This research presents a rule-based Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) algorithm towards active vehicle safety in Heavy Commercial Road Vehicles (HCRVs). Wheel Slip Regulation (WSR) algorithms, that are constituents of an ABS, are typically either model-based or rule-based. Model-Based Algorithms (MBAs) utilise mathematical models that characterise vehicle dynamics and are intensive in their demand for real-time information. On the other hand, Rule-Based Algorithms (RBAs) operate on set rules with pre-defined thresholds and utilise data from sensors that are typically available on the vehicle. A great deal of advancement has been reported in literature related to MBAs. However, most commercially available RBAs are proprietary in nature and the finer details are seldom revealed. Hence, this work proposes an RBA, which is a combined Slip and Wheel Acceleration Threshold Algorithm (SWATA), including a framework for identifying the importance of thresholds and their magnitudes. SWATA was tested on a Hardware-in-Loop (HiL) setup across varying road and loading conditions, and it provided a maximum of 36% braking distance improvement compared to a case where it was inactive. An adaptive version–ASWATA–is also proposed that can adapt the thresholds according to the particular tyre-road interface. Additionally, a quantitative comparison of the proposed RBA with a Sliding Mode Control (SMC) based MBA, which was developed and tested on the same HiL setup, is presented. It was observed that the performance of the RBA was on par with that of the MBA for most test cases, but with minimal data requirements. © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.