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Old 22.12.2011, 18:56
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Controlling a skid in the snow..

A couple of days ago I was having my summer tyres changed at a garage when two guys started to discuss how to recover your car if it got into a skid...

As it was snowing heavily outside I thought it might be interested to eaves-drop and so it proved.

The two methods were

1. Turn into the skid until you feel traction, then accelerate softly, don't break hard - That is what I was taught and although it goes against your instinct it does work if you are fast enough.

2. And this one really surprised me - Remove your hands from the steering wheel and feet from the pedals for an instant then re-apply then you will re-gain control.

Now I was a little intrigued at why such a move (2) would be beneficial and he explained the following:

When you are driving your body is in tune with your car, you may not notice it but even on a dead straight road you are constantly adjusting the steering, sometimes at such a small rate you won't even feel it....

If you get into a skid this bond with the steering heightens, your first reaction will be to panic, which may effect your judgement and therefore cause you to over-steer, break etc etc etc....

But, if you break the bond, your mind and car immediately start a new relationship, you naturally will adjust steering the car to where it must go.... I did raise an eyebrow and told him it was an interesting theory, he smiled the smile of a man that knows best...

Then...

The next morning coming down a steep him, mountain on one side and oblivion on the other I got into a skid, I went to turn into it but I would have turned in to a place of no return if i messed it up, so I did let go for an instant, then just steered ahead and blow me sideways it felt like the skid never happened at all, the correction was immediate.

I would not like to test again under the same circumstances.

I'm sure others have experiences or know of a way to best do this, both these ways I have now used, if there are any more that don't go against instinct I would be happy to know.
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Old 22.12.2011, 19:10
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Re: Controlling a skid in the snow..

Well, the worst skids I've ever had have been two-wheel skids on a motorcycle (twice, two different bikes, and not speed or weather related, but rather invisible crap on the road).

I think I basically did the hands-off approach (not totally, but more or less), but most important is to NOT PANIC and ride it out!

Tom
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Old 22.12.2011, 19:14
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Re: Controlling a skid in the snow..

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The next morning coming down a steep him, mountain on one side and oblivion on the other I got into a skid, I went to turn into it but I would have turned in to a place of no return if i messed it up, so I did let go for an instant, then just steered ahead and blow me sideways it felt like the skid never happened at all, the correction was immediate.
Did the little stability & traction control light blink at all during this "immediate correction"?
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Old 22.12.2011, 19:16
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Re: Controlling a skid in the snow..

I can imagine if you felt yourself going down on a bike (motor-bike) you could kinda let it slide away on it's own? I don't mix with bikes much.
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Old 22.12.2011, 19:20
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Re: Controlling a skid in the snow..

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Did the little stability & traction control light blink at all during this "immediate correction"?
If it had one it may have, however it was my wife's runaround which is tech. limited.
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Old 22.12.2011, 19:31
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Re: Controlling a skid in the snow..

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If it had one it may have, however it was my wife's runaround which is tech. limited.
Physics say that once the car skids sideways, unless traction is reestablished by realigning the wheels with the momentum vector, it is quite unlikely that said vector changes orientation in the absence of outside forces...

Where is LiB and his advanced knowledge of both physics and winter tyres&driving when you need it?
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Old 22.12.2011, 19:48
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Re: Controlling a skid in the snow..

I went into a slow skid driving down a snow covered road. With chains on the front, I over-egged it a bit and the back started to swing out. I tried to correct, failed, and let of of the wheel took my feet off the pedals as described... and ended up facing uphill.
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Old 22.12.2011, 19:56
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Re: Controlling a skid in the snow..

I believe this is the easiest way - should be the best for those travelling in a two-wheel drive car:

1. Push clutch to the bottom
2. Align your two front wheels with the direction the car is travelling
3. When you feel is back, carefully steer through the curve (avoid rapid changes in steering)

Through the whole process, don't touch the accelerator.

This won't get you through the curve quickly, but safely.
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Old 22.12.2011, 20:00
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Re: Controlling a skid in the snow..

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I can imagine if you felt yourself going down on a bike (motor-bike) you could kinda let it slide away on it's own? I don't mix with bikes much.
Fortunately, I didn't go down in these cases.

