Cars in India | Autoportal.com
Select City

Different types of skid and how to overcome them

Snapshot: Here is a list of various types of skid that you might encounter and how to overcome them

Winters and monsoons bring a whole lot of difficult situations in front of you while you're busy trying to get to your place of work or back and can put you into situations that are even the best drivers' nightmare. Not even just monsoons, the driving conditions in most of our cities have a very nasty habit of putting you into situations that are scary and dangerous. They can be unforgiving, and usually end up with not just the people inside the car, but also the people around you getting hurt. Reacting instinctively in the spur of the moment can prove to be even more dangerous, so we've listed out the kinds of skids that you can encounter in everyday life and how to handle them.

Wheel lock

It is not uncommon to hear tyres screeching in protest under hard braking, and quite often the sound of a crash. Minor or major, no one fancies their car being totalled. New technologies such as ABS and EBD make sure that you stop faster and safer than unassisted braking. Would you call me crazy if I said that sometimes it may be a safe way of braking in a straight line? Here is my reason for saying so - when you brake on a surface which is made of things such as loose dirt, the locked tyres dig into the dirt and reach to the solid surface underneath, helping the car to stop faster than it would if the wheels were rolling. Indeed rolling friction is better than static friction when it comes to stopping a car, and that is why even under manual braking when you experience a wheel lock, let off the pedal just a tiny bit so that you regain movement of the wheels.

When you're on an icy or wet road, you should never jam the brakes like it is the end of the world.

Progressive braking is the way to go. Progressive braking is when you go from no braking to maximum possible braking without locking the wheel. As the car slows down, the braking effect increases and the car stops faster. Under icy conditions such as snow and black ice, it is easier to lose control. With friction heating the surface of the tyres at the contact patch, the top surface of the ice melts and turns to water, reducing friction. Cold weather also hardens the tyre, reducing the quality of friction that the tyres have on the road. 

Wheelspin

Top of the line cars have promotional videos where the driver spins the wheels of the car, tyres giving off dense white smoke, and speeds off onto the racetrack. These are stunts performed under extremely controlled environment such as racing tracks or abandoned airport strips, and only by professionals. Such a wheelspin can cause loss of control, especially if you're on a slope. Many of us have the habit of overpowering the car and letting the clutch go. This causes a loss in traction and the car to skid out of control and slide backwards. On a straight surface, the dynamics are different. Wheelspin causes the surface of the tyre to get heated and become soft, and when it reaches a threshold, it suddenly provides traction and the car lurches forward. This can be risky in crowded places where there are cars or people nearby. If one doesn't gain control of the car, it could result in an accident.

Overpowering the car just for fun can be risky and should be done under a controlled environment, and where it doesn't pose a threat to anyone.

If it happens by accident, then one should try and understand the car better so that they can comtrol it better.

Waterplaning

Driving fast is fun and even more when it has rained or has been raining. We don't usually go about changing our tyres to suit the condition of the road.

Well used tyres can be bald and that is disastrous for anyone driving at high speed and for people around.

The grooves in the tyres are meant to displace water and to be able to achieve contact between the tyre and the road. When they are worn out or missing, they can cause the tyres to leave a layer of water between their surface and the road leading to a total loss of traction (grip) and to loss of control. A lot of accidents happen in India on the highways because of this. The only solution to this is to make sure that the tyres are in good condition and that they are of a softer compound. It is given that softer tyres wear out faster and need replacement faster than harder compounds, but that is the only way to make sure that you stay safe while driving fast, especially on highways.

Understeer

This happens usually in front wheel driven cars when the front wheel looses traction and the car doesn't turn in the direction that you want it to. This  is also called the 'push' effect. There are two reason why this happens, first being aggressive braking and the second being applying the accelerator while turning the car. Under aggressive braking, if the wheel locks, it will cause the car to go in a straight line instead of turning in the direction you want the car to steer. The solution to this is letting off the brake slightly so that it lets the wheel move and the car to turn. If you keep going with powering the car, the wheels might lose traction again causing the car to not steer and go in a straight line instead. To control the car, you should let off the accelerator and apply brakes gently but firmly. You should always keep your eyes at the point where you want the car to go.

Oversteer

Oversteer happens in the same way as understeer does, but instead of the front wheels, the rear wheels lose traction and the car turns more than it is supposed to. This usally happens with rear tyres spinning because they're being overpowered. You should let go of the accelerator and let the car come back into control. This can also happen with applying the brakes too hard while steering the car. While you brake, the shift of weight is towards the front of the car and this can be to such an extent that the rear of the car doesnt have enough weight to maintain enough traction.

If you're driving a front wheel drive car, you should take your foot off the brake and accelerate slightly.


Video teaches you how to attack corners at speed while still maintaining control, with techniques on coralling oversteer/understeer to get the most out of your car.

Counterskid

The counterskid occurs when you have met with oversteer and failed to correct appropriately. The rear end of the vehicle will skid to the left and right, and this motion increases with each swing. If you don’t fix the first or second skid, you’ll often generate enough momentum to make the third skid very violent and difficult to recover from. The only way to not let this happen is prevention. Correct the swing of the car in the first and the second time with countersteering, and you'll be fine. 

Arpit Phillips

Editor

If you keep these tips in mind while driving them and being comfortable enough with them to be able to recall and apply them while you're in the thick of any of these situations, you can avoid a major accident and become a better driver.


 

Related car news

  • What is Oversteer and Understeer? 07-12-2016 Pankaj Vig What is Oversteer and Understeer?
  • What is Monocoque construction? 08-12-2016 Pankaj Vig What is Monocoque construction?
  • Royal Enfield Opens First Showroom in Australia 08-12-2016 Mayank Royal Enfield Opens First Showroom in Australia
  • Toyota Unveils New 2.5L Petrol Engine for TNGA Vehicles 08-12-2016 Mayank Toyota Unveils New 2.5L Petrol Engine for TNGA Vehicles
  • Britten V1000, the bike that beat the world 08-12-2016 Prashant Singh Britten V1000, the bike that beat the world
  • Current Offers and Discounts on Maruti, Hyundai, Fiat & Renault Cars – December 2016 08-12-2016 Davender Soni Current Offers and Discounts on Maruti, Hyundai, Fiat & R...


Helpline