Drivers Fact Sheets

Preventing And Controlling Skids

The possible causes of your vehicle unexpectedly skidding or sliding while you’re driving are varied, but it’s often the result of a perilous road surface. Ice, snow, or standing water can transform the road into a waterslide. Even the slightest mist after a drought can mix with the oils in the road and send your tyres searching for grip.

Sometimes you’ll hit one of these areas and simply have your back wheel slip out of control through no fault of your own. But more commonly, the driver does have something to do with their vehicle entering skid mode. Braking on ice, speeding over road puddles, or flying around a corner on a snowy day can all trigger a loss of traction. But by using the right methods, you can correct the error and avoid an accident.

Prevention

  1. Decelerate before making a turn or rounding a bend on a slippery surface (or even a dry one).
  2. Do not brake hard on a slippery surface.
  3. Keep your speed appropriate for the conditions.
  4. Do not panic when you come upon hazardous road conditions; just concentrate.

Exercise good judgment and be prepared to use skid recovery skills if necessary.

Essentially, to control a skid you’ll need to react against your instincts, instead letting your brain decide to make the opposite manoeuvre. And you’ll need to make this decision in a split second.

As hard as it is to do when the adrenaline shoots through your body, you need to stay calm when you feel your wheels slipping. Don’t stamp on the brake or accelerator pedal, or begin wildly cranking the steering wheel. Not only are these techniques futile, but they’ll actually exacerbate the bad situation you’re in.

Panicking might cause you to do what many people feel is the natural (but entirely wrong) manoeuvre: to steer harder in the direction you want to go, which is opposite from the skid, and force the engine even harder to force the vehicle to comply. This will quickly send you into a spinning slide, completely losing control of the car.

Controlling Rear Wheel Skids

  1. Take your foot off the brake if the rear wheels skid due to hard or panic braking.
  2. Ease off the accelerator pedal if the rear wheels lose traction due to hard acceleration.
  3. Shift to neutral.
  4. Look down the road in the direction you want the front of the car to go and be sensitive to the feel of the car and how it’s responding to your steering.
  5. To regain control of the vehicle, steer gently in the direction of the skid of the rear of the vehicle. Just before the skid ends, bring the front wheels straight. Sometimes the vehicle will skid in the opposite direction, so you may have to repeat the movement until the vehicle stabilizes.
  6. Once the vehicle is straight, return to a driving gear and accelerate gently so that engine speed matches road speed

Controlling Front Wheel Skids

  1. If the front wheels skid from hard braking, release the brake. If the wheels spin from loss of traction due to acceleration, ease off on the accelerator.
  2. Shift to neutral.
  3. If the front wheels have been turned prior to the loss of traction, don’t move the steering wheel. Since the wheels are skidding sideways, a certain amount of braking force will be extended.
  4. Wait for the front wheels to grip the road again. When traction returns, you’ll regain steering control.
  5. Return to a driving gear and gently steer in the direction you want to travel. Gently accelerate until engine speed matches road speed.

Controlling Four Wheel Skids

  1. Remove your foot from the brake or accelerator.
  2. Shift into neutral.
  3. Look and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.
  4. Wait for the wheels to grip the road again. As soon as the wheels regain traction, you’ll wind up in the direction you want to go.
  5. Return to a driving gear and maintain a safe speed.

ABS Braking

This one’s the opposite of the others. If you have the ABS System in your car, don’t pump the brakes or take your foot off the pedal. The system is designed to stop your wheels from locking if you slam to a stop, and allow you to continue to control the car.

If you do wind up pumping the brakes out of habit, they may pulse back against your foot as a reminder you’re not riding them right.

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I confirm I have read the fact sheet ‘Preventing and Controlling Skids’

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Name of Driver……………………………………………………Vehicle Reg…………………………………………