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Every rider’s worst fear is to get into a situation where the bike or the scooter skids out of control and can cause serious damage to the rider and the vehicle.

Let’s first try to understand why tyres skid. Following are two scenarios which can result in skidding:

  1. When you’re riding on a road, you may be faced with a change in what covers the road surface. It could be an oil slick, or rain water or just gravel or mud. What happens in this scenario is that the friction between a road surface and the tyres changes – in fact you lose friction, this loss of friction creates a situation where the bike starts gliding over that surface – Loss of friction equals loss of control on steering the bike or scooter.
  2. You could be riding on a regular road surface and an object or person appears suddenly ahead of you and you apply the brakes hard, causing the wheels to lock. When the wheels lock the rotating velocity of the tyres lowers and as per the laws of physics, the steering of the bike is compromised.

In both the cases loss of steering capabilities causes a dangerous situation.

How to avoid skidding? There are two ways- Caution & Action

Caution:

  • Check for squealing noises from your brake pads – if every time you press the brakes, there’s a squealing noise, it means the brake pads need to be cleaned or changed.
  • Check the tread depth of your tyres, as tyres loose tread depth, the braking capabilities get lower – a smooth or bald tyre, even if it is in patches is a potential danger.
  • When you are riding be aware of the road surface and the traffic and pedestrians around you.
  • If you can see that the road is wet or there’s an oil patch, or gravel, BE AWARE.

Action:

  • Once you are aware -you need to understand that instant hard braking can lock the wheels. You have to avoid the wheels from locking.
  • Just apply pressure on the front brakes mildly. Imagine you are pressing the front brake lever just enough to feel the brakes getting into action.
  • If you are facing a higher level of emergency – apply pressure on the rear brakes intermittently and release, repeat this apply-release action few times. This gives both the wheels a chance to keep rotating and not locking up.

In fact ABS (Antilock Braking System) works on a similar principle, they do not allow the brakes to lock the wheels by constantly monitoring the wheel rotation through computers and providing pressure in different degrees to keep them from locking up.

By applying light pressure on front brakes and intermittent pressure on rear brakes just enough so that by the time you approach the trouble spot, you have slowed your speed to levels which are manageable.

Most of the times this is enough to allow you to pass the obstacle without causing any emergency.

In a nutshell these are 4 simple tips to avoid skids:

  1. Check for wear and tear, ageing of brake pads and tyres
  2. Be aware of what’s around you and on the road surface – driving slow and with caution is a virtue
  3. Apply light pressure on front brakes to reduce speed when approaching any turns or curves on the road (Remember start applying brakes when approaching the turn or a bad spot , not after entering it – because by then it is too late)
  4. Apply intermittent pressure on the rear brakes for quicker stops

These points do not guarantee that your bike will not skid, however there is a better chance of you surviving a skid if you follow these tips.

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