Skidding is the cause of automatic panic for most drivers. A skid is normally looked at as a loss of control while driving. However, even the safest drivers may find themselves in a skid. The important thing to remember is that a skid can be controlled.
While in the middle of a skid, the type of skid may not seem all that important to you. All you want is to safely guide your car out of the skid and be on your way. However, for those who are curious, there are three types of skids. The first is the brake skid, which results when your wheels lock. The second is the cornering skid, which is the result of taking a curve too fast. The final type is the acceleration skid, which results from hitting the accelerator too hard and causing the wheels to spin.
~Stay in Control
Now that you know the types of skids, you want to know how to control them. The first and most important control mechanism is to not panic. Panic will make you forget everything you’re about to read. Remember you can usually regain control of your vehicle if you stay calm.
Speed never helps during a skid. Let off the accelerator, but never slam on the brakes. While immediately stopping the vehicle may seem like a good idea, the fact is slamming on your brakes may very well make the skid worse. Gently turn your steering wheel in the direction you want the car to go. Continue to guide the vehicle slowly and carefully until you have regained control. Jerking the steering wheel will only make the skid worse.
~Help from Your Car
Some cars come complete with safety features that help prevent and control skidding. Remember; however, these features will not prevent all skids and accidents. No matter how many safety features are on your car, you should always obey traffic laws and exercise extra caution during bad weather.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) detects and helps prevents skidding. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has determined that ESC reduces the risk of fatal single vehicle accidents by 56%. When ESC detects your vehicle is not going in the direction the driver wants the car to go, it can apply brakes to individual wheels, instead of all four wheels at once.
Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) is a fairly common feature on most current vehicles. This feature helps with braking skids. While letting a computer take over control of your car may not give you a warm fuzzy feeling, remember that ABS has been thoroughly tested and could mean the difference between controlling a skid or not. If your car is equipped with ABS, press down your brakes and hold them, don’t pump. The vehicle’s computer system will take care of the rest.
The best way to control a skid is to prevent one from ever occurring. Since we don’t live in a perfect world, you may find the need to control a skid. Stay calm, guide your car, and utilize any safety features your car may have.