Steer Clear of Skids

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 if the front wheels skid is:

  1. Continue to look where you want to go.
  2. Steer in the direction 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. When the front wheels have regained their grip, steer the wheels gently in the desired direction of travel.

The most efficient technique for braking under these conditions in non-ABS vehicles is to use threshold or squeeze braking.

Rear-wheel skids

Effective skid-control maneuvers — and a calm approach — will help you regain control. 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 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.