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How to Recover from a Skid

When the car is skidding, even an experienced driver may panic. Knowing how to recover from a skid is an important skill that every driver should master. Reaction time is limited when the vehicle is skidding across the roadway so knowing exactly what to do can prevent damage to the car, its passengers, and other vehicles and their precious cargo. Follow these steps to recover from a skid situation without breaking a sweat.

As the car begins to move into a skidding situation, remove the foot from the gas pedal but do not put it on the brake pedal. Brakes will be useless but removing the foot from the gas pedal causes the vehicle to slow down and regain some traction. Turn the steering wheel slightly, moving it in the direction in which the vehicle is skidding. For example, if the car is moving to the left, gently turn the steering wheel to the left. This action will correct the movement of the vehicle.

At some point, the car will stop skidding, creating a situation called a pause. When this occurs, bring the steering wheel back to its original position. This reduces the chance that the car will go into another skid. It should then be possible to resume driving as normal, checking mirrors before pulling into a lane if the car has skidded off the roadway.

Recommended actions are the same whether the vehicle is front or rear-wheel drive. To perfect their skills, new drivers should practice on dry roadways . This can be done by accelerating to 20 to 25 miles per hour in a safe area free of cars or other obstacles, such as an empty parking lot. Once the vehicle reaches this speed, the driver should hit the brakes hard, sending the vehicle into a skid and then try to recover by following the steps above.

Practice makes perfect and it also illustrates the difficulty of recovering from a skid. The safest approach is to avoid skidding at all. Skids occur when the vehicle is moving too fast for the road conditions. If the road is slippery or it is raining or snowing, drivers should proceed slowly and be overly cautious when accelerating.

An uncorrected skid can quickly develop into a spin, which can be very scary and dangerous. The only way to recover from a spin is to regain control of steering, which is usually done by keeping the foot off the brake and gripping the steering wheel firmly. Careful driving prevents skids and spins from occurring over the years.

*Photo Courtesy of DavidHT via Creative Commons License