What was your experience with slingshots

You will also find out how to behave properly in snow, slippery areas and wet conditions and how to prevent skidding.

What do you have to do if your car starts to skid? We answer all the important questions. Thomas Keil, trainer and training coordinator of the ADAC driving safety centers in southern Bavaria, gives helpful expert tips.

  • Why is the car skidding?
  • How do I behave properly with slingshots?
  • How can I prevent skidding?

Why is the car skidding?

Another term for skidding is "breaking the vehicle" out of the road. We'll explain how it comes about.

What does skid mean?

"From the driver's point of view, a vehicle skids when it no longer drives as desired, but slips uncontrollably on the road," explains ADAC expert Thomas Keil. The tires lose their grip on the road. The problem: if the tires slip, the driver can no longer steer the vehicle properly. There are two forms of skidding.


If the front tires no longer have a grip on the road, one speaks of “understeering” or “pushing” the car. The car's "nose" can no longer be controlled. If you are in a curve, the front tires slide outward more.

The good thing is: By “pushing” the car is automatically braked and normally stabilizes itself. All new vehicles are more likely to be designed to understeer.


"Oversteering" is more dangerous. The rear tires lose their grip and the rear slips out of the lane. Most motorists fear the situation under the term “skidding”.

“In the worst case scenario, the car will start rotating or gyrating in an uncontrolled manner,” says Thomas Keil. “The situation is very difficult to master for the normal driver.” If the car rotates on its own axis, it poses a great danger for all road users.

When does the car skid?

Skidding doesn't always have a specific cause. The following applies: The risk of skidding increases at higher speed or when the car is being driven hectically.

The weather also plays a role: the slippery or slippery the road surface, the faster the tires lose their grip. The car skids. Other risk factors are fog, storm and rain, because they make visibility worse when driving. If an obstacle is recognized late, you may have to steer quickly and hectically. The risk of skidding increases.

The best tactic: Don't let it spin at all. If that does happen, you should react correctly.

How do I behave properly with slingshots?

If you feel that your vehicle is breaking away, you have to react quickly. If your rear tires slip and your car starts to turn, the risk of an accident is high. ADAC expert Thomas Keil recommends:

  • Stay on the road. That should be your number one goal. If your car comes off the road, the risk of accidents and death increases.
  • Go slower. Immediately take off the accelerator. Then carefully try to slow down. On a straight stretch, you press the brake slowly and lightly. Especially when cornering, you shouldn't brake too hard or too quickly. That can put too much strain on the vehicle. Better to let the car coast down when cornering.
  • Take the corridor out. Step on the clutch and take the gear out of gear. That neutralizes the tires. It counteracts the centrifugal forces that cause the car to break out of its lane. In the case of an automatic gearshift, move the lever to position N.
  • For professionals only: Steer against. The car can be caught again at the first moment through controlled and quick counter-steering. It works like this: Take the steering wheel firmly in your hand and steer quickly, but in a controlled manner and only slightly in the other direction. For example, if your car swerves to the right, you have to steer to the right to catch the rear again. If it breaks out to the left, steer to the left. Counter-steering is very difficult without practice! You should practice this in a driver safety training course.
  • In an emergency: do an emergency stop! If you cannot get the vehicle under control and are heading towards an obstacle, only emergency braking will help. It is important to take the steering wheel firmly in your hand and apply the brakes with full force. Hold on to the brakes until the car comes to a stop.

How can I prevent skidding?

“The probability of skidding is particularly high if a driver drives too fast or steers hectically in wet, snow or black ice,” explains Thomas Keil. If you follow the basic rules of conduct, the risk of skidding decreases:

  • Drive slowly and with foresight: In bad weather such as snow, slipperiness or rain, the road conditions are also worse. Drive more carefully and more slowly than usual. Keep a greater safe distance from the person in front of you.
  • Drive quietly: Hectic and fast steering movements increase the risk of skidding. If the road conditions are poor, the tires can spin when accelerating and braking. It is better to steer slowly and with calm turning movements. Accelerate and brake gently.
  • Find out more on the radio: The weather service on the radio also provides information about poor road conditions. You can better prepare for danger.
  • Plan your trip: If the roads are slippery or slippery, you should plan more time for the journey. You should only take trips that are really necessary.

