Steer into a skid, or not

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Imagine it is a cold evening in the winter and you are driving to a friend’s house, you are driving at what you consider a sensible speed and taking great care. You are only a few minutes from your destination when suddenly you turn a corner, your wheels lose their grip and your car starts to skid across the road, what do you do now?

The general consensus amongst motorists is to try and steer in to the skid, but according to Peter Rodger, the Institute of Advanced Motorists head of driving standards says that this advice can be confusing. He says that people often don’t really understand what it means to steer into a skid, and as rule of thumb you should take your feet off the pedals then turn the steering wheel to face the direction that you want to go.

There are many members of the Institute in Cumbria, and it has trained then in the skills that the officers hope will help them to avoid getting into any accidents, and also show them how best to react if an accident seems inevitable. This winters first real snow and sleet led to many collisions on the roads, but luckily nobody has been seriously injured yet.

Mr Rodgers said that for drivers to dodge accidents during the winter then half the battle takes place before they even get in their cars. He goes onto explain that before you leave you need to think about where you’re heading and what the weather is like there. If you leave Carlisle and head off to Penrith, for example, it is likely that the weather is going to be very different.

Check out the road conditions there using the media or the internet then prepare yourself for those conditions. One of the biggest mistakes that motorists make is that they don’t understand what a difference driving into different conditions can make. Another issue is whether to risk travelling at all, Police in Cumbria often advice motorists to only make essential journeys, but this often leaves drivers with a dilemma.

To be honest, the last 15 winters, bar the past two, haven’t really caught us out weather wise, and deciding whether to drive or not is, for many, a difficult decision to make. They need to fully understand the effect of a slippery road surface and how to control this, they also need to take it onboard that there is no way you can beat gravity and if there is no grip you can’t make it happen.

Before a driver sets off, they should make sure that all the snow is off their vehicle and that the windscreen is clean both on the inside and the outside to increase visibility and also stop it steaming up so much. The advice that Mr Rodgers gives motorists is clear and concise and is extremely helpful for those who cannot avoid heading out in icy roads and braving the elements. Taking heed can greatly help you once out on the roads.

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