What Is ESP on a Car?

Westend61/(No Collection)/Getty Images

The electronic stability program, or ESP, is an alternate name for electronic stability control, which protects the car with an antilock braking system and traction control system. ESP is a safety system in a vehicle that helps to prevent accidents by keeping the car stable when a loss of traction is detected. It is also referred to as vehicle stability enhancement and vehicle stability control.

The purpose of ESP is to keep the driver in control of the car during hazardous conditions, such as on slippery road surfaces. Skidding is one of the leading causes of car accidents. When the car begins to lose traction, ESP activates by automatically applying the brakes individually. A car’s risk of crashing greatly increases when it begins to skid, and ESP starts working instantly to help prevent an accident. Drivers should note that ESP does not help a car’s cornering performance at any time.