The road surface, the speed of your vehicle, turning, and the condition of your tires can contribute to a skid. Skidding means you have lost control of the vehicle. To regain control, do not touch the brake or the accelerator, and look and steer where you want the front of the vehicle to go.

Most skids are the result of driver error. A skid can occur when you:

  • drive too quickly on poor road conditions like ice, snow, rain, mud, sand or gravel
  • turn the steering wheel too sharply
  • turn the steering wheel too much for the speed you are travelling
  • brake too firmly
  • accelerate too quickly

Skid recovery

Drive in a manner that reduces the possibility of having your vehicle skid. Plan ahead so you will not have to suddenly brake or steer. Driving in a smooth and controlled manner will reduce the chance of a skid. If the road is not familiar to you or the conditions are not ideal, reduce your speed.

It is very important that you keep your foot off the brake pedal if you start to skid. How you steer depends on the direction of the skid. Look and steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go. Do not make large steering adjustments, point the tires along the centre of your lane.

Look and steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go. Note the position of the front tires (in red).

Look and steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go. Note the position of the front tires (in red).

Braking skid (non-ABS)

If your vehicle does not have anti-lock brakes, a braking skid could occur when you apply your brakes too firmly, causing the wheels to lock. Steering control will be lost.

If you experience this type of skid, do the following:

  • Take your foot off the brake pedal. When the vehicle's wheels start to roll, steering control will return.
  • Look and steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.

If you need to apply the brakes again, use firm pressure but not hard enough to lock the wheels.

Power (acceleration) skid

A power skid occurs when you accelerate too quickly, causing the wheels to spin.

If you experience a power skid, do the following:

  • Take your foot off the gas pedal to allow the wheels to stop spinning.
  • Make any needed steering corrections. Look and steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.
  • Be careful not to over correct your steering or you may skid in the opposite direction.
  • Use gentle acceleration to continue moving forward.

Cornering skid

A cornering skid occurs when you are travelling too quickly when turning, causing the vehicle to slide sideways. Speed, tire condition, road surface, and the slope of the road can all play a part in this type of skid.

If you experience a cornering skid, do the following:

  • Take your foot off the gas pedal. Do not use your brakes.
  • Look and steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.

Off-road recovery

If you drive off the paved portion of the roadway, do the following:

  • Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel.
  • Do not try to steer the vehicle back onto the road immediately.
  • Take your foot off the gas pedal to reduce your speed.
  • Try to avoid braking. If you need to brake, use gradual pressure on the brake pedal to keep control.
  • Check for traffic before attempting to steer the vehicle back onto the road.
  • With controlled speed, return to the road gradually and straighten your vehicle in the proper travel lane.

Gradual return to the roadway.

Gradual return to the roadway.

  • Emergency Situations and Challenging Conditions
  • Loss of control