How to prevent and correct skidding in bad weather conditions
Bad weather conditions like snow, ice or rain can turn a safe road into a tricky and slippery one. Here comes the question – how can one prevent a car going into a skid out of control? Driving a car on wet or icy road can be really difficult, many car accidents are usually caused by driver’s errors or their reaction in a stress. These are easy techniques which can keep you safe, teach you to stay focused and prevent from damaging the car.
No doubt, the best way to control a sideslip is not to have one first of all. Read about the four tips which can help you prevent losing control of your car in extreme weather conditions.
Choose the speed according to the weather conditions. Driving at the speed limit can be really unsafe and dangerous in bad weather.
You need to stay extremely attentive while moving on wet or icy road and keep your both hands on the driving wheel. It’s not the right time for phone calls and snacks.
Before turning or rounding a bend decrease the speed – it will help you stay in control of the moving vehicle in the curve.
Remember that you should never slam the brakes on.
If the situation goes wrong, it’s important not to panic and to stay calm. There are simple techniques to correct skidding.
If a skid is a straight-line one, the whole car drifts to one side. If it is sideway, only rear end of the car drifts to one side as the front is pointing straight ahead. Experts call it “fishtailing.”
When you need to correct an ordinary straight-line skid, first of all take off your foot from the gas accelerator. You need to wait till you feel that the drifting stops and the tires again have good traction with the road surface. Then slowly and gradually move to the center of the road lane. If drifting continues even when you take your foot off the accelerator you can tap the brake lightly.
The instructions for correcting a fishtail can sound complicated but they are simple to perform.
The main rule is that you need to turn the steering wheel slowly into the fishtail. In other words when you’re fishtailing to the left side, steer left; if a fishtailing is to the right side, steer right. Remember that it’s vitally important not to panic.
After steering to the side of fishtail, you may feel that the car is straightening out. Then slowly and gradually straighten out the steering wheel. The technique straightens the rear end and keeps the vehicle heading straight. It’s better to notice the fishtail in the beginning and react immediately, so less correction will be needed.
It’s important to mention that if you turn the wheel too far to the side while correcting, the rear end of the car will fishtail into another direction. Don’t panic and repeat this technique in another direction until the drifting stops.
The rule is that no matter whether you’re correcting a straight-line sideslip or a fishtail, you should never slam on the brakes. The trouble is that probably the car can go into a tailspin. Generally you must decrease the speed while still trying to return control of your car. There’s always a chance that another car or a curve may appear in front of you. So slightly pump the brakes.
Using these techniques will help to prevent skidding and keep control of the car. Keep in mind that bad weather conditions lead to many fatal accidents with drivers. Definitely you don’t want to be one of them, so be attentive on the road and keep both hands on your wheel to drive happily.
Andrei Zakhareuski is the founder of Find-a-driving-school.ca. He has been writing for beginner Canadian drivers for several years.
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