How to Handle a Vehicle Skid

Skidding Tracks on Road
Guy Donges,

Inclement weather may bring obstructions on the roadway, whether wet leaves, piles of snow, black ice or a rain storm’s shallow puddles that are just deep enough to make your car hydroplane.

Knowing how to handle your car in the event of an unexpected skid – which can happen in any weather – is imperative. Check out our tips below to help decrease your chances of spending a beautiful day in the emergency room, the auto body shop, or both!

  • Don’t panic. Easier said than done, right? Even though you feel totally powerless when mid-skid, the actions you take when your car’s skidding can greatly reduce your risk of injury.
  • Turn your steering wheel into the skid. Aim for the direction you want your car to go. If the front end of your car starts drifting to the left, turn your steering wheel in the opposite direction – to the right. Unfortunately, a lot of drivers will instinctively turn their steering wheel in the wrong direction, which only makes matters worse.
  • Don’t jerk the steering wheel when you turn into the skid. Overcorrection puts your car in danger of fishtailing. You’ll want to gently point the car in the right direction.
  • Don’t hit your brakes. Don’t hit the gas, either. When your car’s in the middle of a slide the best course of action is to let gravity do its thing by taking your foot off the accelerator. Punching the go-stick is the last thing you want to do, and hitting the brakes may increase the likelihood your tires won’t regain natural traction.
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Practice makes perfect, and sometimes you simply have to experience something first-hand in order to understand how the movement of your steering wheel can help you recover from a skid. Consider taking the opportunity to practice steering out of a skid in an empty, wet parking lot. Start with baby steps, driving slowly, and always be sure your seat belt is buckled, practice skidding or not.

It may not always be possible to prevent a skid. Depending on road conditions and the time of year, even the most cautious drivers occasionally encounter the unintended and sometimes terrifying skid. Still, that’s no reason not to slow down when driving in wet conditions or across slick roadways. When you exercise extreme caution, you dramatically reduce the possibility that you’ll have to fall back on your training for steering into a skid.


Have you ever had to recover from a skid? Did it work? Have any tips to share with other drivers? Let us know what you think by leaving your comments in the box below.

Practiced skidding one time too many? You may need a new set of tires, check out Openbay first. Compare pricing and book service from quality local shops with the click of a button. Openbay is car repair for today’s world.

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Image credits: Team Openbay