Blowouts and skids are among the scariest things that can happen to a driver. You’re driving along the freeway, and then suddenly you feel yourself losing control of your car. You hear a loud pop, and then suddenly your car is pulling violently in one direction—or you hit a patch of black ice, and you find yourself drifting towards the car in the lane next to you.
It’s a terrifying sensation—and even if you are able to completely recover from the skid without any damage, you’ll almost certainly feel your heart pounding for quite a while afterwards.
How you react in those first few seconds after losing control can make the difference between life and death. An improper reaction can lead to a potentially fatal collision or rollover, whereas the appropriate response can save you from any major damage or injury.
What NOT to do
When reacting to a skid or blowout, most people instinctively want to slam on their breaks and yank their steering wheel in the opposite direction of the slide. However, this is precisely the wrong response—abruptly lifting your foot off the accelerator, slamming on your breaks, or jerking your steering wheel will make the situation much, much worse and likely cause you to completely lose control.
Drive through the skid
Your goal is to keep the vehicle balanced (to avoid a rollover) and to continue driving in the correct direction. Here is how you can accomplish that:
- Keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times while driving. This will help you react faster in the case of an emergency.
- If you start skidding, do not slam on your brakes—rather, slowly release your foot from the accelerator.
- Do not jerk your steering wheel in the opposite direction of the skid. Instead, try to steer in the direction you want to continue traveling. That is, your goal is to keep going straight in the lane you were using, so turn the steering wheel only far enough to accomplish that goal.
- Once you have regained control of your car through appropriate steering and gently releasing the accelerator, gently accelerate or brake to return to normal speed. Pull over to the side of the road if you need to.
Blowouts and skids can be safely driven through—it all depends on how you react. By knowing what to do, you can keep yourself from getting into a major accident as a result of a blowout or skid. However, if you have experienced an automobile accident, contact the Utah collision repair professionals!
By Tim Crain.