Car Skidding: Everything You Need To Know About It
Driving a car comes with many challenges, from traffic problems to possible tire blowouts or car skidding. A lot of people jump in the car to drive. They never really ask how do I drive? This is necessary when you understand you can be faced with a lot of challenges while driving. One of these challenges is car skidding. You might be wondering what skidding means. Not to worry, you will know everything about car skidding and how to avoid it by the time you finish reading this article.
What is a Skid?
A skid is a condition that occurs on a vehicle when it’s tires lose grip on the ground. This condition exerts an impact on the vehicle, and it affects the overall movement of the car, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle’s direction.
What Causes a Car To Skid?
A car skid is mostly a result of a loss in wheel grip, and it is dangerous because it can cause your vehicle to deflect uncontrollably in a direction that the driver does not predetermine.
Skidding is caused by a variety of things which can range from bad weather conditions to overspeeding. Sometimes, the driver never really knows when a skid is about to happen until they are caught up in action and confused about the next step. Below are some of the reasons and scenarios that might cause your car to skid:
Bad Weather Conditions Can Cause Car Skidding
This is possible when the roads are slippery due to snowfall or rainfall. A car’s tire is most likely to lose grip with the road. Most drivers forget that the braking distance is most likely to double when it is raining or snowy. This is because the road is wet, and the tire loses grip with the road. Not considering this, the driver attempts to apply brakes at the same distance as on a dry road. When this happens, the stoppage time is increased, and on applying more force on the brakes, the possibility of skidding becomes higher.
If you must avoid skidding, always ensure that your driving condition is appropriate and in synergy with the weather condition at all times. Always maintain a gap between the car in front and your own car. On wet days, the gap should double. When applying brakes, double the braking distance on wet roads. Adhering to this will reduce your risk of experiencing car skid.
Overspeeding is another major reason for car skidding. Cars driving at a fast speed are more susceptible to skidding than cars at a slow speed. This is because it takes a longer time for cars at high speed to stop fully when the brakes are applied, unlike slow cars that come to a halt immediately after the brakes are applied. While at high speed, the vehicle’s tire loses grip with the ground, and friction reduces. This leads to vehicle skidding and sometimes toppling. Avoiding overspeeding can be a great way to reduce the possibility of experiencing a car skid.
Vehicles can also skip if the driver makes a sharp turn and attempts to keep the steering straight too quickly. This mostly happens if you are on a high speed. When negotiating a turn while driving, slow down your vehicle and try to turn at the most appropriate angle and speed. Also, do not speed up too quickly or try to straighten the vehicle tires too quickly after turning.
Applying Brakes Excessively is Another Reason for Car Skidding
This is because the vehicle wheels are forced to lock up, and when the car is accelerated while the wheels are locked up, it causes skidding. Wheel lockup is most predominant during the wet season. The tires no longer grip the ground, and the driver finds it difficult to stop, leading to excessive brake application. This excess application of brakes ends up causing the wheels to lock up.
While driving during snow periods, be wary of the sound from your tires. If it is very quiet, you should consider slowing down because you may be driving on ice. If you experience a wheel lockup while driving, do not panic. Maintain your calm and try not to apply the brakes harder or even try to accelerate further. Instead, focus on controlling the steering and apply the brakes slowly when you feel you are back in control of the car.
Types of Car Skidding
Car skidding can be caused by several reasons which I have mentioned earlier. However, these causes give rise to different types of skidding, which are listed below:
This is a result of excessive braking. When too much brake is applied to a vehicle, the wheels are forced to lock up, making you lose control of the car. During a wheel lockup, the back tires cause your vehicle to slip sideways while trying to get back in line with the front tires. The brake skidding is mostly common during wet periods caused by rainfall or snow. Your tires require more tire and wheel friction to be able to avoid this problem.
Power skidding is a result of too much acceleration. Cars need to have a firm grip on the road. This is to encourage friction which is a major determining factor for car stoppage. When the acceleration is too high, the tire and wheel lose traction and do not have a perfect grip on the ground. This gives room for skidding to occur.
This type of skidding occurs when you steer too hard in a turn. It is also known as a steering skid. When the driver loses control of the steering and steers too hard to overcompensate, the tires lose grip with the road and begin to slide away.
