It happens something like this: You're driving down the highway at 60 mph, well within the speed limit. Suddenly, a car tries to change lanes into the path of your vehicle. You jerk your steering wheel to get out of the way, and your car starts to spin a little too far to the left.
In most circumstances, drivers will automatically jerk their steering wheel to the right to counteract the spin-out, but it's easy to overcorrect. After an overcorrection, your car starts to spin out of control in the other direction and a serious, potentially-fatal accident ensues.
How to handle your car in spin-out conditions
Faced with the fear and surprise of a car suddenly spinning out, most drivers react without thinking. This is the opposite of what you should do. React quickly, yes, but you also need to stay calm and collected. Spin-out scenarios require quick, calm, subtle movements to get your car back on track. Otherwise, disaster can result.
Here's some advice for avoiding spin-out crashes:
- Take a "skid control" class: There's no better teacher than safely putting yourself in spin-out conditions in a controlled environment after receiving guidance from a skilled and experienced driving coach. If every driver took a skid control class, drivers could avoid numerous fatal accidents.
- Notice the exact moment you lose control: You need to react to the spin-out as soon as possible, or your car will get to the point when nothing can be done.
- Take your foot off the gas: Your first reaction should be to remove your foot off the gas pedal. The gas pedal is your enemy when your vehicle starts to slide. It will only make the spin out worse.
- Fix your gaze on a target: Stay calm and gaze at a target ahead of you, preferably that target will be on the road, but if you're already off the road fix your gaze on a safe path that's free of obstacles. This is the direction you want to go. Do not fixate on the thing you're in danger of hitting.
- Steer toward your target: Gently guide the car toward the target by steering toward it.
Be careful in slippery road conditions
Drivers need to be careful to stay in control whenever snow and ice are present. This could be as simple as driving slower in a manner that reflects the current road conditions.
Sometimes, there's nothing drivers can do to prevent a spin-out crash. It's important for drivers or passengers hurt in these kinds of accidents to consider who might be at fault. Is another driver at fault for the crash, or was the city or municipality at fault for failing to maintain the road? If another party was at fault, then injured people may have the ability to pursue a claim for financial compensation against the at-fault party.