Useful Tips

Skidding of rear-wheel drive and front-wheel drive vehicles: during sharp braking, acceleration, cornering


The term "controlled skid" means controlling the machine in an emergency. It sounds nontrivial, but for those who do not know how to use this technique, the consequences on the road can be terrible. In this review, general recommendations on what to do when skidding to avoid an accident.

General recommendations

To successfully get out of the skid, the hands should be in the "10-14" position (imagine a watch face). This is the most successful grip of the steering wheel for sharp movements with large amplitude in any direction. And in any case, you must release the brake pedal, although it is very difficult to overcome the reflex. A car cannot turn and brake at the same time.

Front-wheel drive

The easiest option. Turn the steering wheel towards the skid and press the gas. As soon as the car has turned behind the wheel, gradually release gas and stabilize the car on the road so that it does not wag. The wheels should always “look” exactly where the drift is going, and the gas pedal should never be fully released.


A theory without practice is dead and barren. Every major city has extreme or sports driving courses. It is not necessary to go through the entire program, but you can work out a controlled drift in your car in a couple of hours. With an instructor and at a special circuit (often a rolled bare field) it is safe.

So, firstly, you always need to remember that it is easier to prevent a problem than to look heroically for a way out. And secondly, collisions with oncoming vehicles should be avoided at all costs. Better a passing car, a snowdrift, a ditch or even a pole, but not a “head-on” collision.

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1. Skidding of the car under heavy braking

When the car brakes, it continues to carry forward the inertia force applied to the center of gravity of the car. Four braking wheels of the car provide resistance to inertia, however, the main load is on the braking mechanism of the front wheels, the wear of brake pads which are faster than the rear.

In case of car braking, the rear wheels are prone to blocking, as they are pressed slightly against the road. If you sharply press the brake, they will not begin to roll, but slide, and all the braking will fall on the front wheels. If one front wheel slows better than the second, for example, due to different tire pressures or the quality of the road surface under them (dry and wet), then when braking your car can turn around. One part of the car will move slower than the other, the rear axle will drift, like the car itself, which will begin to move by inertia, spinning and spinning. An inexperienced driver will begin to press harder on the brakes, but this will not help.

In such a situation, you need to turn the steering wheel in the direction of skidding and align the trajectory of the car. In this case, remove the foot from the gas pedal to eliminate the forces that unfold the car. You will be asked about this at the theoretical exam in the traffic police.

2. Skidding of the car under sharp acceleration

By sharply pressing the gas pedal, you can also get a car skid, especially if the road is slippery. The rotation of the drive wheels will slip, and traction will be lost. When the driving wheels are rear, the rear axle will skid, and if the front wheels are driving, it will skid in front.

In this case, reduce the pressure on the fuel pedal. The question about this will be on exam tickets.

3. Skidding the car in a sharp turn

In the life of the driver, there are situations when it is necessary to sharply go around an obstacle on the road, for example, a hatch or a pothole, having made a sharp turn of the steering wheel, which is also a kind of braking. Braking + turning the car body - ideal conditions for skidding. If the asphalt is dry and the car’s speed is not high, you will calmly circle the obstacle, and your car will simply “wag” from side to side, but on slippery surfaces and at high speed it will skid.

In this situation, as soon as you feel that the car is skidding, get rid of the reason for skidding, namely, quickly and smoothly turn the steering wheel in the direction of skidding. The front wheels will return traction and stop slipping, and the car will become manageable and will return to its lane. Remember that after this you need to align the trajectory of the car ahead of the impact on the steering wheel.

4. Car skidding when cornering

At a bend, the car is subjected to centrifugal force applied to the center of gravity of the car. If the road is slippery, the car can carry the centrifugal force off the road. There will be a side demolition of the car. The front wheels keep the road better due to the load of a heavy engine, so the centrifugal force will shift the rear axle to the side, and the car will skid when cornering. If you press the brakes, then more inertia and braking force of the front wheels will be added. Auto will throw out of the way, and it will turn over.

In a similar situation it is impossible to slow down! Take off the speed before you enter the turn, and go into a stretch, namely, press on the gas, but not so much that you go through the turn without slowing down, and not accelerating.

Experienced drivers go through a turn even with slight acceleration, in which the inertia will be directed back, although insignificant, and will help stabilize the rear axle of the car. However, this recommendation is only suitable for cars with front-wheel drive.

5. Front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive vehicle when skidding

Regardless of the drive of the car, all cars go into a skid the same way, but they get out of it differently, because the rear drive wheels push and the front wheels pull.

In the event of a rear-wheel-drive vehicle skidding, smoothly depress the gas pedal so that the centrifugal force subsides and the car becomes controllable.

In the event of a front-wheel drive vehicle skidding, increase the pressure on the gas pedal slightly to exit the skid.

If a rear-wheel drive car skids a corner, then the rear wheels slip along the road, carried to the side of the road by centrifugal force, since the rear wheels are leading. If you press the gas, then only exacerbate the situation, it is also impossible to abruptly throw gas and press the brake.

Your task is to smoothly reduce speed by slightly reducing the fuel supply, while turning the steering wheel in the direction of skidding. The question about this will be on the exam.

If you fell into a skid on a front-wheel drive car, then turn the steering wheel towards the skid and add torque to the drive wheels. However, press the gas gently, lightly so that there is no slipping of the front wheels.

6. The centrifugal force of the car - what does the driver need to know about it?

A dry road holds wheels securely, and centrifugal force will not blow the car, but it can turn over. From school physics lessons we know that centrifugal force is directly proportional to the mass of the car and the square of the speed, and inversely proportional to the radius of rotation.

That is, the magnitude of the centrifugal force is affected by speed. When the speed is doubled, the centrifugal force will increase four times. If you reduce the speed by three times, the centrifugal force will decrease by 9 times.

Also, the larger the radius of rotation (the less its curvature), the less centrifugal force will be.

Therefore, before turning, the driver must reduce the speed, and when passing the turn, you need to “straighten the curve” as much as possible, that is, increase the turn radius.

Also, each driver should know that:

  • An empty car has the lowest center of gravity, and if you load the car (put the cargo in the trunk, put it in the passenger compartment), the center of gravity will increase. Centrifugal force is applied to the center of gravity of the car, and when entering a turn, remember that with cargo and passengers you will most likely tip over at the same speed and at the same radius of turn, at which the turn without problems passes without passengers and cargo.
  • When leaving a wooded area and seeing the “Side Wind” sign, reduce the speed, as the car may deviate from the set course.
  • If you are driving on a dry asphalt road and it started to rain, then reduce the speed and be extremely careful, because the first drops of rain accumulate the dust accumulated on the road like a mixer, creating a thin slippery film.
  • If the car with your right wheels drove into a loose wet roadside, then in order to avoid skidding, return the car to the roadway in a very smooth arc, without resorting to braking and without putting pressure on gas.
  • If you are driving on a dirt road with deep snow, then the most suitable gear for these conditions is the second. That is, the movement is carried out in a preselected lower gear without sharp turns and stops.
  • If you are moving straight and suddenly find yourself on a small slippery stretch of road, then hold the steering wheel firmly and continue driving without changing speed and trajectory.
  • For any braking, always evaluate the situation from behind.

Knowing these rules, you can easily answer ticket questions on this topic.

Author: Victoria Goldina, publication date: 03/15/2018
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