Car Skidding: How To Regain Control Of Your Vehicle

Colder weather comes with increased risks of vehicles skidding, due to slippery road surfaces. If you find yourself skidding, here’s how to regain control…

What is Skidding?

A skid is essentially caused by your car’s wheels losing traction. This can cause the car to move uncontrollably and unpredictably. During the winter months, road surfaces are slippier than usual; whether it’s due to ice, rain or leaves. This means your chances of skidding are greatly increased, especially if you drive without due care or attention. But knowing how to react when a skid does occur can help to avoid catastrophe.


Under-steering involves your front-wheels skidding after losing grip. It’s more likely to take place if you’re driving a front-wheel car and if you take a corner too sharply or brake too harshly. Your front tyres will slip into the direction you’re travelling in. So you won’t turn, you’ll move forwards. If you feel yourself under-steering, keep your feet on the pedals but reduce pressure on the accelerator and brakes. Reduce the steering angle, too, and you’ll feel the car come under your control again.


Over-steering involves your rear tyres. It happens on slippy surfaces and will cause them to push in the opposite direction to where you’re attempting to turn; this essentially ‘kicks’ the rear end of the car out. You’re more likely to experience this if your car is rear-wheel drive. If you experience an over-steering skid, gently reduce your speed without removing your foot from the accelerator. Steer in the direction you want to go and avoid heavy braking.

Prevent Skidding 

You can’t always prevent skidding, but you can certainly reduce your chances of experiencing it. To start with, ensure that you drive responsibly; especially during poor weather. This means avoiding late or harsh breaking and needless acceleration. Make sure to take turns and corners gently, too. Properly servicing and maintaining your car will go a long way as well. In particular, ensure your brakes are in top working order. If they feel ‘stodgy’ or even slightly less responsive than usual, get a professional to investigate straight way. In addition, make sure you have plenty of tread depth on your tyres and that they have the right air pressures. Your owner’s manual will specify what these are.

These are simple measures, but they can save you undergoing the stomach-churning experience of skidding on the road. As result, you and other other road-users will be much safer.

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