Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How to avoid the skid-

In light of our last post about Skid vehicle training we wanted to post up a "how to" on correcting for a skid IF one should occur--

When a wheel or wheels slide against the roadway due to insufficient traction, the vehicle is skidding.

Poor traction conditions (Chapter 17), a sudden change of acceleration, hard braking, a sudden change of direction or a combination of these factors cause skids. The usual result is a loss of directional control.


The front wheels slide and your vehicle continues straight ahead.

1)      Excessive brake pressure locks the front wheels (not with ABS brakes), the vehicle will not react to steering input. It continues straight.


·         Target and steer towards the travel path
·         Release the brake pedal
·         Reapply the brake more gently to continue reducing speed

2)      A sharp turn of the steering and your vehicle continues straight (under-steer)

·         Unwind the steering slightly to regain steering control (jab brake)
·         Target and steer towards the travel path

3)      With a  front wheel drive vehicle, while accelerating, you turn the steering and your vehicle continues straight (under-steer)

·         Shift to neutral (depress the clutch)
·         Jab brake (weight transfer to front)
·         Target and steer toward the travel path
·         Re-engage the transmission and proceed at a slower speed.


The rear wheels slide and the rear of your vehicle moves to the right or left.

1)      While turning, the rear of your vehicle slides towards the outside of the curve (over-steer)

2)      While driving in reduced traction conditions, you downshift, release the accelerator quickly or accelerate sharply and the rear of your vehicle begins to slide to the side.

·         Shift to neutral (depress the clutch)
·         Target and steer toward the intended travel path.

As the vehicle straightens from the first skid, the rear of your vehicle may continue past the straight position and begin to slide in the opposite direction (fish-tail –lateral acceleration)
·         Target the desired travel path
·         Input steering corrections, quickly and smoothly, to direct your vehicle where you are looking
·         When under control , reduce your speed gently
·         Re-engage the transmission and proceed at a slower speed.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Skid training-- don't slide into this

In response to many people who ask about skid training-- we found a GREAT article that shows why we at All Seasons DO NOT endorse nor use the skid monster or other "skid training" devices

In the U.S. there are some driving schools that have added a “skid car” component to their driving lessons. The goal of skid car training is to increase the car control skills of the operator, which in theory should create a safer drive (i.e., one that has a reduced likelihood of a crash). However, rather than actually improving novice driver safety, research shows that skid car training can actually decrease the safety of a novice driver. Three references (and with a little scouting around, there are several others) to appropriate studies are provided as the end of this article that are used as a basis for these conclusions.

At first blush, this seems counter intuitive – how can something designed to increase your car control skills actually have a detrimental effect? Well, the prevailing theory is that skid car training results in an over-confidence in novice drivers thus putting them into a mindset to take greater risks than optimal. The real dangers to novice drivers are not in car control, per se, but not being able to manage risk properly. Risk management can be taught in car clinics, but in a very controlled, repeatable manner which includes dealing with distractions, recognizing hazardous conditions, and reacting appropriately.

There are several problems with skid car training as follows:

1) Fun vs training. There is no question a session in a skid car is fun and for an experienced driver will probably not be detrimental. However, for a novice it becomes a fun exercise at a time when the focus should be on learning how to drive a car properly. Any time a novice gets behind the wheel, it should be taken as a serious endeavor and the focus should be on learning how to manage their environment.

2) Not in your own vehicle. A key component is getting novice drivers comfortable in their own vehicles. In car clinics, drivers are able to supplement their driving lessons with experience in the vehicle they will be driving after licensure.

3) Not controlled and deliberate. While skid cars are fun, the ability to build skills in a controlled, progressive environment is key. Students should be able to run the same “drill” repeatedly, thus creating a “driving program” that supplements their drivers education. Another key problem with skid cars is that it is quite difficult to produce a set of “training drills” that can be practiced repeatedly.

4) Not research focused. There is a body of research that points out items such as hazard perception and distraction management are the true issues that trip-up novice drivers. In order to have a positive impact, supplemental training should focus on these areas. Car control should be an implicit part of the training and not the central point, which is why skid cars can be detrimental.

The following excerpt from a study done in Norway was particularly troubling for skid car use in training:

“. . . the effects of skid training have been disappointing: the number of crashes on slippery roads has increased among young men (18-24 years) (1) in Norway when skid training was adopted as a part of driver training.”

