How Virtual Reality is helping teach what to do when your car starts to skid | News
How Virtual Reality is helping teach what to do when your car starts to skid | News

Source: NBC RightNow

TRI-CITIES, Wash. 

As winter sets in and frost, snow and ice starts sticking to the roads, the chance you’ll find yourself sliding on the road goes up. 


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One company that does trainings for teenagers, company trainings and even police has a new tool to help show the way road conditions and distracted driving can lead to a crash. 

Skid Control Driving Academy recently got a Virtual Reality headset that uses a physical steering wheel with brake and drive pedals to simulate what it’s like in different road conditions, different vehicles and even different times of day.

Rudy Almeida an instructor with Skid Control Driving Academy said the new system makes it easier to bring the training to offices and set up anywhere for people who may not have a big enough parking lot for the cars they use in the real world.

Drivers should be slowing down when the roads get slick according to Almeida and he uses the VR simulation to show what happens when they don’t. 

“I can actually see how you’re doing as far as steering input, your peddle control and what we call contact pads. Think about this your tires, four tires, the only thing that touches the ground is the bottom of the tire,” he said. 

He said one common way people lose control when the roads are slick is the front wheel skid. This happens when you try to turn but can’t because the momentum of the car keeps it going, sliding on those contact pads. This makes the turned wheel more like a plow through the snow as the pads slide across the road.

To get out of this slide he said, “what you have to do is you have to turn your steering wheel to where you are headed for a moment to get that rolling friction, right. But remember if speed got you in trouble you’re probably going to be in trouble there’s no magic to it.”

When the back end is coming out behind your vehicle, which can happen when going around a corner too fast he said, “if you turn the opposite direction, lets say the vehicle is going to the drivers side. You turn to the passenger side. What’s going to happen is you’re just going to launch that vehicle.”

The best way to regain control is to steer the front end the direction the back is starting to go, moving the front-end of the car back in front of the rear-end.

While both of these methods can help regain control Almeida said the biggest tip he can give if you’re driving in winter weather is to slow down. 

Cars take longer to come to a stop on slick roads and while many cars have braking systems that try to avoid skids they can’t stop the car if it’s going to fast which can lead to a crash according to Almeida. 

To try the Skid Control Driving Academy you can make an appointment with them by email at [email protected] or contact them by phone at 509-943-6039.

Some other winter driving tips Almeida gave were:

Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights – even the hood and roof – before driving. Make sure other drivers can see you.

Leave plenty of room for stopping and brake early. It takes more time to stop when roads are wet or icy.

Don’t get overconfident with four-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive helps you get going quicker but it won’t help you stop any faster.

Look farther ahead in traffic. Actions by other drivers will alert you to problems and give you extra seconds to react.

Don’t use your cruise control when it’s freezing (or colder). Even roads that appear clear can have isolated slippery spots and the short touch of your brakes to deactivate cruise control can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

Adjust to road conditions. The faster your vehicle is going, the more distance it will take to turn, slow, or stop. Drive with your headlights on and allow extra time.

Give yourself extra time to reach your destination when roads may be slick or consider delaying your trip.