When you or your employees drive a fleet vehicle, there is a continuous risk for accidents. A common type of precursor to an accident in certain weather conditions is a skid, though the quality of the road can also make this happen more frequently.
There are certain ways of driving, regardless of the hill or type of road, that can help you prevent or get out of a vehicle skid. As a driver for your business, you can’t avoid driving, but you can avoid a potentially fatal accident.
Common Causes of Skids
It first helps to understand more about skids and what causes them. A skid can happen for many reasons, including driving too fast for certain road conditions, like rain or ice, and giving your fleet vehicle too much power, which causes the wheels to spin. Other ways include turning the wheels on your vehicle too sharply for the turn and braking too hard. The latter causes the wheels to lock up.
Road Conditions to be Aware Of
Certain road conditions that put you at risk for skids and potential accidents. As far as rain goes, the asphalt of the road is most dangerous during the first 10-15 minutes. This is because it contains petroleum, which gets extremely slippery. Concrete is usually not as slippery as asphalt, but rain and snow can still cause a skid on concrete. Gravel roads will have more of a risk of ice forming than other types of roads, and dry sand can cause skids due to the reduction of traction. Other things to keep an eye on are banking on the roads, curves and road edges, and potholes.
How to Recover From a Skid
If your fleet vehicle starts to skid, there are ways to regain control of the vehicle and recover from the skid before doing any damage. The way to correct it depends on the type of skid. For a front-wheel skid, you need to release your foot from the gas and let the vehicle slow down. Stepping on the break isn’t going to help, so simply remove your feet and let it slow down on its own. This type of skid is harder to recover from, but not impossible. A rear-wheel skid gives you a little more option. The first thing to do to recover from the rear-wheel skid is take your vehicle off the break to let the rear wheels roll naturally. Then you should steer in the direction you want your fleet vehicle to go.
Tips for Preventing a Skid
Preventing a skid also depends on the situation at hand. If you are going uphill, you should downshift before reading the grade and remain in the same gear. Go at a slow and steady pace, not increasing the speed. Of course, having snow chains or tires helps when it is during the winter season. If you’re going downhill, downshift before reaching the grade, which is possible because you should be slowing down as you reach the hill. Carefully put your foot on the brakes.
By implementing these tips you increase your chances of being able to prevent skidding or at the very least, correct it before you get into an accident. Always be aware of your surroundings, including your vehicle performance, the road conditions and the weather status.
However, there are times, no matter how careful of a fleet driver you are, you may be involved in an uncontrollable skid the results in a vehicle collision and accident. Although we hope that this situation never occurs, it’s best to be protected with commercial auto insurance.