Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
Leaving Website

You are now leaving and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

The Car Skids — What You Should Do

Learn how to avoid trouble on the road

Skids happen when the tires lose their grip on the road. Skids can be caused by these driver errors.

  • Overbraking: Braking too hard and locking up the wheels. Skids can also occur when the road is slippery.
  • Oversteering: Turning the wheels more sharply than the vehicle can turn.
  • Overaccelerating: Supplying too much power to drive the 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 overaccelerate and do not have to overbrake or oversteer from too much speed.

One of the best ways to avoid trouble (not just skids) on the road is to drive smoothly. Plan ahead, watch carefully and slow down, especially if you are unfamiliar with the road. Most skids occur when conditions are slippery.

If you find yourself in a skid, take your feet off the pedals. Stop braking and stop accelerating. Then, quickly turn the steering wheel in the direction you want to go. As your vehicle turns back in the correct direction, you will probably then need to steer in the opposite direction to stop the turning and stay on your desired path.

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership— $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine. Find out how much you could save in a year with a membership. Learn more.

Join Now

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?

close up of a gold car parked near the water during sunset

AARP Auto Buying Program Powered by TrueCar

Shop for a car with safety features you want. Buyers can get a free AARP Smart Driver course.

close up of a gold car parked near the water during sunset

Please Select Make

Please Enter ZIP Code

Please Select Make

Please Enter ZIP Code