Winter Offroading

How to Recover From a Skid

With the winter season coming, ice is one of the largest causes of cars and other offroad vehicles to lose control in Colorado and other snowy areas. Losing control of a vehicle in icy conditions can end in disaster. Fortunately there are ways to help recover from a skid and get you driving in a straight line again.

4x4 JeepFirst it’s important to understand what causes a vehicle to skid so you can help take preventative action before it becomes too late. Your vehicle will skid if there is a significant loss of traction, which can be caused from ice on the road, loose gravel, sand, water, or oil on the road. Most people are under the impression that if your car starts to skid, you’re at the mercy of what the vehicle wants to do, which is very incorrect. Fortunately there are in fact a few simple steps you can take to recover from a skid.

  • Relax and don’t overthink: The majority of the time, most people will crash because they panic. As hard as it may be, try to relax.
  • Don’t apply the brakes or gas: Using your brakes and/or gas requires traction. Because you’re already experiencing a low traction situation, you need as much traction as you can to get your wheels rolling forward again.
  • Point the car to where you want to go: You might have heard people say to “turn into the skid”, “turn towards the skid”, or something similar. Stop overthinking it! All you need to do is to point your car in the direction you want to go. By pointing your tires in this direction, you will get them rolling again which will help you regain traction.
  • Recover: Once your tires are pointed straight, you should start rolling again. At this point depending on the situation, you can now start to lightly apply the brakes, or keep moving forward.

What you can do beforehand to help prevent a skid from happening:

  • Always pay attention and be mindful of the road conditions.
  • Don’t accelerate or brake too quickly.
  • Don’t make sharp turns.
  • Make sure you have good tires. See your trusted auto service center or 4×4 mechanic for help picking out a tire.
  • Make sure all auto parts are working correctly.

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