Stage 4: Skidding – Part 3
Find an appropriate practice location
The hardest part about practicing skidding is finding an appropriate place to practice. Obviously, you need a large area such as a parking lot with as few obstructions (such as light poles, curbs, and trees) as possible. Based upon all of the parking lot practice you and your teen did in the first two stages, this shouldn’t be too difficult to find. What’s a little trickier is finding a day whose weather cooperates. You need a rain-slicked or snow-covered area to attempt skidding.
Show your teen how it’s done (as best you can)
Assuming you’ve found an appropriate location with suitable conditions, you can begin practicing skidding. Some teens are going to be excited at this prospect and some are going to be extremely frightened. You know your teen better than I do, but no matter their temperament, I strongly suggest that you drive in their shoes and show them how to initiate the skid and how to recover. If you do not already know how to do this, learning with your teen is perfectly acceptable. Simply verbalize everything that’s going through your mind as it happens.
For instance, you may start skidding and you would say, “Okay, the rear tires are slipping. I’ve taken my foot off both pedals. I’m gently steering to the left. Got traction again. Accelerating slightly.” Obviously, the first few times, it may be difficult to not say, “Holy <bleep>, we’re skidding!” Even if you struggle with this exercise (most of you will unless you’ve practiced this before), your teen is still benefiting from the experience. For starters, they’ll realize that this is a difficult task that will take some practice. Secondly, they’re getting a feel for what it’s like when the car starts to skid (albeit from the passenger’s seat).
How to practice skidding
- Accelerate to 20 to 25 mph.
- Hit the brake hard to initiate a skid.
- Try to recover. Remember what we discussed in <Skidding Part 2>. Take your foot off the brake and gently steer in the direction you want to go.
Once you’ve got a feel for how to recover from the skid, have your teen do it several times. It’s OK if they don’t master this skill. Most drivers can’t. What’s important is that your teen realize how difficult it is to recover from a skid and how dangerous it can be if your car gets into a skid. This should help hammer home the next point.
The safest way to recover from a skid is to avoid it in the first place
Skidding occurs when you’re driving too fast for the conditions. So, slow down when it’s raining, snowing, or the roads are slippery.
When a skid becomes a spin
A skid that goes uncorrected most often becomes a spin. A spin can only be “fixed” be regaining steering control. This is usually accomplished by firmly gripping the steering wheel and staying off the brake. More techniques are outside the scope of this website and should be handled by an advanced driving school. Suffice it to say that a spin is incredibly scary and dangerous and that most drivers will completely freeze up if their cars goes into one. Again, the safest way to recover from a spin is to avoid getting into one in the first place.
Continue on to Passing on Two Lane Roads