What do I have to watch out for in poor road conditions?

If the roads are wet, slippery or snowy, there is the greatest risk of skidding. Poor visibility can also hinder motorists. We explain what you should do and when.

Tips for rain or hail

Heavy showers of rain and hail can occur all year round. As a driver, you may then hardly see anything and recognize a curve or an obstacle too late. “The faster you have to react as a driver, the more likely you are to steer hectically or quickly,” says Thomas Keil. “The more hectic and quicker you pull the steering wheel, the higher the risk of the car skidding.” The following applies: Drive with foresight, with a greater safety distance and at a lower speed than usual.

Tips for aquaplaning

Sudden, heavy rains can flood the carriageway in a matter of minutes. When the tires “float” on the water, it is called aquaplaning. Your car slips in the puddle and loses contact with the road. You can no longer control your vehicle. There is a high risk of slipping out of the lane and being thrown off the road.

If it rains, slow down in good time and avoid recognizable puddles and pools of water. It often helps to drive in the tire tracks of the vehicle in front of you. The car has usually already pushed the water off the road.

Tips in fog

Especially in autumn and winter, thick fog often makes visibility worse. Even then, you may recognize obstacles too late. You should drive particularly carefully in fog and pay attention to the following:

  • Turn on your driving lights and your fog lights.
  • Drive with foresight and slower than usual.
  • Open your window panes: Then you can hear some dangers that you can barely see through the fog.

Tips when there is a storm

"It's similar with a storm," explains Thomas Keil. "In a strong gust of wind it can happen that you turn the steering wheel quickly and hectically".

The following applies in particular: Hold the steering wheel firmly with both hands.

Tips for smoothness

Slippery roads and black ice are a great risk of skidding. Check whether the road is slippery before driving. Drive very carefully, slowly and with foresight, especially on bridges or in wooded areas, the risk of slipping is high. If possible, you should avoid these areas.

Tips for snow

If there is a lot of snow, the risk of slipping is high. The tires have a poorer grip on the snow layer. The tires can spin as soon as the vehicle starts. Always drive slowly and in the highest possible gear. The car can break away from jerky steering movements, especially when cornering and when changing lanes. Steer particularly sensitively and carefully. Brake and accelerate slowly.

Also note: In winter road conditions you need more time for each route and there are often traffic jams. Before each trip, consider whether you really need to drive the route. Winter tires are compulsory when it is slippery and snowy.

Which security systems help?

Security systems are in most automobiles these days. Who knows how they work and what your warning and indicator lights mean is better prepared for a spin.

The Electronic Stability Program (ESP)

The ESP brakes individual wheels in a targeted manner when the vehicle breaks away. This counteracts the skidding. If the ESP light flashes, you are about to spin. Keep steering carefully in the direction you want to go. The ESP should automatically stabilize the vehicle.

The anti-lock braking system (ABS)

The ABS ensures that the wheels do not lock up when the brakes are hard. This means that you can continue to steer well when braking and the vehicle is more likely to stay in lane. If your ABS indicator lights up and / or your brake pedal starts pulsing, it means that the road is slippery. Immediately drive slower and more carefully.

On the safe side

Now you know why the car is skidding and how you can best react in an emergency. The principle always applies: equip your car with the right tires, drive with foresight and watch out for other road users.

Do not underestimate bad road conditions due to wet, snow and slippery conditions. Extreme caution is also required in rain showers, fog and storms. The easiest way to prevent the car from skidding is at an adapted, slow pace.

If you're involved in a skidding accident, Allianz Direct's motor vehicle liability insurance will help. The Fully comprehensive insurance assumes the costs even in the event of accidents caused by yourself and gross negligence. Find out more about partial coverage Allianz Direct.

We wish you a good trip all the time! Your Allianz Direct

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