles. Life is good when you are playing your favorite songs and an open sunroof letting you get an in-car tan. In fact, you’re gently hypnotized into a driving trance until you reach the top of a hill, only to be greeted by a parade of brake lights ahead. Fortunately, your car comes to a stop just feet away from the nearest vehicle. You breathe a sigh of relief as you recall the car dealer mentioning brake assist the day you bought your trusty car.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Let us learn more about this amazing technology that can be your lifeboat in the sea.

What is a Brake Assist System?

Brake assist is an advanced safety system that is becoming increasingly common in new car models, including family vehicles. Brake assist systems or emergency brake assist, in essence, aid in reducing stopping distance when an emergency brake is applied in a vehicle. But how exactly does brake assist work?

  • This feature is intelligent enough to identify when the driver is panic braking, most likely in an attempt to avoid bumping something, and responds by applying maximum brake pressure.
  • When the driver applies massive pressure to the brake pedal suddenly and while traveling at high speeds, the brake assist system works in tandem with the anti-lock brake system, which is standard on almost all modern vehicles.
  • While the anti-lock system ensures that the brakes do not lock the wheels, swerving the car further forward than intended, the brake assist system guarantees that maximum braking power is provided when necessary.
  • As a result, vehicles with brake assist have a relatively short stopping distance than vehicles without such a driver aid.

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Why is There a Need to Use a Brake Assist System in a Vehicle?

Why would a driver want brake assist with all of the other braking functionalities already currently offered on a typical car? In the real world, there is a need for Emergency Brake Assist Systems, and here’s why:

  1. In a nutshell, brake assist is concerned with safety. Simply put, studies show that most people are too hesitant to apply the brakes in case of emergencies.
  2. A driver-adaptive system is what automobile engineers refer to as brake assist. To put it another way, the electronics that regulate brake assist indicator and monitor the driver’s normal driving trends, including braking.
  3. The system can tell the difference between decelerating at a stop sign and coming to a complete stop when a child or animal runs out into the street.
  4. Active Brake Assist is a relatively new technological advancement that applies hydraulic pressure to the brakes milliseconds before a collision. This allows more stopping power to be delivered to the brakes sooner.

What Happens When Brake Assist is Activated?

The emergency brake assist system employs an electronic control unit. If the driver presses the brake pedal with a certain speed and force, the electronic control unit detects an emergency.

As a consequence, the unit tends to increase the braking power to further slow the vehicle. Another cool feature of this brake assist system is that it can recollect and modify the driver’s braking habits.

This may require adjusting the system’s preprogrammed thresholds to adjust the normal force and speed of the driver’s foot pressure. As a result, it does a superior job of initiating the brake assist in an emergency.

What are the Benefits of Using a Brake Assist System Over Anti-Lock Brakes?

  • This feature includes a brake booster system, which typically employs either engine void or an electric motor to decrease the amount of force required by the driver to apply to the brake pedal in order to attain the intended level of the vehicle braking.
  • In vehicles equipped with brake assist, a sensing system detects when the driver is pressing hard and rapidly on the brake pedal with the intent of coming to an emergency stop. The brake booster system is then activated by a control system to maximize the braking at critical points.
  • Brake assist allows for more braking than would be possible with tentative driver action. The system can completely avoid a collision or, at the very least, reduce the effects of an accident that does occur by lowering the vehicle’s speed as much as plausible.
  • Some systems employ an adaptive learning technique in which the sensing and control system screens the driver’s braking pattern and recognizes non-emergency and emergency braking characteristics.


You don’t have to be an automobile visionary to realize that with some fine-tuning or perhaps more computing power, these technologies could eventually lead to self-driving cars. This could drastically reduce collisions. That sounds fantastic, but are people willing to give up control of their car to a computer in return for increased safety? 

Cars and trucks are still affiliated with the liberty of personal transportation and a sense of personal control in many cultures. What is certain is that technologies like brake assist, enabled by quick-thinking electronics, will carry on making driving a much safer proposition.


What type of alerts does a brake assist system have?

The service brake assist light is one of the warning lights on most modern cars’ dashboards. The ABS light is another brake system-related warning signal.

The service brake assist light indicates a faulty brake sensor. It may also reveal insufficient brake pedal pressure to properly engage the braking system.

Can you reset a car brake assist by yourself? 

Disconnect the positive battery cable from your vehicle and push down on the brake pedal until the vehicle’s electrical system is fully exhausted. If there is no stored electricity, the car’s system will be reset, and the warning light will turn off.

How effective is a brake assist in a car? 

According to Mercedes-Benz, in an emergency stop, 99 percent of drivers either do not apply full brake pressure or applied it too late. When Mercedes first introduced brake assist to the market in the late 1990s, the company claimed that it reduced stopping distance by 45 percent.

What type of crashes are prevented by brake assist? 

Some drivers fail to brake hard enough or quickly enough during an emergency stop, resulting in more serious collisions than would otherwise be the case. Brake assist systems fully apply the brakes in order to avoid or reduce the severity of a collision.

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