The winter months contain some of the busiest travel windows of the year, and unfortunately, they can be some of the most dangerous for drivers. Long hours in the car, icy roads, and poor weather all contribute to hazardous driving conditions. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 17% of all vehicle crashes occur during winter conditions.
One reason many people are nervous about driving this time of year is the possibility of hitting a patch of ice or slush and sliding out of control. What are you supposed to do when your car starts skidding? Fear no more; Direct Auto has five steps to help you steer out of a skid and regain control on a slick road.
What to Do When Your Car Starts to Skid
Step 1 | Don’t Panic
Even though the situation is scary, it’s important to remain calm. When we panic, we often make our problems worse, and rash reactions do not mix well with an out-of-control vehicle.
Step 2 | Ease Off the Gas
When you lose control, the first thing you want to do is slow down. The easiest way to start this process is by taking your foot off the gas pedal.
Step 3 | Don’t Slam the Brakes
You want to slow down, but slamming the brakes can be counterproductive. Resist the urge to put your foot down forcefully.
Step 4 | Find a Target
When you lose control, DefensiveDriving.com recommends picking out a target to steer your car toward. Focusing your attention on where you want to go will help you get there.
Step 5 | Steer Where You Want to Go
Carefully turn the wheel and steer yourself out of trouble. Avoid overcorrection by focusing on your target, and you should regain control as your vehicle straightens out.
You can’t control everything on the road, but you can decrease your risk of a weather-related accident this winter by following these tips.
- Track Weather Conditions: Always be aware of the weather when you’re traveling. If you can avoid traveling in dangerous conditions, wait an extra day or two. If you must travel in wintry conditions, make sure you know what you’re up against.
- Have Your Car Checked Before Traveling: A simple check can reveal tires with worn-down tread or bad brakes. Simple fixes may cost you some money now, but they can save you from stressing out or having to pay even more in the event of an accident.
- Drive Carefully: We always want you to drive carefully, but being particularly cautious is a good idea in winter weather. Drive below the speed limit when necessary to maintain control. Don’t take turns too quickly. Simple measures should keep you in complete control, even in unfavorable conditions.