At some point, every driver of Western New York has probably encountered the terrifying experience of sliding on ice while driving. Getting into a car crash can be an unwelcome source of legal liability even if no one is hurt. Fortunately, there are a few key things you can do to regain control of your vehicle as quickly as possible once you feel yourself starting to spin out on the ice.
Here are three things NOT to do when you notice your car start to slide:
1. Don’t slam on the brakes
It can be difficult to resist the instinct to slam on the brakes when you feel yourself start to spin, but doing so can make the situation much worse. Instead, take your foot off of the accelerator and stay calm.
If your car is an older model that doesn’t have an anti-lock braking system, using your brakes can lock up your tires when on ice.
2. Don’t overcorrect
Jerking the steering wheel abruptly in one direction can cause the back of the car to fishtail, especially if done while slamming on the brakes. If your car is already in a spin, attempting to correct the spin by turning your steering wheel too sharply can actually increase your car’s momentum, making the spin worse. Turn your steering wheel slowly and purposefully. If the back of the car snaps back the other way, as sometimes happens when the rear end is fishtailing, resist the impulse to overcorrect or jerk the wheel back and forth.
3. Don’t steer in the wrong direction
During a spin, make sure to turn the steering wheel into the same direction that the back tires of your car are rotating. For example, if the back of your car is spinning to the right, turn your steering wheel to the right as well. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it is the fastest way to straighten out your car and stop the spin.
Avoiding these common pitfalls can prevent an expensive and potentially fatal crash.
When you feel your car begin to spin on the ice, it can be easy to panic. If you manage to keep focused and apply these three tips, you will be much more likely to regain control of your vehicle quickly to avoid crashing into other drivers on the road.