Losing control and skidding is perhaps one of the most frightening things that can happen while driving, and many people react in exactly the wrong way. Your natural instincts and panic response will tell you to do the very things that will turn a skid into a spin or worse. It si important to know what to do in a skid in order to recleim the situation, which, you will be relieved to hear, is definitely possible to do.
Losing traction and skidding
The causes of skidding while driving are many and varied, but being able to anticipate factors which may lead to a skid are important in preventing one.
- Slippery or low visibility driving conditions must always be a trigger for slower and more careful driving. If you find yourself driving in wet, snowy or icy, muddy or off – ashphalt conditions you will need to remove some speed and take care
- Ensure your tyres are always in excellent condition and equally as important, at the right tyre pressure to improve traction
- Cornering is another common site for skids to occur. The safest driving technique for corners and tighter bends is to decelerate gradually into the turn, and gently accelerate out of it, making sure that the vehicle always feels in control
- Many modern vehicles have anti-skid technology such as ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) that helps you avoid and control skids, but don’t get complacent – the onus is still on you to drive safely
What to do in a skid
If you do find yourself in a skid the way out is quite counter intuitive, so you will need to stay calm and remain in cotrol to pull it off.
Simply steer in the direction of the skid.
The natural reaction is to steer wildly away from it. This, however, will send the car into a spin that will be impossible to control. Turn the steering wheel in a controlled way into the direction of the skid, and ease gently up on the accelerator to gradually decrese speed. You may need to practice this so that it becomes second nature – consider a defensive driving course on a safe course. Simple imagining yourself skidding, and doing the manouvre described repeatedly can also help.
DO NOT slam the brakes on, steer away from the direction of the skid, or steer wildly.
The best way to stay safe in a skid is to avoid ever having one! Care and common sense will tell you when you need to alter your driving style to suit adverse conditions, and maintaining your vehicle with good tyres will help you control it in any weather. If you do find yourself in a skid, though, simply steering into it and slowly decellerating will give you the best chance of regaining control.
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