One of the most terrifying things that can happen when you are driving is losing control of your vehicle due to skidding. If this happens, staying in control of the moment and maintaining your composure can help you to get through the skid safely. It will also help if you learn a bit more about why skidding happens and exactly what to do if your car skids on ice or other slick road conditions.
Why Skidding Happens
The biggest cause of skids is a lack of traction. If your tires cannot connect with the roadway due to ice or water, it creates the perfect scenario for them to slide. All four wheels of your vehicle may slide, which often makes it shift to the side. Or you may have just front or rear tires slide, which can cause you to go into a circular motion or to fishtail, which is where the rear end of your vehicle slides to the right or left.
The Basic Technique
In general, no matter what type of skid is occurring or what the road conditions are, you will follow the same general procedure to regain control of a vehicle in a skid. First, stay focused and do not panic. Second, release the gas and do not brake. Third, you want to steer into the skid, and finally, straighten your wheels and resume driving as normal. Let's look a little more into each step:
Although you have to react quickly, you want to do so with a calm demeanor. Jerking the wheel, slamming on the brakes or pressing the gas could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or collide into something. Instead, hold the wheel firmly, keep your eyes focused on the road and stay calm.
Release the Gas
You need to slow your vehicle down so there is less power to keep your car skidding. However, this does not mean you should press the brake. This will only increase the skid and your problems. You just want to let your foot off the gas and not touch any pedal until you are out of the skid.
Steer Into the Skid
This is where you start to take back control if you do it correctly. Many people do not understand what it means to steer into a skid. If you are driving on ice or slick conditions and your car starts to skid, you want to turn your steering wheel in the direction you want your car to go, but do so gently. It generally only takes a slight movement of the wheel.
One note here: sometimes steering into the skid does not correct the issue. In that case, you want to straighten your wheels. This can sometimes help them to regain traction and get you back in control.
Traction Control Systems
Most modern vehicles have some type of traction control system that can help cut down on skidding issues. However, these systems can only do so much. All drivers should still know how to control a car when skidding.
Ideally, you want to avoid getting into a skid in the first place. While you cannot prevent every skid situation, there are things you can do to minimize your chances of it happening. You should always reduce your speed on wet roadways and especially when navigating turns. Minimize situations where you may have to brake fast by increasing the distance at which you follow other vehicles. Finally, make sure your tires are properly inflated. Tires that are over or underinflated can increase the chances of a skid because they do not connect with the road the way they should, which gives you less traction.
When the Skid Wins
Of course, at Sun Auto Service, we want you to safely get out of a skid with no damage to your vehicle. Unfortunately, that does not always happen through no fault of your own. If you find yourself in an accident because of slippery roads or careless drivers, schedule an appointment with us for all your service and under-the-hood repair needs. Our ASE-certified technicians can get your vehicle back on the road quickly and cost-effectively.