Winter weather has been upon us for a couple of months now, but luckily we haven’t been through too many harsh storms. One of the biggest hazards with winter driving is the risk of skidding out of control, but there are a few precautions to take in order to prevent a skid along with steps to recover from one.
Preventing A Skid
The best way to avoid a skid is to drive safely at all times especially when conditions aren’t ideal. When the sun is shining and the pavement is dry, risk of spinning into a skid is low, but still possible when excessive speed is involved. With every different weather condition you drive in, your driving style should be curtailed to that situation. If you have been driving your vehicle for months or years you have an advantage because you know your vehicle and how it will react in a given situation.
The #1 factor in any given accident is excess speed. Remember drive at the speed that conditions will allow you to safely, Being a few minutes late is better than dealing with an accident report.
Another factor is braking too hard. If you are braking too hard, chances are you are driving too fast. So again comes back to speed. Travel at a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of you. Allow plenty of time to brake in case there is a sudden reason to stop. A good rule of thumb is to keep a 4-car distance between you and the driver in front you.
Over steering in certain conditions can definitely send a vehicle out of control. Smooth, fluid motions will allow for a successful turn without trouble.
Taking a curve or corner too quickly in poor conditions will more times than not send you into a skid. The back end of the vehicle will kick out immediately and the vehicle will begin to spin. Or if conditions are slippery enough, the vehicle will not turn properly, it will remain on a linear path, and cause an accident.
If you have an SUV or truck, you may think that you are inferior or invinsible on the roadways but that is not the case. It all comes down to traction. Yes you may have more tires that are spinning but if you lose traction on even one of those tires, it can send you out of control. AWD and 4WD are certainly safer, but there is always a risk of driving in poor weather conditions, so drive slow and logically.
How to recover from a skid
– Keep both hands on the wheel at all times
– Do the opposite of what landed you in the skid (Braked too hard, let off the brakes)
– Keep your eyes on the horizon to where you want your car to go
– If the rear end of the vehicle skids, turn into the skid. This will turn the vehicle in the opposite direction
– If the front of the vehicle skids, straighten the wheel. This will slow the rotation of the vehicle