Last month I was lucky enough to be invited on a weekend break in Northampton to have a Skid Pan experience as part of a new project by Direct Line Car Insurance
We had such a great time the night before and had lots of laughs over a meal (and a few wines). It was not only lovely to catch up with my blogging friends Hayley, Rachel and Kip, but it was great to meet Penny, Lilinha, Tim and Catherine too.
The next morning we headed to the Skid Pan track and started the experience! Well. After becoming rather lost but that’s another story…
The course is essentially a large slippery road service which has been prepared for users to practice how to deal with a skidding car. At the experience we had, oil has been poured on the ground to ensure a decent skid!
We took it in turns to drive the cars around the course, and took advice from the instructors before being left to our own devices, which of course meant lots of spinning and skidding!
What was surprising driving the cars on the Skid Pan course was that even at very slow speeds, skidding is still possible. We learnt how to deal with a skid, and also how NOT to deal with one.
It’s great to have practiced these skills in a controlled, and most importantly safe environment, and whilst we had great fun spinning the cars and sliding about on the oil, it really was quite scary to feel how easily the car can lose control when it starts to skid.
We also learnt how to deal with a skid when driving at different speeds, but of course, the best way to get out of a skid, is to avoid getting into one in the first place, so we learnt about that too!
Sometimes it really is about being aware of the type of road you’re driving, and what types of hazards may be there, or about being aware of the weather conditions and having your vehicle suitably prepared and in good condition.
There are three main causes of skidding; harsh acceleration, harsh braking and harsh steering alongside harsh acceleration.
So, basically and perhaps rather obviously the smoother driver you are, the lower your risk of skidding. It may sound simple, but so many accidents occur on our roads each year due to skidding and whilst there is not much you can do to control the weather or external factors such as oil spillages or other substances on the road, it is helpful to know what to do if you find yourself in this situation!
Do you know what to do if your car starts to skid? Regardless of the external factors, the action you need to take is the same. Just remember:
If you’re in a skid best thing to do is to lift off your right foot to remove the cause
It’s pretty simple. Take your foot off the accelerator to avoid skidding, you need to try point the car where you want to go. The reason you need to move the wheel is because, by slipping, the car has changed direction and you need to compensate for it.
The biggest mistake people make is to wrench the wheel round and over-compensate. You need to keep your eyes on where you want to be, and keep steering towards it.
Depending whether or car is front or rear wheeled drive you have to take action with your acceleration, as in DON’T!
But…in a front-wheel-drive car, you don’t take your foot off the accelerator when things get hairy, you correct the steering and give it more power so the car can pull itself out of the skid.
All sounds very confusing in words, but once we had a few practice runs, it became clear. I think keeping calm and going with your gut instinct really helps too. I found that I took the right actions without thinking about it, the key is not to panic!
Direct Line Car Insurance very kindly paid for the Skid Pan experience, our accommodation, meal and refreshments (wine) so huge thanks to them! We had a great and very useful weekend! Special thanks to Graham who organised the event too 🙂
If you have the chance to have a Skid Pan experience, go for it. You’ll learn loads AND It’s great fun!
Here’s a very cheesy video of me and some other bloggers at the Skid Pan experience! The videos can also be found on their website!