Electronic stability control (ESC) is the generic name for a system designed to improve a vehicle's handling and to prevent the driver from losing control when it is being driven close to the limits of its capabilities. ESC is marketed by vehicle manufacturers under a wide range of names, such as 'Dynamic Traction Control', 'Stabilitrak', 'Vehicle Stability Assist', and 'Advancetrac'.
ESC monitors such things as the driver's steering and braking decisions, engine speed, and individual wheel speed and slippage. It then reduces engine speed and/or applies the antilock brakes of individual front of rear wheels to correct understeer or oversteer until stable control has been regained.
ESC cannot prevent a crash if the vehicle exceeds its physical limits, but it helps to make sure that the driver does not lose control of the vehicle under extreme conditions. ESC has been recognized in numerous studies as a very effective safety development. The US National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration has even concluded that ESC reduces vehicle crashes by 35%.