How Do You Correct A Rear Wheel Acceleration Skid?

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Before there were offroad 4WD or FWD, there was rear-wheel drive. In fact, this was the earliest iteration of motor driving that shaped modern car dynamics. Today rear wheel drive is mostly limited to high-performance cars, SUVs, or trailers.

One of the common driving issues with an RWD car is the acceleration skid which causes the car to lose traction and spin out of control.

Let’s explore the reasons behind it, what triggers it and most importantly, what can you do to correct a rear wheel acceleration skid.

What Is a Rear Wheel Acceleration Skid?

 A rear wheel acceleration skid is also known as a  power slide or oversteer skid. This is a phenomenon when the car loses traction on the rear wheel. Now you might ask why the rear wheel loses traction.

That is because of excessive power delivery. Most RWD cars are performance cars which means they are capable of delivering insane power the moment you hit acceleration.

Combine that with a wet or slippery road and you have a high chance of losing the rear traction of your car. What exactly happens is that the rear of your car moves away from the turning.

With a low grip on the surface, the aggressive move results in the car rotating around its vertical axis which is known as an oversteering phenomenon. 

Because the car is RWD, the front wheels do not face any excess power from the rear acceleration during oversteering.

As a result, the front wheel maintains some traction compared to the back. This makes the situation extremely difficult to control as the car rapidly swings wide. 

Without proper and immediate corrective action, you might face some serious accidents on traffic-heavy roads. It will also damage the car suspension and the tire along with body damage from collisions. 

How to Correct Rear Wheel Acceleration Skid? 

Correcting the rear wheel acceleration skid is nothing difficult. However, everything happens so fast during a skid that without proper mental preparation, it’s difficult to do the correct thing at the exact time to right the skidding. 

Now there is no way you can prepare yourself for skidding by practicing. However, you can take mental notes of the following. 

Staying Calm 

Skidding generally occurs drastically without much of a prior sign.  As a result, it’s important to stay calm and deal with the situation with a level head. The calmer you are, the more affirmative actions you can take. 

Ease off the Accelerator 

The first thing to do in case of a rear wheel skidding is to completely cut off the acceleration. You can either completely let go of the throttle or gradually ease off power from the rear wheel. The choice will depend on the traction control of your car. 

Let go of the throttle instantly if your car has high traction control. If it doesn’t, go for gradual deceleration. 

Steer into the Skid 

This one is like a rule of thumb. You will have to steer your car in the direction of the skid. For example, you turn right and the car starts skidding to the left. 

Rather than maintaining your turn to the right, counter-steer to the left to align with the skid. This will help to promptly correct the car.

Be Smooth 

Do not abruptly counter-steer. Be smooth and gradual with the pace of the car. A sudden motion or jerking will only worsen the situation and in extreme cases will counter-skid in the opposite direction.

Situational Awareness

Overall situational awareness is important. Skidding is truly one of those car phenomenons where anything can happen. Track the motion of your car, and its speed, and adjust your deceleration and steering accordingly.

Avoid Sudden Braking

This is the golden rule when it comes to handling rear wheel skidding. DO NOT EVER suddenly brake your car when it starts to skid.

The right thing to do is to remove the acceleration without hitting the brake. Only brake when the car is sufficiently slowed down or skidding at a very low speed.

Related: How Does A Fifth Wheel Hitch Work?

How to Prevent Rear Wheel Acceleration Skid?

Now let’s talk about what you can do to prevent rear wheel acceleration skids in the first place. Because let’s be honest, it’s better to prevent it altogether than deal with it precisely. Here’s what you can do. 

  • Gradually apply the acceleration instead of slamming on the accelerator. This will prevent the car from rear wheel skids. 
  • Keep track of the road condition. If the road is wet or slippery, try to drive at a reduced speed than normal to avoid any skidding. 
  • Most modern cars have a Traction Control System installed in their car. Make sure the TCS is activated and functioning properly.
  • Manage and maintain your tires properly. Make sure the tire treads aren’t worn off as it is the primary defense against any kind of skidding. 
  • Make sure to evenly distribute the weight in your bar, especially for long-wheelbase cars. Overloading the rear too much might trigger the rear wheel skidding. 
  • Avoid doing stunts like drifting if you are not a professional. 
  • Consider getting an All-Wheel Drive car. 

Beyond these, you can also prepare yourself under the guidance of a driving teacher. They can induce skidding on a skid pan in a controlled environment to teach you what to do in case of rear wheel skidding. 

You can also check out this video to get a better idea about the do’s and don’ts. 

Some Advanced Methods of Recovering Acceleration Skids

If you are someone who is fairly a pro when it comes to driving the car, then you can consider mastering some advanced techniques. These include–

Trail Braking

Trail braking is a technique where you will need to apply a slight brake right before steering into a corner. This will transfer the weight to the front wheel which will drastically improve the traction. 

Throttle Modulation

Throttle modulation is the process of mastering the acceleration and deceleration techniques precisely. It can help a lot to smoothly avoid and correct any kind of skidding. 

Counter steering / Opposite Lock

For a beginner, it is suggested to counter-steer equal to that of the skid rotation. But if you are a pro, you can go for the opposite lock which involves counter-steering more than the skid in the same direction to drastically correct the car. 

Heel and Toe Technique

This technique is for the racing pros driving performance cars. It involves the use of clutch, throttle, and brake at the same time to gain total control of a skidding situation. 

Regardless of your driving skills, the best course of action would be to build situational awareness to avoid rear-wheel acceleration altogether. But if you still end up in one, keep a cool head and follow the above instructions.


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