How to Recover from Skidding while Driving

Skidding while driving can be a frightening experience, especially when sudden downpours can make roads slippery and hazardous. When your vehicle starts to skid, it’s important to remain calm and avoid sudden movements. Understanding how to regain control quickly and recover from a skid can make the difference between a minor scare and a serious accident.

Handling skidding while driving requires utilizing proper skid recovery techniques can mean the difference between regaining control of your vehicle and experiencing a potentially dangerous crash. After all, skidding often occurs unexpectedly during turns, sudden stops, or on slick surfaces—all of which are dangerous places for a crash. To maintain safety and avoid worsening the skid, it is important to practice skid recovery techniques and stay aware of road conditions, so you can navigate skids safely and confidently.

how to recover from skidding while driving

Understanding Skids

Skidding refers to the loss of traction between a vehicle’s tires and the road surface, causing the car to slide uncontrollably. It happens when a driver turns quickly, stops suddenly, or encounters slippery conditions like wet, gravelly, or sandy roads. When a car skids, the vehicle’s tires lose traction, resulting in a dangerous situation where the vehicle can slide unpredictably, increasing the risk of accidents. Skids can also make it difficult to steer, potentially leading to accidents if the driver doesn’t respond correctly.

For drivers, understanding skids is necessary because it directly impacts their ability to maintain control during adverse conditions. Recognizing the causes and knowing how to respond can prevent minor slips from becoming major accidents. Effective skid management involves specific techniques to regain traction and control, ensuring safer driving experiences.

Types of Skids

Skidding can be categorized into two main types: front-wheel skids and rear-wheel skids. Each type occurs under different conditions and requires specific techniques to regain control of the vehicle.

  • Front-Wheel Skid: A front-wheel skid occurs when the front wheels lose traction, typically during hard acceleration or braking.
  • Rear-Wheel Skid: A rear-wheel skid happens when the rear wheels lose traction. This can occur during turns or rapid deceleration.


Skidding can be caused by various factors that reduce the traction between a vehicle’s tires and the road surface. Understanding these causes is essential for preventing skids and maintaining control while driving. 

  • Sudden braking
  • Rapid acceleration
  • Sharp turns
  • Wet or icy roads
  • Gravel or loose surfaces
  • High speeds on curves

How to Correct or Recover from a Skid

Handling a skid requires calmness and precise actions to regain control of your vehicle. Whether facing a front-wheel or rear-wheel skid, knowing the correct steps can prevent an accident and keep you safe on the road.

Front-Wheel Skid Recovery

Recovering from a front-wheel skid is essential for maintaining control and safety while driving. By understanding the proper techniques for front-wheel skid recovery, drivers can navigate through challenging situations with confidence and precision.

Step 1. Lift Off the Gas

Immediately remove your foot from the accelerator to reduce speed.

Step 2. Shift to Neutral

Shift the transmission to neutral to help the wheels regain traction, but do not steer right away.

Step 3. Steer Once Traction Returns

As the wheels slow down and start to regain traction, steer in the direction you want to go.

Step 4. Resume Driving

Once the vehicle is under control, shift back to drive and gently accelerate.

Rear-Wheel Skid Recovery

Recovering from a rear-wheel skid is a critical skill for drivers to master, especially in adverse weather conditions or on slippery road surfaces. By understanding the steps involved in rear-wheel skid recovery, drivers can effectively regain control of their vehicles and navigate safely through challenging situations.

Step 1. Stay Calm

Keep calm to avoid overreacting and making the skid worse.

Step 2. Foot Off the Accelerator

Take your foot off the gas pedal immediately to slow down.

Step 3. Steer in the Direction You Want to Go

If the rear wheels slide left, steer left; if they slide right, steer right.

Step 4. Ease the Steering Wheel

If the rear wheels start to slide the other way, gently steer towards that direction. You might need to steer left and right a few times to regain full control.

Step 5. Brake Appropriately

For standard brakes, pump them gently. For anti-lock brakes (ABS), apply steady pressure without pumping.

Tips to Avoid Skidding

While skid recovery is important, preventing skidding is even better for safe driving, especially in challenging road conditions. By following these tips, drivers can minimize the risk of skidding and maintain control of their vehicles.

  • Anticipate Slippery Conditions
    • Be proactive by reducing speed when approaching curves, turns, or areas prone to slippery surfaces, especially during rainy or icy weather, allowing for better control and reaction time in case of unexpected hazards on the road.
  • Smooth Movements
  • Practice smooth and precise movements when steering, accelerating, and braking. 
  • Avoid abrupt maneuvers such as sudden turns or hard braking, as these actions can destabilize the vehicle and increase the likelihood of skidding. 
  • Instead, maintain a steady pace and gradually adjust your speed and direction as needed.
  • Proper Hand Position
    • Keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times, ideally positioned at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions for optimal control and for quick and precise steering adjustments, helping you maintain stability and react effectively to changing road conditions. 
    • Avoid resting your hands on the gear shifter or using only one hand to steer, as this can limit your ability to control the vehicle in emergency situations.
  • Maintain Safe Following Distance
    • Leave ample space between your vehicle and the one ahead of you, especially in wet or slippery conditions so you’ll have more time to react and maneuver safely if the vehicle in front suddenly slows down or stops. 
    • A general rule of thumb is to maintain a safe following distance of at least two to three seconds, which can be increased further in adverse weather conditions.
  • Regular Vehicle Maintenance
    • Ensure that your vehicle is properly maintained, including checking tire tread depth, tire pressure, and brake performance regularly. 
    • Worn-out tires or faulty brakes can significantly increase the risk of skidding, especially on wet or slippery roads.  
    • Consider using winter or all-season tires designed to provide better traction in adverse weather conditions, further enhancing your vehicle’s stability and control.

Additional Tips for Getting Unstuck

If your vehicle gets stuck, especially in mud:

  • Do Not Spin Wheels: Spinning can dig your vehicle in deeper.
  • Turn Wheels Side to Side: This can help push away obstacles.
  • Lightly Touch the Gas: Gently accelerate to ease out of the stuck position.
  • Use Traction Aids: Pour sand, gravel, kitty litter, or salt under the wheels for better traction.
  • Rock the Vehicle: Shift between forward and reverse, gently applying the gas each time, to rock your vehicle out of its stuck position.

Video: How to Correct a Skid

For more information on driving safety and tips on correcting skids, watch this video from Geico Insurance or visit the Land Transportation Management System (LTMS) portal.


Mastering skid recovery is a vital skill for any driver, especially in the Philippines where weather and road conditions can be unpredictable. By staying calm, steering correctly, and avoiding overcorrection, you can safely navigate through skids. Always remember to keep your vehicle in good condition and adapt your driving to road conditions. Safe driving!

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