How to Stop a Truck Spinout

An educated foot can keep your truck moving in the right direction

You’re driving your 4x4 on a snowy road when, suddenly, you notice the road bends to the right. You slam on the brakes and crank the steering wheel to the right. But the truck continues to plow a straight line; in fact, it’s headed for a tree. Would you know how to handle this? Control of a 4x4 is determined by three factors: steering, acceleration, and braking. You can use all three in ­slippery conditions, but only one at a time. • Here are two of the most common situations you may face on snow or gravel.

truck spinout
1. Problem: Loss of TractionDan Marsiglio
truck spinout
To keep the rear end from breaking loose at a bend in the road as shown at right, apply the brakes before entering the curve. Then, release the brakes and turn the steering wheel. That done, keep the vehicle in a straight line and accelerate. More throttle at this point transfers weight to the rear tires, improving traction.Dan Marsiglio
truck spinout
2. Problem: Loss of SteeringDan Marsiglio
truck spinout
If you turn into a curve and the vehicle plows straight ahead, resist the urge to jam on the brakes and turn the wheel more—all that does is ensure a skid. Instead, gently apply the brakes, which transfers weight to the front tires, improving traction. That done, you can regain ­steering control.Dan Marsiglio