How Do I Regain Control of My Car in a Skid?

Icy, slippery roads are prime environments for skids. Skids fall into two groups: rear-wheel and front-wheel. Regardless of the type you encounter, it’s important to stay calm; over-correcting can make the situation worse. Follow our tips to stay safe and keep your vehicle on the road this winter.

Front-wheel skids

Front-wheel skids are caused by hard braking or acceleration if your vehicle has front-wheel drive. When the front wheels lose traction, you will not be able to steer the vehicle. Compared to rear-wheel skids, front-wheel skids are easier to correct and less hazardous because there is no risk of the vehicle skidding in the opposite direction. Regardless of whether the vehicle has front-, rear- or four-wheel drive, the best way to regain control of a front-wheel skid is to:

  1. Continue to look where you want to go.
  2. Steer in the direction of where you want the front of the vehicle to go.
  3. Avoid slamming on the brakes. Although hitting the brakes is a typical response, slamming the brakes will only further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to regain control.
  4. Wait for the front wheels to grip the road again. As soon as traction returns, the vehicle will start to steer again.
  5. Steer the wheels gently in the desired direction of travel once the front wheels have regained their grip.

The most efficient technique for braking under these conditions in non-ABS (anti-lock braking system) vehicles is threshold or squeeze braking.

Rear-wheel skids

Once again, effective skid-control maneuvers — and a calm approach — will help you regain control of your vehicle in the event of a skid. If the rear wheels lose traction, resulting in an oversteering situation, use these steps to regain control:

  1. Continue to look at your path of travel down the road.
  2. Steer in the direction of where you want the front of the vehicle to go.
  3. Avoid slamming on the brakes.
  4. When the rear wheels stop skidding, continue to steer to avoid a rear-wheel skid in the opposite direction.
Ensure your vehicle is winter-ready by scheduling time with our automotive experts for routine inspections before you hit the road.