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2.19 – Skid Control and Recovery

A skid happens whenever the tires lose their grip on the road. This is caused in one of four ways:

  • Over-Braking. Braking too hard and locking up the wheels. Skids also can occur when using the speed retarder when the road is slippery.
  • Oversteering. Turning the wheels more sharply than the vehicle can turn.
  • Over-Acceleration. Supplying too much power to the drive wheels, causing them to spin.
  • Driving too fast. Most serious skids result from driving too fast for road conditions. Drivers who adjust their driving to conditions do not over accelerate and do not have to over brake or oversteer from too much speed.

2.19.1 – Drive-wheel Skids

By far the most common skid is one in which the rear wheels lose traction through excessive braking or acceleration. Skids caused by acceleration usually happen on ice or snow.

Taking your foot off the accelerator can easily stop them. (If it is very slippery, push the clutch in. Otherwise, the engine can keep the wheels from rolling freely and regaining traction.)

Rear-wheel braking skids occur when the rear-drive wheels lock. Because locked wheels have less traction than rolling wheels, the rear wheels usually slide sideways in an attempt to “catch up” with the front wheels. In a bus or straight truck, the vehicle will slide sideways in a “spin out.” With vehicles towing trailers, a drive-wheel skid can let the trailer push the towing vehicle sideways, causing a sudden jackknife.

2.19.2 – Correcting a Drive-wheel Braking Skid

Do the following to correct a drive-wheel braking skid:

  • Stop Braking. This will let the rear wheels roll again and keep the rear wheels from sliding.
  • Counter-steer. As a vehicle turns back on course, it has a tendency to keep on turning. Unless you turn the steering wheel quickly the other way, you may skid in the opposite direction.

Learning to stay off the brake, turn the steering wheel quickly, push in the clutch and counter-steer in a skid takes a lot of practice. The best place to get this practice is on a large driving range or “skid pad.”

2.19.3 – Front-wheel Skids

Driving too fast for conditions causes most front-wheel skids. Other causes include lack of tread on the front tires and cargo loaded, so not enough weight is on the front axle. In a front-wheel skid, the front end tends to go in a straight line regardless of how much you turn the steering wheel. On a very slippery surface, you may not be able to steer around a curve or turn.

When a front-wheel skid occurs, the only way to stop the skid is to let the vehicle slow down. Stop turning and/or braking so hard. Slow down as quickly as possible without skidding.

Multiple-Choice Questions:

Question #171 (1 of 6)

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Do the following to correct a drive-wheel braking skid:

  • Turn the wheel left and right slowly and carefully
  • Stop braking and counter-steer
  • Stab brake quickly
  • Disable the ABS system

Do the following to correct a drive-wheel braking skid:

  • Stop Braking. This will let the rear wheels roll again and keep the rear wheels from sliding.
  • Counter-steer. As a vehicle turns back on course, it has a tendency to keep on turning. Unless you turn the steering wheel quickly the other way, you may find yourself skidding in the opposite direction.
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Question #170 (2 of 6)

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If your drive tires (the wheels that put power to the ground) lock up from over-braking you can normally let off the brake and the tires will spin again. If the road is slick and the tires continue to slide, what can you do?

  • Turn the wheel left and right slowly and carefully
  • Stab brake quickly
  • Push in the clutch
  • Disable the ABS system

Drive Wheel Skids: Taking your foot off the accelerator can easily stop them. (If it is very slippery, push the clutch in. Otherwise, the engine can keep the wheels from rolling freely and regaining traction.)

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Question #172 (3 of 6)

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Driving too fast for conditions causes most front-wheel skids. Other causes include:

  • ABS system engaged on the front wheels or hydraulic brakes
  • Lack of tread on the front tires and cargo loaded so not enough weight is on the front axle.
  • The trailer brake is not fully released or the Jake Brake setting is too high
  • A misaligned brake chamber or too much speed in the curve

Driving too fast for conditions causes most front-wheel skids. Other causes include lack of tread on the front tires and cargo loaded so not enough weight is on the front axle.

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Question #169 (4 of 6)

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By far the most common skid is one in which:

  • The front wheels lose traction through excessive braking
  • The trailer tires lose traction going through a curve too fast on slick roadways
  • The front wheels lost traction through excessive steering
  • The rear wheels lose traction through excessive braking or acceleration
By far the most common skid is one in which the rear wheels lose traction through excessive braking or acceleration. Skids caused by acceleration usually happen on ice or snow.
A tractor-trailer can not accelerate like a car, so spinning the tires because you're on the gas too hard is pretty rare unless you're on snow or ice. Be extremely careful when braking in slick conditions!
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Question #173 (5 of 6)

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What may cause the front end to go in a straight line regardless of how much you turn the steering wheel?

  • A front-wheel skid
  • Being too gentle on the brakes in a curve
  • Excessive air pressure in the drive tires
  • The ABS system deactivated the braking

In a front-wheel skid, the front end tends to go in a straight line regardless of how much you turn the steering wheel. On a very slippery surface, you may not be able to steer around a curve or turn.

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Question #168 (6 of 6)

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Most serious skids result from:

  • Over-accelerating
  • Driving too fast for road conditions
  • Oversteering
  • Over-braking
Driving too fast. Most serious skids result from driving too fast for road conditions. Drivers who adjust their driving to conditions do not over accelerate and do not have to over brake or oversteer from too much speed.
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