Forrest Road Covered in Snow

What Should You Do When Your Car Starts to Slide on Icy Roads?

How To Correct a Skid on Ice and Snow in the Winter

Winter has arrived in Maine. When winter arrives and road conditions deteriorate, it is important to pay attention to your driving habits. In an ideal world, you can avoid driving on snow- and ice-covered roads – that is not always the case – and when you are on the road, there is a good chance you will run into some issues. Learn how to correct a skid on ice and snow in the winter when disaster strikes with this quick winter driving safety guide provided by Downeast Toyota.


READ MORE: Why Do You Need a Set of Snow Tires for Winter Driving?


Different Types of Winter Skids and How To Correct Them

The best piece of advice for winter driving is to stay home and avoid bad winter weather. Wait a few hours, let the weather clear up and let snow-removal crews clear the roads. We all know this is not always possible and if you have to leave the house, it is important to know how to react if and when your car starts to slide on the ice and snow. Understand that there are different types of skids and different ways to recover with this guide.

Wheelspin 

You may experience wheelspin when you accelerate too quickly and your tires spin faster than your vehicle moves. When you experience wheelspin, all you need to do is take your foot off the accelerator. Remember to accelerate evenly and steadily when faced with winter driving conditions. 

Wheel Lockup 

When you brake suddenly on snow or ice, you may experience wheel lockup – a situation where your wheels stop turning and your vehicle continues to slide. To correct for this skid, release and reapply the brakes. Modern vehicles employ Anti-Lock Brakes to avoid wheel lockup, but it is important to know how to react if you have an older vehicle.  

Understeer Skid 

Understeer occurs when the front tires lose traction and your vehicle is unable to make a turn. An understeer skid is common when you enter a corner with too much speed and can be avoided by slowing down. To correct an understeer skid, take your foot off the accelerator, gently apply the brakes and steer in the direction you want to go with small adjustments. 

Oversteer Skid 

An oversteer skid takes place when the rear tires of your vehicle lose grip and the rear end starts to slide sideways. In order to correct an oversteer skid in a rear-wheel drive car, let off the accelerator and use subtle movements to steer in the direction you want to go. When in a front-wheel drive vehicle, take your foot off the brake, accelerate gently and steer slightly in the direction you want to go. 

Woman Walking on Snow-Covered Road in Winter

Counterskid 

A counterskid or fishtail can occur when you do not properly correct for oversteer in winter conditions. The key to recovering from a counterskid is to always use slight steering adjustments to keep your wheels pointed down the road in the direction of travel. Be careful not to overcorrect steering.


READ MORE: Top 3 Winter Driving Safety Tips for Maine Drivers


When you hit the road this holiday season, it is important to pay attention to road conditions. Armed with this guide that highlights how to correct a skid on ice and snow in the winter, you can maintain control and remain safe when disaster strikes. If you are looking for a new vehicle that will better handle winter driving, visit the Downeast Toyota inventory to find a model that is tailor-made for Maine winters.