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Winter Driving – Skids

One of the most dangerous winter driving hazards is skidding. If it happens at a high speed, the result can be deadly. But most skids can be avoided by simply adjusting to driving conditions and knowing how to recover from a skid.

SKids are mostly likely to occur on curves and turns, so drivers should slow down ahead of time to prepare for them. Then, when in the curve, they should accelerate slowly and steer steadily with no abrupt change in direction and, especially, no abrupt braking.

Skid Safety Techniques

If drivings go into a skid, remind them of these two critical rules:

  • Don’t steer against the skid.
  • Avoid using the brakes.

Instead, they should immediately take their foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction the vehicle is sliding until they feel recovery of traction, then slowly straighten the wheels until they recover complete control. If the back of the vehicle is fishtailing to the right, drivers should turn the wheel gently in that direction until the car recovers.

If braking is necessary before traction is recovered, drivers should apply the brake pedal cautiously so they do not lock the wheels and intensify the skid. Drivers will also have better brake control in a ski situation if the vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes.

Drivers should constantly be on the lookout for areas that might induce skidding, such as unexpected ice patches or piles of wet leaves, which tend to be found in shady areas or on overpasses. They should keep in mind that wet ice, warmed by the sun, is twice as dangerous as completely frozen ice. Remind them to be especially alert whenever there is any kind of precipitation during cold weather.

General Winter Driving Tips

Since accidents are common in winter, drivers should be extra cautious while driving. They should drive on slippery roads at reduced speed and increase following distance behind the vehicle ahead. This gives an additional space cushion for safe stopping. Because winter driving can be risky, it is also a good idea for drivers to practise driving in slippery conditions so they are well-prepared and comfortable.

A safe stop on icy or snow-packed roads is a tricky manoeuvre that requires skill and good judgment. Drivers should anticipate stops by slowing down gradually, well ahead of intersections and allowing for more than enough time to stop safely.

Drivers should plan ahead of time for lane changes; check their rear view mirror and blind spots, and signal their intentions to traffic behind them. Then, they swing over in a long, gradual line. They should make the move with the smallest possible steering change and with a light foot on the gas.

When they drive into deep snow, stepping on the gas may cause the wheels to spin, with little if any forward movement. In such cases, drivers should avoid over-accelerating.

Ensure Safety

Whenever drivers will be driving in any weather, they should make sure their vehicle is properly equipped. The brakes should be functioning correctly, and the tires should be properly inflated with a good tread surface. Sometimes snow tires, and even chains, may be best to help keep the vehicle under control during dangerous winter conditions.

A safe stop on an icy or snow- packed road is a tricky manoeuvre that requires skill and good judgment.