Skid Control – Based On Winter Driving
As a Canadian, you understand why winter is considered the most dangerous season for drivers. It comes with a whole new set of driving issues and dangers – snow and the wind reduce visibility, slippery and treacherous roads due to ice, and darkness sets in much earlier than usual. All these hazards result in more than 100,000 injuries which happen from car accidents annually.
We all know that snow is a winter reality in Canada. For that reason, all drivers need to have the necessary skills to drive safely in inclement conditions. One of those skills is skid control. Each driver should know how to recover from a skid.
A skid is one of the most frightening and dangerous experiences for any motorist. The last thing a driver would want is to find himself or herself in a skidding situation. Skids occur due to reduced traction which causes loss of braking control and steering. They usually occur on slippery surfaces like ice, snow, and water when a motorist accelerates or brake very fast or turn very sharply.
It’s quite scary to lose control of your vehicle when driving, especially if you’re a new motorist. You start to panic. You end up making wrong moves since you don’t know what to do.
At Canadian Super Shop, road safety is one our top most priorities. That is why we always strive to educate our clients and all other motorists how to remain safe on the road, especially when the conditions aren’t favorable.
Today, we would like to share with you five most common types of skids that occur in winter and how to recover from them.
1. Counter skid
The counter skid, also known “tank slapping” or “fishtailing” happens when a driver encounters oversteer and fails to correct it properly. As a result, the rear end of the car will skid back and forth. It builds momentum with every swing.
Most drivers don’t realize that failure to recover from the first or second skid means that the third recovery attempt will be dangerous. Remember, you will generate adequate energy to make the third skid very violent. In fact, it’ll be difficult to recover from the skid.
When you encounter oversteer, you should look down the road to ascertaining its condition and only use sufficient corrective steering to point the front wheels in the direction you want to go. As you regain control, straighten your wheel to ensure that the tires always point down the road.
In many cases, counter skids occur when motorists try to fix the situation late. They over correct it by repeating the same mistakes. In the end, they find themselves off the road. The mess they have created will cost them dearly.
It’s difficult to recover from counter skids, but your vision matters a lot. Regain control of your steering. Don’t allow the vehicle bounce back and forth, and you will recover from the situation.
An understeer skid will occur if the front tires lose grip and the vehicle can’t navigate a corner. It’s commonly known as “pushing” or “plowing.” It usually happens when you navigate a corner with a very high speed which doesn’t match the prevailing winter conditions.
For instance, if you are doing 60 mph in a 20 mph corner, then you are overdoing it. You’ve messed up the situation. Look for something soft to hit! That should teach you a lesson. Work on reading the road conditions better next time.
If you are approaching a corner at a slightly high speed (compared to the recommended speed), the best solution is to let off the gas and apply the brakes gently while monitoring keenly the direction your vehicle should take at all times.
The spinning of front wheel can also lead to massive understeer. For the case of a front-wheel drive vehicle, avoid spinning the tires if you want to get an opportunity to turn. You shouldn’t lock front tires in a corner since it will cause horrible understeer. If you are braking aggressively and trying to navigate the corner at the same time, you will have to release the brakes a bit to allow the vehicle to steer.
On the other hand, understeer can also occur due to weight transfer. If you are accelerating, uphill or in a car with soft suspension, much of the weight will be concentrated on the rear end, and you will apply brake a little or lift off the gas to get the nose down. The weight on the front wheels will push them down onto (or into) the surface, thus providing better grip.
Don’t be tempted to give your vehicle more “actual” steering when you encounter an understeer skid. It is a natural thing to do. Unfortunately, the car will not turn, but it will turn more! You should fix the problem with the pedals, not your hands.
You are either braking or accelerating too much or inadequately; adding more steering will only worsen the situation and at the long run, waste your valuable time. Slight steering can help to achieve most grip – if you turn the front tires at high angles, it’s less likely they will do what you want.
Wheelspin occurs when a driver tries to accelerate enthusiastically or too abruptly for the available traction. The tires will begin spin at a faster rate than the car is moving. The results of this condition will depend on whether the car is the front, rear or all-wheel drive.
The cure for wheelspin is simple: you only need to back off the throttle until your tire regains traction. Next time, try ramping it up more carefully and slowly. So, wheelspin will help you to determine the available amount of grip quickly.
For instance, on a snowy day, you can hit the gas intentionally while leaving your driveway to find out how the tires spin. That is similar to dipping your fingers into a pool to check the temperature of water.
An oversteer skid can occur if the rear tires lose grip, and the rear of the car begins to slide sideways. It usually happens due to wheelspin in the rear-wheel drive (and some all-wheel drive) vehicles. For this case, you only to back off the throttle, look where you want to go, and slightly steer in the same direction.
5. Wheel Lockup
Wheel lockup can occur if you try to brake suddenly or too aggressively for the surface you are on. In other words, the tires will stop turning while the car is still moving. The cure for the wheel lockup is very simple: release the brakes until the tires begin to turn again. You may have to release the brakes entirely. Once you do that, try braking again more softly and gradually.
As long as you do it slowly, you may discover that you can brake fairly hard on a slippery road. For example, sudden braking on the snow will probably lock up your tires. However, a gradual buildup of brake pressure might allow you to apply brakes well beyond 50 percent on a similar surface.
ABS (Anti-Lock Brake Systems) will prevent your wheels from locking up. They will pulsate the brake pressure at all four wheels to keep the tires rolling. It means that your vehicle may not decelerate very well on a loose surface. You will have to leave following distances and extra braking to compensate.
No matter how you equip your vehicle, the greatest defense against a skid is to avoid the situation altogether. Taking a few simple precautions and following the tips provided above will guarantee you safe driving throughout the winter months.