GMC ‘Control Freak’ Tech Avoids Crashes

StabiliTrak with traction control intuitively makes course corrections on GMC Terrain

2011-04-13


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DETROIT, Mich. – StabiliTrak with traction control, standard on the 2011 GMC Terrain, is a control freak – but in a good way. It doesn’t nag or tell you how to drive, but when a vehicle is about to lose control, StabiliTrak springs into action – and takes charge.

StabiliTrak with traction control is an advanced, computer-controlled system that assists with directional control of the vehicle in difficult driving conditions. StabiliTrak activates when the computer senses a difference between the intended path and the direction the vehicle is actually traveling. StabiliTrak selectively applies braking pressure to the vehicle's brakes, and in some cases, reduces engine power to help steer the vehicle in the intended direction.

It all takes place in a fraction of a second, without driver input. This “control freak” is there when you need it, and invisible when you don’t.

Performance integration engineer Bret Dick is part of the team that developed StabiliTrak. He describes the life-saving technology as a milestone in taking crash avoidance to a new level.

“The best crash is the crash you avoid,” Dick said. “Active safety systems like StabiliTrak with traction control are designed to keep the GMC Terrain on the road while avoiding spinouts. Future developments will build on this technology to make the roads safer for all drivers.” 

StabiliTrak is the most significant safety feature since the development of the safety belt. It is already making a big difference in improving safety on America’s roads. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, electronic stability control systems such as StabiliTrak have reduced the risk of being involved in a fatal crash by 33 percent during the past 10 years.

General Motors was the first domestic manufacturer to offer an electronic stability enhancement system. GMC first introduced StabiliTrak in its models in 2003. The technology is among many GMC safety technologies designed to protect occupants before, during and after a crash. StabiliTrak with traction control and new features including Rollover Mitigation, Trailer Sway Control and Panic Brake Assist can help drivers avoid crashes.

Other technologies on the GMC Terrain, such as head curtain side air bags, help protect occupants during a crash. After a crash, OnStar’s Automatic Crash Response alerts first responders to get medical assistance on site as quickly as possible.

Dick’s interest in StabiliTrak engineering was actually sparked at the BMX trails near his childhood home in Rochester, N.Y.

“Racing BMX bikes started a lifelong curiosity into how things work,” Dick said. “Even today, when I see a piece of machinery or electronics, I intuitively start breaking it down in my head to figure out what makes it tick.”

With the 2010-11 winter season being particularly harsh in many parts of the country, Dick said he’s been thanked by customers who avoided crashes in inclement weather, thanks to StabiliTrak with traction control, which will continue to be standard on 2012 models.

About GMC

GMC has built trucks since 1902, and is one of the industry's healthiest brands. Today GMC is evolving to offer more fuel-efficient trucks and crossovers, including the Terrain small SUV and Acadia crossover. The new GMC Sierra Heavy Duty pickups are the most capable and powerful trucks in the market.  Innovation and engineering excellence are woven into all GMCs, including the Yukon and Yukon XL and full line of Sierra pickups. Today GMC is the only manufacturer offering three full-size hybrid trucks. Details on all GMC models are available at www.gmc.com, on Twitter at @thisisgmc or at www.facebook.com/gmc.

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Bret Dick
Bret Dick, performance integration engineer, worked on the team that developed StabiliTrak. Dick said he has been interested in how things work since his childhood as a BMX bike racer.
GMC Terrain
The GMC Terrain with StabiliTrak and traction control helps drivers keep their vehicles under control during challenging driving situations such as emergency maneuvers. StabiliTrak is standard on all Terrain models.

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