Blowout happens when a tire suddenly inflates while driving and sometimes burst. This is one of the major causes of car skidding. A puncture can cause tire inflation or if an impactful object hits them on the road. This inflation and rapid loss of air pressure will drag your car to one side depending on the affected tire.
This skid is caused by rainfall. When it is raining, the road gets wet filled with water. Because of this, the tire does not have a firm grip on the road. According to fluid mechanics, the fluid forms a layer between the car and the road, making the car drive on top of the water, which is a condition known as hydroplaning. Whether it happens for a long time or a few seconds, hydroplaning is a very dangerous condition, and it means that your car has lost all available grip on the ground. This leads to skidding.
Just like rain skidding, this occurs when there is a snowfall. Snow makes the road slippery, and when the road is slippery, the tire loses grip with the road. You should be careful when applying brakes on this type of road to avoid skidding. Black ice is another dangerous form of ice that forms on the road and contributes greatly to the car skidding.
What is the Most Common Cause of Car Skidding?
Car skidding is majorly a factor of overspeeding. Speeding is the main cause of a car skid because when the car is too fast, it loses traction with the road and begins to slide. This makes it very difficult to stop or even gain control of the vehicle. When snowfall, rainfall, or a quick turn combines with high speed, then skidding will most likely happen.
How to avoid Car skidding?
There are several techniques you should be familiar with while driving to reduce your chance of skidding. Some of them include:
It is very necessary to avoid speeding if you are trying to prevent skidding. Overspeeding is the major cause of skidding. Whether driving on a dry or wet road, you should always adhere to the speed limit. This helps to reduce the occurrence of an accident.
Keep Distance While Driving
Another way to prevent skidding is by keeping a distance from the car in front while driving. This helps to reduce excessive and immediate brake application. Pressing on the brakes excessively can cause your car to skid.
Routine Car Maintenance
Always check your car to detect and repair possible problems that might lead to your car skidding. If you notice wear on the threads of the car tires, this means your car will be unable to have a firm grip on the ground; therefore, it might give room for skidding. Always change worn-out tires.
Good Steering Control
In situations where your car skids, try as much as possible to maintain calm and control the steering. This can be achieved by steering to the direction of the skid at first to regain control before keeping the steering in the right direction.
Reduce Your Speed Slowly
This is another way to regain control of your vehicle in the incidence of skidding. Remove your foot gently from the accelerator and try not to press it too hard. You should do it gradually while holding the steering firm until you can regain full control of your vehicle.
How to Regain Control of Your Car When Skidding Happens
If your car begins to skid while driving, you can regain control of it by following the following procedures:
- Out of fear, never leave your car steering when you encounter skidding problems. Always keep your hands on the steering at all times. Remove your foot from the accelerator and try not to apply brakes. Applications of brake will most likely lead to toppling. Completely remove your foot from the brakes, and if you must use it, it should be done slowly and in intervals until the car reduces to a controllable speed.
- If your back wheels are skidding and have lost grip on the floor, you do not need to oversteer or correct the tires. Instead, steer slowly in the correct direction until the tires are back together. Once you gain control of the vehicle, you can apply the brakes.
- While making a sharp turn, you might lose control of the steering when your car begins to skid. To gain control, you should take your foot off the throttle or accelerator. This is to reduce the speed. As your speed reduces, the car will begin to regain balance because the weight is gradually shifted to the front wheels, allowing the tire to have a full grip on the road.
What is Anti-lock Brake System – ABS?
ABS meaning antilock brake system, is a system that is designed and installed in many modern cars.
Usually, when car brakes are held suddenly while in a very fast motion, the tires tend to lock, which prevents the driver from controlling the direction of the car’s movements. This causes a lot of crashes and accidents as drivers do not have control of their vehicles.
The antilock braking system solves this problem by rapidly applying and releasing (i.e., pumping the brakes) the brakes to automatically keep the tires from skidding. Remember, you may have been told a few times that while on a high speed, you can rapidly apply and release the brake to gain full control of the vehicle before applying the brake in full. Exactly this is what the anti-brake system does for you when it detects that your tires are beginning to lock up.
If you happen to be in an emergency and the ABS activates. All you need to do is to keep pressing and holding the brake firmly, then control your steering to safety. The ABS will do its job.
If you do not own a modern car with ABS installed;
1) when in danger and your car begins to skid, keep pumping the brakes continuously while doing your best to steer to safety.