And the study continues with:

Katila et al. (1) discussed this failure of these skid courses in these countries. They found that the increase in drivers’ confidence in their own skills in driving on slippery road conditions. Maneuvering skills give the young driver a feeling that he or she is capable of controlling the car and thereby get satisfaction from successful operations. The more difficult the operations, the greater the satisfaction is. Rewarding use of maneuvering skills probably leads to a generalization of maneuvering operations from exercises in emergency conditions to ordinary driving on slippery roads. Because of their increased confidence, drivers do not avoid difficult driving conditions or they can even take on more demanding driving tasks by driving at a higher speed”

An excerpt from information on a program in Australia (2) with addresses the goals of advanced driver training without the shortcomings of skid car training:

“The course is taught over one day via a combination of theoretical discussion in a classroom and practical experience undertaken in participants’ own cars.Practical exercises are conducted at low speeds under the supervision of expert trainers...”

The bottom line is that training novice drivers is tricky business and sometimes counter-intuitive. When looking into driving schools for your teen, ask pointed questions about the research behind their program. And in the case of skid cars, be very wary of any driving school that uses skid cars as they probably have paid very little attention to the true effects of their program.

1 - Katila, A., Keskinen, E., and Hatakka, M. Conflicting Goals of Skid Training, Accident Analysis and Prevention, Volume 28, 1996, Pages 785-789

2- http://www.aami.com.au/Resources/pdf/aami-fact-sheets/AAMI-Facts_Skilled...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Special teen driving rules

Wondering what the teen driving rules are? This is taken right off of the DOL website to better explain what you can and CAN NOT do while under the age of 18-

Special rules for teen drivers

When you get a driver license, you must follow some special rules and restrictions. These rules are in place to help protect teen drivers from accidents and help them develop and improve skills in the safest way.

If you’re under 18, you’ll be issued an intermediate driver license and must follow these special rules:

  • Passengers:
    • For the first 6 months, you can’t drive with passengers under the age of 20 unless they’re members of your immediate family (such as a spouse, child, stepchild, or siblings, both by birth and marriage).
    • For the next 6 months, you can’t carry more than 3 passengers who are under 20 years old and aren’t members of your immediate family.
  • Nighttime driving:
    For the first 12 months, you can’t drive between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. unless you’re with a licensed driver age 25 or older. The only exception to this rule is driving for agricultural purposes (transporting farm products or supplies under the direction of a farmer as described in RCW 46.20.070).
  • Cell phones:
    You aren’t permitted to use wireless devices while driving, even with a hands-free device. This includes talking on cell phones and sending or receiving text messages. You may only use a wireless device to report an emergency.

How long these restrictions apply

After 1 year of following these rules and driving without a collision or traffic citation, you can drive without limitations to the time of day or passengers you can carry. When you turn 18, these special rules no longer apply and your intermediate driver license automatically becomes a regular license.

Penalties for driving violations and accidents

  • First violation: The passenger and nighttime restrictions will be extended until you’re 18 and we’ll send a warning letter to you and your parent or guardian if you do any of the following:
    • Get a ticket for violating the restrictions.
    • Get a ticket for violating a rule of the road.
    • Are involved in an accident where:
      • You get a ticket or are determined to have caused the accident.
      • No one involved in the accident receives a ticket.
      • The cause of the accident can’t be determined.
      • Only your car was involved in the accident.
  • Second violation: Your license will be suspended for 6 months (or until age 18, whichever comes first). We’ll notify you and your parent or guardian before we take any suspension action.
  • Third violation: Your license will be suspended until you’re 18. We’ll notify you and your parent or guardian before we take any suspension action.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Getting some traction.

Traction is one of the most important things to remember when operating any kind of motor vehicle. Without it, your vehicle will not function as it is supposed to.

These common things are some of the biggest contributors and detractors of traction.

TIRES: Tires are designed with grooved surfaces called treads. These are designed to channel water, snow, etc. through the grooves and keep the rubber in contact with the road. Different tread patterns are intended for special uses such as snow tires.

Tire inflation is also very important. As shown in the diagram, properly inflated tires produce the largest “footprint” with the pavement; therefore giving the best traction. (Under inflation causes wear, overheating and may result in a blowout.)

As the tire wears the rubber tread thins and eventually becomes smooth (bald tire). The traction is produced when the treads are in good condition.

THE ROAD SURFACE: The best traction is available on smooth dry pavement. Any variation and the friction factor diminish accordingly. Refer to the chart, the starting point is a friction factor of 1; excellent tires stopped on a perfectly smooth surface.

SPEED: The speed at which you drive also decreases traction. As speed increases, distortions in the tire shape reduce the surface area touching the pavement. The increased air flow under the vehicle as your speed rises tends to reduce the pressure exerted by the weight of the vehicle on the tires.
Both of these factors cause a decrease in traction as the speed of your vehicle increases.