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How to - skid control, if you skid: remove the cause:

Braking: Your car will be much more manageable if you have got anti-lock-brakes (most cars manufactured after 2005). ABS releases and re-applies your brakes 12-15 times a second, prevents your wheels locking-up, and enables you to steer.

However ABS only prevents locking-up in the direction of rotation: This is very important to know, as it is still very easy to skid your front wheels sideways if you turn too sharply. You will not be able to stop quickly with ABS on ice, it just gives you a bit more control, and enables a certain amount of steering. For the ABS to work on ice you must have the clutch down*. Also ABS does not work if braking is initiated below about 5mph: So at very low speeds come off the brake, if you skid, to enable you to steer. The same as if you don't have ABS (paragraph below).

No ABS: If you have a car without ABS, the wheels will lock-up solidly if you brake too hard. If your wheels do lock then come off the brake, and brake again more gently. In ice you will find that you stop most effectively by pushing down the clutch*, and tapping the brake firmly and repeatedly, as rapidly as possible (in essence simulating ABS). This method will also give you some steering control.

* Theory:
When braking in normal grip conditions, dry or wet, keep the clutch up as much as possible because there is enough traction between your car and the road to keep the wheels turning against the compression of the engine. So if your wheels lock, and you release the brake (or the ABS does), the engine will be turned by the wheels.
In ice, if the wheels lock, with the clutch up, the engine stops. Then releasing the brakes has no effect because there is not enough grip between the tyre and the road to overcome the engine compression. The engine will not turn, the wheels will remain locked, and there will be no control over where the car goes.
Prevent this from happening by having the clutch down when braking on ice! .

Acceleration: Excess acceleration in a bend will cause the front to drift out in a front-wheel drive car, so just ease off the gas, and steer gently. Front wheel drive cars generally don't suffer a rear wheel skid. If you accelerate too much in a straight line; for example, to try to get up a hill; the front wheels will spin, and you may hop sideways - ease off the gas until they stop spinning.

In a rear wheel drive car the back will slide out if you accelerate too harshly. If this happens, ease off the gas very carefully and steer the way you want to go (turn into the skid). It is also important to look the way you want to go: If you look at what you are trying to avoid, you will probably drive into it. Whatever you do, don't jump off the gas, because that will cause you to fishtail - swing from side to side.

If you can't pull away because the wheels are spinning. Stop and try again, but without any gas, just very careful clutch control. You could also try pulling away in 2nd gear. If you get stuck in a rut you may need to rock the car back and forth, by using forward and reverse. Driving in a high gear (3rd or 4th) will reduce wheelspin due to over-acceleration. But driving in a low gear (1st or 2nd) will enable you to slow more easily using engine braking, and hence brake less. Generally the less you use the brake the better.

Steering: If you turn the steering and nothing happens, it is because you have turned too tightly and broken your grip. Try backing off the steering to regain traction, and turn in again more gently. If you are on the gas, ease off. If you can't steer whilst braking, even with ABS, come off the brake. This will allow your wheels to rotate again, and begin to grip.

Speed: Probably the most dangerous situation you can get into is a 4-wheel drift on a bend, it means that you are going a smidgeon too fast. if you were going much too fast you would already have crashed! To deal with a 4-wheel drift, just ease off the gas very gingerly, and slightly straighten the steering if you have the space. If you come off the gas too suddenly, or touch the brake, or steer suddenly you will probably spin off the road. A VERY gradual reduction in speed will let your car regain grip. To avoid this situation drive extremely carefully on bends.






Teaching people to drive for over 30 years! Professional driving lessons with
Alan J Barker BA DSA ADI. Covering Hockley, Rayleigh, Rochford, & Hullbridge areas