Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is a safety technology that helps prevent or reduce lateral vehicle movement, which can cause a skid. It decreases the likelihood of the vehicle skidding so you can bring it back under control. But if the sensors notice that your wheels are turned to the left, but the car is steering to the right, it knows you're skidding sideways. To help you out of it, it uses some or all of the components of the ABS and traction control systems, including targeted wheel braking and engine power reduction to bring everything back in line with the direction of the wheels, and the driver back in control of the vehicle.
It works when the front or rear wheels lose traction and the vehicle begins to skid. It continuously monitors the vehicle, in all weather conditions, and activates automatically when necessary. It can be temporarily deactivated on some models, but will re-engage by default the next time the engine is started. You can search by vehicle year and make to see a list of models that have ESC as a standard or optional feature, as well as models that do not have ESC as an option at all.
If you notice the DSP, ESP or ESC light coming on, it's a good idea to have it checked by a qualified mechanic. In short, ESC is supposed to help keep the vehicle moving in the same direction the driver wants to go. Systems such as traction control and anti-lock brakes help us maintain control during acceleration and braking, but electronic stability control (ESC) is designed to prevent loss of control in other circumstances. If an ESC system determines that a vehicle is not responding correctly to steering, it is able to take corrective action.
All major automobile manufacturers offer some form of ESC; these systems can be found in cars, trucks, SUVs and even motorhomes. Since electronic stability control is essentially an extension of ABS and TCS, it is usually safe to drive a vehicle that has a malfunctioning ESC. Although all ESC systems function basically the same, there can be small differences between them, which is why car manufacturers often assign their own names to their systems. The reduction in fatal single-vehicle rollovers is the most dramatic, and drivers with ESC are 75% more likely to survive such accidents than drivers without ESC.