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Don't Panic! Here's What to Do When Your Car Skids
Being new on the road can be disorienting. You’re not familiar with all the rules (and lack of rules) and you may find yourself caught off guard by a reckless driver or a sudden change in traffic patterns.
If you’re new to driving, it can be easy to panic when faced with a less-than-desirable driving scenario. When that happens, you might find yourself pressing the wrong pedal or making other mistakes that could endanger yourself or others.
The good news is that you can learn a few simple tricks to help avoid these scenarios. Here’s what to do when your car skids:
- First and foremost, don’t panic!
When you car skids, the first thing to remember is that all hope is not lost. Panic can cause you to take wrong action, which could be disastrous in this situation. If you stay calm, you can figure out a better solution.
- Test your brakes by lightly tapping them at a slow speed.
If you feel a pulsing through your brake pedal, the issue lies within the brakes themselves. Check your wheels for anything that may be hampering movement. If your wheels are fine, it’s possible that you have a leak in one or more of the brake lines.
- Check your steering.
If your car isn’t sliding, the problem might lie with your steering. If you feel a grabbing or pulling on either direction, or if your steering wheel is vibrating when you turn it, your power steering might be the issue.
- Look at how much and where the car is skidding.
Understand that, in most cases of skidding, you can’t control where your vehicle goes. If your car isn’t skidding in a straight line, take this into account when you’re moving the gear shifter. If it is skidding to one side or another, you can try moving your shifter into a lower gear to slow down.
- Look for anything that may be on the road that you need to avoid.
If it’s snowing, have some knowledge of slick spots on the roads. Snow can hide them and make them even more dangerous. If it’s raining, look for oil spots and avoid them at all costs. Also be aware of rocks or other objects that could be on the road.
- If you’re turning, turn slowly and gently into the skid.
Turning too quickly could make the skid even worse and cause you to lose control, so avoid this at all costs. If your car is sliding in a straight line, try to stay in that same line.
- If you lose control of your vehicle, don’t slam on the brakes or make a harsh turn.
This will only make the skid worse and could cause your car to flip if you’re on a sharp curve. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator and stay in control of your vehicle.
When you’re not used to driving in poor conditions, the shock of your car skidding can be scary. If you take a few deep breaths and follow these tips, you’ll be able to avoid most common skidding conditions.
However, if the weather is really bad or your car skids for an extended period of time, it’s best to stop your car on the side of the road where you’re safe and call a tow truck for help!