Skid Prevention and Control

We at One 2 Driving school Calgary provide in depth knowledge for skid prevention and control. After a taking a driving lesson in Calgary from us, you would be more aware so as, what is to be done in case of a skid. We the BEST DRIVING SCHOOL CALGARY nominated by Consumer Choice Awards do the real skids and then teach you to control it, and we do that under safe and controlled conditions.

Bad weather conditions like snow, ice or rain can turn a safe road into a tricky and slippery one. Here comes the question – how can one prevent a car going into a skid out of control? Driving a car on wet or icy road can be really difficult, many car accidents are usually caused by driver’s errors or their reaction in a stress. These are easy techniques which can keep you safe, teach you to stay focused and prevent from damaging the car.

The Four Causes of Skidding
Skidding can be defined as the involuntary movement of the vehicle due to the grip of one or more of the tyres on the road becoming less than a force or forces acting upon that vehicle. In other words, a vehicle skids when one or more of the tyres loses normal grip on the road.

What may amaze you is that officially there are actually only four causes of skidding, and these can occur either singularly or as a combination.

  • Excessive speed for the existing circumstances
  • Coarse steering in relation to speed, which in itself is not excessive
  • Harsh, excessive acceleration
  • Excessive or sudden braking

The above four items are perhaps best summed up by saying that a skid occurs where the driver has expected more from the vehicle than it was capable of delivering under the conditions at that time. The vehicle only has so much performance that it can give to you, and if you demand more, you are exceeding its capability.

Working on the principle that if you know what causes a skid it is easier to avoid one, or you know how to deal with one if it was not so avoided, let’s now look at each of the four causes in turn.

1 – Excessive speed for the existing circumstances
This means that you are trying to do something, such as drive a 40mph bend at 50mph. It just ain’t going to happen. Or, it could be that you are driving according to a dry road, but when the road is wet, or in snow. Like it or not, when you drive a car, you will always be bound by the rules of physics relating to moving bodies.

If you have read the chapter about cornering forces within this series of articles on advanced driving tips and advice you will remember we talked about how, when making a vehicle steer around a bend, you are asking it to do something unnatural. We used the analogy of a conker (horse chestnut) tied on a piece of string to demonstrate this, whirling it around like a helicopter rotor above your head, and how it would behave if you let it go.

The model was used to demonstrate why, when the grip of tyre on road was lost during cornering, the affected end of the car will slide in a direction that is at a tangent to the curve of the bend. Unfortunately, and according to another unbreakable law (sod’s law), this will normally involve contact with a tree, or other hard object, such as another vehicle, or entry to a ditch.


2 – Coarse steering in relation to a speed, which in itself is not excessive
This means that you are still entering your 40mph bend, but now at 35mph, and yet you still get a skid situation. If this happens on a good road surface it is that instead of feeding in the steering progressively, you have grabbed a big armful of steering wheel and given it a big tug with no empathy for the car. To illustrate the effect of this we have another analogy.

Fred and George are twin brothers who work in a warehouse. They are both of the same build, level of fitness and height. Fred is carrying a heavy box that he needs to pass over to George. If Fred stands holding the box, and allows George to take hold of it by bearing the weight in his own time, George is able to take the box from his brother and carry it equally as well.

However, if Fred had thrown the box, George would drop it, only because of being asked to cope with too much too quickly and too soon in terms of bearing its weight. The same applies to steering. Throw in too much too quick and the tyres won’t cope, but feed the steering input in progressively and the car will respond up to its full cornering potential.

3 – Harsh, excessive acceleration
You can apply the above heavy box story to this one as well, because if you are harsh with the loud pedal, and/or when releasing the clutch, the tyres at the driven wheels may not manage to maintain grip. This is when you encounter wheel spin under power. By applying power progressively, and being smooth with the driving controls, better car control is maintained.

4 – Excessive or sudden braking
Again, the heavy box story applies. Brakes, like the accelerator and steering, are variable devices, and not an on⁄off switch. Apply the brakes gently at first, then ease in the pressure smoothly and progressively, and you will get the best stopping power available at that time. Give the pedal a poke, or stamp on it, and you will get a poor response.

Notice how none of the causes of skidding are given as ice on the road, oil or mud. This is because it isn’t the ice that makes you skid as such. Ice, oil and mud etc. on the road is just another variation in road surface, perhaps a temporary surface condition on a piece of road that would more normally provide better grip.

The reason you slide here is because you are not taking into account the low coefficient of friction properties of the road when you apply acceleration, braking or steering. Therefore, you are doing this in a manner that is inappropriate for the conditions and therefore asking more of your car than it is capable of coping with at that time.

Correcting a Skid
If you get into a skid situation, how you deal with it has one generic answer – remove the cause.

If you have applied your brakes and your wheels lock into a skid, to remove the cause you need to lift off the brake pedal. For a better effect you need to immediately go back on the brake to it again, but this time a little more gently to try and avoid re–locking wheels.

Always remember that if you are driving a car that is not equipped with Anti–Lock Brakes (ABS), and you brake heavily enough to get front wheel lock up, whilst you are skidding along the road you can spin your steering wheel from lock to lock and you will go nowhere else but straight on.

If you experience skidding under braking when you are heading for the back of a vehicle stopped in front, and there isn’t enough room for you to pull up before hitting it, you will have to go against all your instincts that keep you rooted to your brake pedal. You are going to have to get your foot off so you can then steer away from the obstruction.

When you take part in an advanced driving course with Ride Drive there is a particular point we try to get across to you, and that is you do not brake and steer at the same time. Completing an emergency lane change, for example, will require initial application of the brakes, release of the brakes, steer away from the obstruction, straighten up and re–apply the brakes.

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