WHAT DO TO IF YOUR CAR SKIDSFebruary 9, 2011 | in Defensive Driving Online
A skid occurs when there isn’t enough friction between tire and road. This can happen when driving in wet or icy conditions, stopping suddenly, or entering a turn at a high speed.
A few tips for preventing skids:
1. Make sure your tires have adequate treads. You can check your tires by inserting a penny into the tread upside-down. Lincoln’s head should be at least partially covered.
2. Drive slowly in wet, icy, or snowy conditions.
3. Keep an appropriate distance between you and the car ahead of you, about four car lengths for every ten mph.
4. Slow down before entering a curve or bend. Taking a curve too quickly or braking suddenly while going around a bend can cause skids.
There are two different kinds of skids: front wheel skids and rear wheel skids. We’ll discuss how to deal with these in turn. In any kind of skid, keep two basic principles in mind.
1. Don’t panic!
2. Keep your eyes focused on a target in the distance. Choose a point further down the road, in the direction you are headed, and stay focused on this object.
FRONT WHEEL SKID
A front wheel skid occurs when the entire car starts drifting in a direction other than the driver’s intended course. If your car enters a front-wheel skid, ease off the accelerator. If you are driving a car with manual transmission, depress the clutch. With your eyes focused on your “target,” try to steer the car back on course. If you don’t regain control of the car within 2-3 seconds, THEN depress the brake lightly. If your car doesn’t have anti-lock (ABS) brakes, pump the brakes.
Braking will help to transfer power to the front of the car; braking too suddenly, however, can cause the wheels to lock, which will make the skid worse.
REAR WHEEL SKID
A rear will skid occurs when the back end of the car slides out to the right or left; this is also known as “fishtailing.” Say that the back end of your car suddenly slides out to the right; you don’t want to turn your wheel sharply to the right as well, especially if you are traveling at a high speed. You want to turn to the right JUST ENOUGH to straighten out the car, i.e. bring the front wheels back in line with the rear wheels. This is why focusing on a target is helpful: it prevents you from “over-correcting.” As you turn, slowly ease off the accelerator. Avoid the temptation to brake suddenly.
To read more on a broad range of subjects from “How To Change A Tire” to “How To Jumpstart Your Car”, visit DefensiveDriving.com’s Safe Driver Resources website!
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