Precautions for Avoiding Skids, Slips and Accident

Published in Personal Insurance News & Insights on Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Travel will be hazardous tonight and through much of tomorrow given moderate to heavy snow amounts as well as strong winds. Road conditions will likely be poor, especially in open areas where windblown snow will cover roads even after they’ve been cleared. Losing control of a car is undoubtedly one of the most frightening experiences behind the wheel. Unfortunately, it is a potential side effect when the temperatures turn cold and the roads get slick.

One of the most dangerous winter driving hazards is skidding, which at high speeds, could result in a nasty crash. To prevent an unnecessary skid, slip or accident, consider the following accident prevention techniques.

  • Slow down ahead of turns and curves, as this will allow you to prepare for potential icy spots
    – When at a curve, apply power slightly to the gas and steer steadily. Do not change directions abruptly and refrain from braking suddenly.
  • Plan ahead for lane changes.
    – Check your rear view mirror and blind spot, and then signal your direction to alert other motorists.
    – When changing lanes, move over in a long, gradual line with minimal steering changes.
  • Look out for ice patches, piles of wet leaves and shady areas. These areas are skidding hazards.
  • Anticipate stops by slowing down gradually, well ahead of intersections. These areas are generally slicker than other parts of the road because of the excess starting and stopping traffic.
  • Drive at reduced speeds.
    – Slow your speed and increase your following distance behind the vehicle in front of you. This will allow for a larger buffer in case you start to lose control.
  • Avoid overpowering in deep snow.– Use a light foot on the accelerator (rather than slamming on the gas to move forward).

If You Start To Skid

If your car starts to skid, do not panic. Steer in the direction that the vehicle is sliding until you feel the wheels regain traction. Then, slowly straighten your wheels and keep rolling.

If you need to brake before your tires regain traction, apply the brake carefully so that you do not lock your wheels.

Did You Know?

Your vehicle's braking distance directly depends on the kind of contact that the tires make with the road's slippery surface. To get the best traction, purchase snow tires (and even chains) to help keep your vehicle under control during the winter months.

In The Event of an Accident

  • First, stay calm.  Accidents happen quickly and can be upsetting. Stay calm, and don't argue with others involved in the accident.
  • Prevent additional accidents.  Warn oncoming traffic with a light, flag or similar device.
  • Help the injured.  Do not render first aid unless you are qualified.  Call an ambulance if anyone is injured.
  • Call the police.  Don't discuss what happened with anyone except the police.
  • File a report. In the event that the police are unable to respond to your call, you'll need to go to the nearest police station and file an accident report.
  • Alert PDCM Insurance. Call us at 319-234-8888 to report the accident. You may also report an accident on our website at