The three times I did, only one was in a corner (leaves and chestnuts), twice in a straight line (once at the track, no-one could figure that out), and once after recovering after losing the rear due to a pot hole in mid corner going up the Sighignola, got into a tank slapper after the corner.

Ironically, I've never gone down when NOT wearing full leathers, I guess I should ride without!

Tom
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Old 22.12.2011, 20:01
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Re: Controlling a skid in the snow..

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I believe this is the easiest way - should be the best for those travelling in a two-wheel drive car:

1. Push clutch to the bottom
2. Align your two front wheels with the direction the car is travelling
3. When you feel grip is back, carefully steer through the curve (avoid rapid changes in steering)

Through the whole process, don't touch the accelerator.

This won't get you through the curve quickly, but safely.
Forgot maybe the most important part: Don't use the brakes while skidding.
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Old 22.12.2011, 20:13
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Re: Controlling a skid in the snow..

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Forgot maybe the most important part: Don't use the brakes while skidding.
Why do modern cars have ABS brake control then?


A mountain driver.
Salut Zämma
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Old 22.12.2011, 20:41
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Re: Controlling a skid in the snow..

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Forgot maybe the most important part: Don't use the brakes while skidding.
Wrong my husband As been on 2 Special courses how to Control your Car in the Snow. You MUST Break but very important is Break then take your Foot off Break take Foot off keep doing this very fast. This also appies to when you Need to do an emergency stop this saved us from having a nasty accident a few weeks ago on the motorway
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Old 22.12.2011, 21:09
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Re: Controlling a skid in the snow..

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Wrong my husband As been on 2 Special courses how to Control your Car in the Snow. You MUST Break but very important is Break then take your Foot off Break take Foot off keep doing this very fast. This also appies to when you Need to do an emergency stop this saved us from having a nasty accident a few weeks ago on the motorway
And stops the risk of brakes locking.
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Old 22.12.2011, 21:12
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Re: Controlling a skid in the snow..

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Why do modern cars have ABS brake control then?


A mountain driver.
Salut Zämma
I agree the past way we learned to control skidding doesn't work with ABS, I think the way ABS turns on and off the brakes to keep the wheels from locking up work great. But I came down the alps with a swiss man and we started skidding and he grabbed the handbrake and I thought oh no, he has ABS what's he doing.. well he kept grabing the hand brake and we went around about 6 times and ended up against a stone wall luckily from behind, at first I thought it was coming on my side but we hit the rear of his car.. he never once let the ABS work and I swore never to ride with him again.. let ABS do it's job and don't pump the system does it fast and controls lock up. If you grab the handbrake it locks up the rear wheels.
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Old 22.12.2011, 21:14
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Re: Controlling a skid in the snow..

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And stops the risk of brakes locking.
Yes saves lives. It saved ours a few weeks ago all i could do was scream, but my hubby was in Full Control
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Old 22.12.2011, 21:16
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Re: Controlling a skid in the snow..

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A couple of days ago I was having my summer tyres changed at a garage when two guys started to discuss how to recover your car if it got into a skid...

As it was snowing heavily outside I thought it might be interested to eaves-drop and so it proved.

The two methods were

1. Turn into the skid until you feel traction, then accelerate softly, don't break hard - That is what I was taught and although it goes against your instinct it does work if you are fast enough.

2. And this one really surprised me - Remove your hands from the steering wheel and feet from the pedals for an instant then re-apply then you will re-gain control.

Now I was a little intrigued at why such a move (2) would be beneficial and he explained the following:

When you are driving your body is in tune with your car, you may not notice it but even on a dead straight road you are constantly adjusting the steering, sometimes at such a small rate you won't even feel it....

If you get into a skid this bond with the steering heightens, your first reaction will be to panic, which may effect your judgement and therefore cause you to over-steer, break etc etc etc....

But, if you break the bond, your mind and car immediately start a new relationship, you naturally will adjust steering the car to where it must go.... I did raise an eyebrow and told him it was an interesting theory, he smiled the smile of a man that knows best...

Then...

The next morning coming down a steep him, mountain on one side and oblivion on the other I got into a skid, I went to turn into it but I would have turned in to a place of no return if i messed it up, so I did let go for an instant, then just steered ahead and blow me sideways it felt like the skid never happened at all, the correction was immediate.

