Handling Skids on Icy Roads - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Handling Skids on Icy Roads

REAR-WHEEL SKIDS

The most effective way to get your vehicle back under control during a skid is as follows:

  • Take your foot off the brake or accelerator.

  • De-clutch on a car with a manual transmission, or shift to neutral on a car with automatic transmission.

  • Look and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.

  • As the rear wheels stop skidding to the right or left, counter-steer until you are going in the desired direction.

  • In a rear-wheel drive vehicle, if you over-correct the first skid (Step 4), be prepared for a rear-wheel skid in the opposite direction. Practice and the use of timely, gentle movement of the steering wheel are necessary to avoid this type of skid.

  • Once the vehicle is straight, release the clutch or shift to drive, apply gentle accelerator pressure so that the engine speed matches the road speed, and accelerate smoothly to a safe speed.

FRONT-WHEEL SKIDS

Front-wheel skids are caused by hard braking or acceleration if your vehicle has front-wheel drive. When the front wheels lose traction, you will not be able to steer the vehicle. Regardless of whether the vehicle has front-, rear- or four-wheel drive, the best way to regain control if the front wheels skid is:

  • Take your foot off the brake or accelerator.

  • De-clutch on a car with manual transmission, or shift to neutral on a car with automatic transmission.

  • If the front wheels have been turned prior to the loss of traction, don't move the steering wheel. Since the wheels are skidding sideways, a certain amount of braking force will be exerted. (Unwinding the steering wheel will result in regaining steering sooner; however, the vehicle will be travelling faster because there is little sideways braking force. This technique should only be attempted in situations where limited space and sharp curves exist -- however, in this case do not reduce pressure on the brakes, because the vehicle will shoot off in the direction the wheels are facing.)

  • Wait for the front wheels to grip the road again. As soon as traction returns, the vehicle will start to steer again.

  • When the front wheels have regained their grip, steer the wheels gently in the desired direction of travel.

  • Release the clutch or shift to drive and apply gentle accelerator pressure so that the engine speed matches the road speed, and accelerate smoothly to a safe speed.

  • There is no risk at all of the car skidding in the opposite direction.

FOUR-WHEEL SKIDS

Sometimes all four wheels lose traction. This generally occurs when the vehicle is driven at a speed too fast for conditions. The most effective way to get your vehicle back under control when all four wheels skid is:

  • Ease foot off the accelerator or take your foot off the brake.

  • De-clutch on a car with manual transmission or shift to neutral on a car with an automatic transmission, if you can do so quickly.

  • Look and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.

  • Wait for the wheels to grip the road again. As soon as traction returns, the vehicle will travel in the desired direction.

  • Release the clutch or shift to drive and maintain a safe speed.

  • NOTE: Avoid using overdrive on slippery surfaces

BRAKING

To survive on the road in winter, proper braking is essential.

Stopping on slippery surfaces means motorists must increase sight lines, following and stopping distances.

Beware of shaded spots, bridges, overpasses and intersections. These are areas where ice is likely to form first or be the most slippery.

Braking if you don't have anti-lock brakes:

If you don't have anti-lock brakes, the most efficient technique for braking under these conditions is to use threshold braking together with de-clutching (manual shift) or shifting to neutral (automatic transmission). The best way to threshold brake (to make a controlled stop) is the heel-and-toe method. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use your toes to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal just short of lockup to the point at which the wheels stop turning.

Under the stress of trying to stop quickly, drivers almost inevitably overreact and lock the wheels. If this happens, use toe-and-heel action to release brake pressure one or two degrees, then immediately reapply it with slightly less pressure.

Braking with anti-lock brakes:
According to a survey conducted by the Canadian Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety, 50% of people are unaware of how anti-lock brakes and traditional brakes differ. If you have an anti-lock brake system (ABS), use the heel-and-toe method, but do not remove your foot from the brake. When you put on the brakes hard enough to make the wheels lock momentarily, you will typically feel the brake pedal pulse back against your foot. Don't let up!

(Novice ABS users can try hard braking in a vacant snow-covered parking lot.)

How ABS works:
A sensor located at each wheel detects when the wheel stops turning and starts to skid. As soon as the skid is detected, the anti-lock system relieves the pressure just enough to allow the wheel to turn again. This allows you to steer while you continue to bring the car to under control.

Sources: Information compiled from FEMA, Emergency Preparedness Canada, the Canadian Automobile Association, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the California Department of Transportation.

  For a short video on Winter Driving Tips and a new technology called the Vehicle Stability and Enhancement System Click on Your Connection Speed:   56K     250K+     (Video provided by Newstream and General Motors)

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