Q: What should I do if I lose control?

asked by on December 15, 2015

What should I do if I lose control?

Losing control of your vehicle can be frightening to say the least. If your vehicle begins to skid, there are three types of skidding it could be:

  • The “braking skid” in which the wheels will not be rolling

  • The “steering” or “cornering skid” in which tires can slip and lose force when too much speed or harsh steering in a curve takes place.

  • The “acceleration skid” in which the driving wheels will spin as a result of too much throttling.

No matter how great of a driver you are, there is always a risk for skidding to occur. If you lose control of your vehicle or it starts to skid, follow these steps:

  1. Ease off the accelerator and rapidly steer the steering wheel in the direction you wish to go. The vehicle may straighten out and you may gain control. If not, continue to the next step.

  2. Slow down even further. If you are still skidding due to inclement weather, keep in mind your stopping distance will most likely be longer than usual due to snow, ice, gravel, water, or other debris on the road.

  3. Avoid sudden braking, steering, or acceleration while continuing to reduce speed and shifting into lower gears. Any sudden changes can cause the tires to skid even more.

Tip

The antilock brakes that come with your vehicle only help avoid the braking skid. Emergencies and inclement weather still put you at risk for “acceleration skidding” and “steering/cornering skidding.”

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