I would not like to test again under the same circumstances.

I'm sure others have experiences or know of a way to best do this, both these ways I have now used, if there are any more that don't go against instinct I would be happy to know.
Start cursing and swearing in Spanish ,the Snow and ice will melt
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Old 22.12.2011, 21:24
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Re: Controlling a skid in the snow..

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Start cursing and swearing in Spanish ,the Snow and ice will melt
On a more serious NoteWhat I use to do ,as soon the ground is covert with ice/snow,go to a shopping center or a empty parking lot and practice.Take it from a guy which lives in the land of ice and to much snow
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Old 23.12.2011, 01:40
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Re: Controlling a skid in the snow..

Here in Canada the typical thing to do is to quickly switch to neutral while breaking and if you find yourself twisting to let go of the break and steer away from your unintended objective. If you really know your car you can also accelerate out of it, but that's complicated and risky if you don't know how to do that.

ABS has been shown to actually get you to stop further in the snow on a straight skid as it allows the build up of snow in front of the tires, while breaking, to be released.

With the last poster, I agree totally. Go out and practice in a safe environment. I have some 7-8 months with snow on the ground, so at least we get plenty of time to practice.
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Old 23.12.2011, 04:05
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Re: Controlling a skid in the snow..

my Abs light just came on.....damn what a difference to not have the dsc (bmw)

Best thing to do is.....nothing.


You are going to and will more than likely crash into whatever direction it is you are going. Sit back, Panic, turn the wheel as much as you can in every direction, stomp on the breaks.....you know that is the only thing you will do as instinct takes over.

All depends on speed and what electronics your car has to control the vehicle. once it is gone it is gone and unless you are a professional driver (rally) forget about it.

So be careful and don't allow the vehicle to go into a skid.

I did one the other day as I work at night (ice on roads) and well luckily I wasnt going fast , did a 270 degree and hit nothing (empty roads)



as for the accelaration technique; for the regular driver this is what will happen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3souxFjWgLk
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Old 23.12.2011, 13:00
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Re: Controlling a skid in the snow..

Oh my - there are some good answers - and some scary ones.

Firstly - and this is most important - if your wheels are locked - un lock them. This is usually done by lifting your foot off the brakes. Once the wheel is rolling you have control and begin sorting the problems out.

BASICS
There are 4 contact points with the road - the 4 tyres.
Car controls are not on/off switches - they are progressive. That means brakes, throttle and steering.
Hand position is crucial - there are 2 schools of thought. I go for 915 - and leave my hands there - I don't move them. If my hands are always in that set position on the wheel, I know exactly which direction my front wheels are pointing!!
All inputs are done smoothly!!!

Secondly - we need to define a skid. There are 2 types (of which there are subtypes).

UNDERSTEER
This is when the wheels are scribing an arc greater than their angle - IE you're going straight on into a barrier/tree. You should apply the brakes until the car gains grip at the front and starts to turn in. Once the car has turned in gently release the brake. If you don't you may end up moving into.....

OVERSTEER
This where the back of the car attempts to overtake the front of the car. This happens where the front of the car has more grip than the back. The most common cause of this is insuffiicent load over the rear axle. When you brake for a corner - you get a weight transfer to the front axle - if you then turn in - there is little weight over the back - keeping the rear tyres in contact with the tarmac.
To correct - lift your foot from the brake (perhaps even moving to a balanced throttle - 20-30% throttle pressure) - and steering into the skid.

HOW TO AVOID SKIDS
Driving without skidding is relatively simple. This is all based around the circle of grip. A tyre has a certain grip - this grip can be used for acceleration/braking and/or cornering. As conditions get worse the circle gets smaller. The more you try and get a tyre to do - the more likely you will go outside the circle.

You can increase the circle by applying load to a tyre (as mentioned above).

However, the most simple piece of advice I can give is this:
ONLY DO ONE THING AT A TIME

IE you brake in a straight line, you accelerate in a straight line. And you only steer when you are not doing either one of those 2 things.

Never enter a corner with more speed than you need. If you have to brake mid-corner - you transfer weight to the front axle - losing back-end grip - causing oversteer.

I would highly recommend a proper driving course with a qualified instructor to better understand the physics of how a car operates.
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