Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

What To Do If Your Car Is Skidding

Car Skidding
ermess / Shutterstock.com

Driving on wet or icy roads can easily lead to dangerous situations when you're behind the wheel. One of the most common of these situations is skidding. While this can be scary to deal with on its own, understanding what you need to do to help yourself safely maneuver the vehicle out of the skid is something that anyone who gets behind the wheel should know.

There are essentially two different types of skidding that are the most common. Over steering is a situation that occurs when you turn the steering wheel, but the rear of the car begins to fishtail or go to the outside of the turn. The rear of your vehicle will start going back and forth in the turn, and this can easily cause you to lose control.

As soon as you realize that your car is over steering, you need to immediately let off the gas pedal. You should not hit the brakes either, so if you've already been braking, you will need to let off of them slowly. For those driving manual transmissions, you will want to make sure the clutch is disengaged. Once you've done these things, you will want to steer into the skid, which means you will turn the steering wheel in the direction you actually want the vehicle to go. Once you have the car moving in the correct direction, make sure to counter steer to make sure it remains on the correct path without skidding again.

Another type of skid occurs when the ice, water or snow on the pavement results in the vehicle making a much tighter turn than you were actually attempting to make. This happens due to a lack of traction on the road, and is most often seen when making a turn onto a street when the roads are icy. If this type of skid occurs, you will want to make sure you don't yank the wheel to other direction. Instead, let off of your brakes and attempt to steer the vehicle back on the correct path. A slow, controlled turn will often help your vehicle regain traction, helping to pull the vehicle out of the skid safely.

If your vehicle starts skidding, the most important thing to remember is not to panic. Simply letting off the brake or avoiding it and gently turning the wheel is a much safer option than stomping the brakes and yanking the steering wheel.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
P0291OBD-II Trouble Code: Cylinder 11 Injector Circuit Low
P0291 code definition When your vehicle’s PCM registers the P0291 code, it means that a voltage reading came from the fuel injector circuit – for cylinder number 11’s fuel injector –...


Related questions

Q: Getting wobbly handling on the highway

A few things could be causing the wobble you feel at high speeds. The solid front suspension is susceptible to this condition, especially if aftermarket items are being used or the suspension has been modified. The front steering can...

Q: How do you adjust the head restraints in a 2012 Honda Civic?

Your head rests are designed to provide comfort, but they’re also important safety devices. They’re actually called head restraints, and they’re designed to help reduce the chance of injury in a rear-end collision. They are adjustable, though, and here’s how...

Q: What does it mean if the message center shows a warning that reads “brake fluid level low?”

In order for your brakes to work properly, they need fluid. Your car has a hydraulic braking system. Fluid pressure is sent from the master cylinder through the brake lines to operate the calipers, which squeeze the brake pads against...