Vehicles are the most stable when driving in a straight line, but just about every route requires you to make at least one turn to get to your destination. Learning how to turn is just as important as the other skills you learn as a driver. While the technical answer to the question of whether you should brake or accelerate when turning is that you should do both, the truth is there’s a fine art to knowing when to accelerate or brake that can make you safer on the roads. Here are some tips to help you turn safely, brought to you by Altra Insurance Services, a premier provider of auto insurance San Diego drivers trust for high-quality service and reliable, affordable coverage.
Understand How Turning Impacts Stability
The weight of a vehicle shifts to the front when braking, and the opposite occurs during acceleration. A vehicle’s natural tendency is to continue going in a straight line, which is why you may sometimes feel like your body is being pushed in the opposite direction when you’re turning. Combining this with the weight shift that occurs during acceleration or braking can cause the vehicle to lose some of its stability.
Begin Braking Before You Enter the Corner
During a turn, the vehicle relies on the tires and traction of the road surface to maintain stability. Going too fast through a curve decreases traction, which can lead to a skid. Ideally, you should begin to brake before you hit the turn. This allows you to move through the curve at a more stable speed.
Maintain a Stable Speed During the Turn
If you brake too much before the turn, you may find that you need to accelerate slightly to maintain the car’s momentum. In this case, you should apply slow and steady pressure to the brake while making sure to speed up just enough to keep going.
Start Accelerating as You Straighten the Wheel
At this point, you’ll have completed your turn to the point where your steering wheel has straightened out. This also means your car is back to the most stable point where it’s moving in a generally straight line. Accelerating now helps you get back up to the speed limit without worrying about causing your vehicle to spin out.
Consider Additional Critical Factors
There isn’t a set speed at which a car is the safest when making a turn, but you can assess several variables to determine how much you need to slow down or accelerate. On roads where traction may be lacking, you’ll need to brake more. Going slower around a turn on a rainy day or when you’re on an unpaved path can prevent you from skidding.
You may also need to go much slower on blind turns. When you can’t see what’s around the corner, proceeding cautiously is the best way to avoid accidents. As a final note, remember the type of vehicle you’re driving also affects its stability. Top-heavy vehicles have a higher rollover risk compared to low-profile vehicles, and you’ll need to use extra caution with cars that lack stability technology.
Your insurance agent can provide you with additional safety information and tips to help you enhance your driving skills. If you’re looking for reliable car insurance and high-quality service, call on the trustworthy agents from Altra Insurance Services. We can also provide you with motorcycle, renters, and home insurance. San Diego residents should give us a call today at (619) 404-6311.