Cause of Car Slides When Driving

by Misty Barton
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When driving, you may seldom find yourself in ideal conditions. Tires become at risk of damage the moment you leave the tire shop, and adverse weather can affect driving conditions year round. Multiple factors related to road and tire conditions can cause your car to slide. These slides can be a major accident causing event, or a minor occurrence with no real effect, depending on the severity of the traction loss.

Oil Deposits

When it rains, oil deposits on the surface of the road, in combination with rubber dust, rise to the top of the rainwater on the road, creating a film. This thin film layer can keep your tires from making good contact with the road's surface. In order to avoid a serious slide, slow down in wet weather and watch for the rainbow spots of oil on the road surface. These spots are especially prominent at intersections where a large number of vehicles stop. You should also turn off your cruise control.


Water on the road can cause a specific kind of slide called hydroplaning. Hydroplaning occurs when the car's tires glide on top of water on the road and actually lose contact with the road's surface completely. The deeper the water pooled in the road, the greater the risk of sliding. To avoid hydroplaning, try to stay out of deep tracks in the roadway, avoid driving through flood water or deep pools in the road, slow down and avoid braking.


Snow can shift under the car tires, causing them to slide. There is nothing you can do about snow movement but there are ways that you can prevent becoming a victim of snowy road conditions. Realize the limit of four wheel drive; it can be useful in adding traction but is not a substitute for appropriate tires and careful driving. Before winter begins, have appropriate tires rated for snow put on your vehicle. These tires have a special kid of tread that can both cut through the snow and offer additional contact with the surface of the road for improved traction.


Ice creates a glossy glasslike surface on the roadway. If your tires cannot cut through the ice, you have no contact with the pavement, which seriously impairs the car's ability to maintain traction. Sliding on bridges and overpasses is common in icy conditions. In order to prevent a slide when there is ice on the roadways, lower your speed and avoid braking and passing.

Tire Issues

A number of tire issues can cause or contribute to a slide. A tire that is bald or has too little tread can contribute to a slide. Also tires that are over- or under-inflated can add to a loss of traction and stability. If a car does not have four matching tires it is significantly more likely to slide. Monitor tire condition to ensure you are traveling safely. You tires should improve your driving conditions, not make them worse.

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