You might think of vehicular skidding as the result of chemical spills and inclement weather only. In reality, skidding can be caused by many driving behaviors that are completely avoidable. It is essential to familiarize yourself with and avoid unsafe driving traps, and to be aware of the limitations of your vehicle. Safety Rules of the Road:
Rule 1: Inspect the tread on your tires. Without tread, tires cannot get enough traction and your vehicle will be more prone to skidding — regardless of what other precautions you take. Get your tires rotated regularly, and make sure there are no flat or bald spots on your tires.
Rule 2: Observe the speed limit in good weather, and in bad weather, drive below the limit. One of the most common causes of skidding is driving too fast for the current weather conditions. Rushing to your destination does no good if you risk life and limb to do so. Keep your vehicle, yourself, as well as other drivers and pedestrians safe by monitoring your speed carefully.
Rule 3: Avoid the tendency to over accelerate, or you might force your wheels to spin without gaining any traction.
Rule 4: On a slippery road, avoid using the speed retarder.
Rule 5: Exercise caution with how sharply you turn the vehicle. If you make a sharp turn that the vehicle cannot handle, you could force it to skid.
Rule 6: Try not to slam on the brakes. When you brake too hard, the result is that you lock your wheels and run the possibility of skidding. Back wheel lock can result in a jackknife as your trailer skids sideways and tries to “catch up” with your front wheels.
Rule 7: Reduce your speed on curves and turns. If you drive through curvy roads and turns too quickly you might not give your trailer or rear a chance to change direction.
Stopping a Skid in Progress
If you find yourself beginning to skid, and feel that you are running the risk of jackknifing, follow these instructions:
- Skidding while braking: Take your foot off the brake pedal then push your clutch in while you steer.
- Skidding while accelerating: Take your foot off the gas pedal and you should stop skidding. Next, push your clutch in while you steer.
- Skidding while turning: As the trailer begins to jackknife, steer your vehicle in the direction you are headed for. Then, as the trailer begins heading in the direction you want, quickly turn the wheel in the opposite direction. This is called a countersteer.
The more familiar you are with these methods of skid avoidance and skid stopping, the more successful you will be when you need to employ them. If you think that some focused training would help you in better executing these tips on the real roads, let your employer know that you are interested in additional training.