Protective Driving Skill #4:
CONCEPT: Rather than a specific technique, the instructors at Bondurant gave us more of a set of guidelines on how to deal with rapidly changing road conditions. There are plenty of situations on the road better handled by a controlled transition to of f-road than slamming on the brake pedal or trying to swerve into the next lane with no warning.
OVERVIEW: Don’t give up your control of the vehicle. Veer off the road in a controlled turn, just like you would take an off-ramp on the highway. Once you’ve avoided the obstacle on the road, you’ll want to try and square up your front end toward the road as much as possible. Keep an even foot on the accelerator at a safe speed and, once you’re back on the road, orient properly into your lane as quickly as possible and speed up/slow down as necessary for the flow of traf fic.
CONSIDERATIONS: Once your wheels hit the dirt/gravel/grass, you’ll lose some responsiveness in steering and braking. Keep your mind and your wheel ahead of the vehicle. If you turn the wheel right, don’t wait for the car to start skidding before you correct the wheel back to center. If the surface is loose gravel or sandy, any sudden acceleration or braking might induce a loss of traction. The key is to be smooth in all your inputs (steering, braking, acceleration) and anticipate the vehicle’s next move.