Suggests drivers prepare for possible skids
Sharp's Driving Tips (logo)
Published 6:52 pm, Wednesday, November 13, 2013
We've had a recent warm spell of weather, but it's getting colder and snow and black ice can't be far behind.
So start getting the mindset to anticipate what you'd do in a skid.
Experiencing a skid under safe conditions is the best way to learn how to handle one.
Attending one of the fine driving schools available, such as Skip Barber's up at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, can do the trick.
You don't have to plan to be a race driver to attend and the lessons learned can be life-saving.
Handling skids at these schools is taught on what is called a "skid pad."
This is a large area of pavement covered with water to allow student drivers in cars with pretty bald tires to intentionally make the car skid and learn the techniques to deal with it.
If you aren't able to attend one of the schools, there's an alternative.
See if you can find a big open area, such as a parking lot, with public access and no obstacles that could get in your way. Then, the next time the weather is snowy or icy, very carefully and very slowly drive around in circles in it to get your car to slide and experiment to see how to brake and steer in a skid.
You don't need to go fast and you do need to make sure there are no other cars or obstacles around.
Try steering in the direction of the skid so you can experience the advice I'm sure you've heard before.
And remember if your car is equipped with ABS (anti-lock braking systems), do not pump your brakes to stop in slippery conditions.
Press the pedal firmly and hold it pressed until you come to a stop. Pumping brakes is the thing to do if you do not have ABS. ... Find out if you have it before you need it.
Another tip is to watch the distance you follow the car in front of you.
Conventional wisdom is that you should stay back one car length for every 10 miles per hour of speed.
Not a bad thought, but it wouldn't hurt to stretch that out a bit more for an extra dose of safety.
And finally, the Sherman Traffic Safety Work Group is having a free program Sunday, Nov. 17 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Sherman School.
Arnie Kinsler, of AAA, and I will be helping mature drivers polish up their driving skills and learn some new ones for themselves or to pass on to their loved ones.
There'll be giveaways, raffles and refreshments, so reserve a spot by dropping an email to the address below or by calling Beth Trott at 860-354-2414.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, no distractions, and no texting while driving!
If you have a question or a suggestion for future Sharp Driving tips, please send it along to Bob in care of the Sherman Traffic Safety Work Group at ShermanTrafficSafety@gmail.com.
Bob Sharp was a six-time Sports Car Club of America national racing champion and IMSA GTU champion with 10 starts and 10 wins; past Nissan and Ferrari-Maserati car dealer; 50 years of selling cars and racing with Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Walter Payton and his son, Scott Sharp. Bob wants to help future, new and experienced drivers have fun but stay safe in a lifetime adventure in the craft of driving.