Steer into a slide, what does that even mean?

Jan 11, 2023, 2:26 PM
The Utah Highway Patrol offers suggestions and reminders for how to steer into a slide while drivin...
FILE: Traffic proceeds during a winter snow blizzard in Salt Lake County (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — You’re driving in rain that turns into snow and the roads are icy. You brake to avoid the car in front of you. Brake too hard, and you could be spinning out of control.

It happened to drivers in northern Utah this week. Rain changed to snow quickly and so did the driving conditions.

It’s a good opportunity to remind drivers, young and experienced alike, exactly what it means to “steer into a skid.”

“The best way to manage any type of skid is to avoid one altogether,” Sgt. Cam Roden with the Utah Highway Patrol told KSL NewsRadio. So, slow down and give yourself more space between your car and the driver in front of you.

But for the times we start losing control, Roden said there’s a good way to remember what to do in those split seconds between a skid and a crash.

“The moment when you feel the back end of that car start to lose control, say the back end starts to come to the right, you want to steer to the right.

“The best way to think of it is you’re trying to keep the front end of your car in front of the back end of your car,” Roden said.

The sooner the driver can do that, Roden said, the odds are better that they’ll recover from the spin.

And the cardinal rule to remember is not to slam on the brakes. In this instance, braking can make the situation worse.

In a nutshell:

  • if your car is skidding to the right, steer to the right;
  • give it a second to assure you’re not going to come back around the other way;
  • then recover, start to slow down, begin braking;
  • adjust driving behavior to match the conditions.

Related reading: Utah drivers urged to slow down amid winter weather conditions








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Steer into a slide, what does that even mean?