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How to Regain Control of a Skidding Vehicle

Skidding can occur for various reasons and in different ways, and accidents can be avoided in most circumstances.

If you have to drive in difficult weather conditions or on slippery surfaces, prepare yourself ahead of time to know how to regain control of your vehicle.

  • Skidding occurs when there is more water or sand in front of your cars’ wheels than it can push away. The tires then lose traction when the water or sand flows between them and the road. You can prevent this by driving slowly in rainy conditions or on sandy surfaces and by ensuring that your tires are not worn or under-inflated.
  • When you lose control of your car, never brake hard. If you lock the wheels, the skid will become worse. Take your foot off the brake completely, or else apply the brakes very gently, until you are back in control.
  • If you have a car with manual transmission, depress the clutch. Otherwise shift to neutral.
  • In case of rear-wheel skids: steer in the direction that you want the front of the car to go. If it skids in the opposite direction, counter-steer. Go on steering until the car is back under control. If you over-correct a skid in a rear-wheel drive vehicle, it will skid in the opposite direction, so keep the steering gentle. When the skid ends and you can keep the vehicle straight, switch back into drive and slowly accelerate until the tires have full traction on the road.
  • In case of front-wheel skids: You won’t be able to steer, so simply wait until the tires re-grip the road. This usually occurs quickly. The wheels often turn side-ways in the skid, which helps because it applies side-ways braking pressure. Once the wheels have traction, shift out of neutral and accelerate gently.
  • In case of four-wheel skids: Steer in the direction you want the car to go, which typically means in line with the road. When the tires regain traction, you will then be ready to shift back into drive and gently accelerate.

How to Regain Control of a Skidding Vehicle

Many drivers have experienced the terror of losing control while driving, and some have been involved in a motor vehicle accident.