Have you ever been driving and had your vehicle’s rear start to slip? If you had to struggle to stay on the road because of losing control of the tail of your vehicle, then you were involved in a fishtail.
Fishtailing is when the back of your vehicle swings to one side or the other. When this happens, it can become very difficult to control your vehicle, increasing the risk of getting into a crash.
What causes fishtailing when you drive?
Typically, fishtailing is caused when the back tires lose traction. This can happen as you turn a corner if your wheels slide on gravel or ice, for example. A blown tire or wind can also cause fishtailing in some cases, especially if the driver overcorrects the vehicle when steering.
The four main factors that impact whether or not a vehicle will fishtail include:
- How fast the car is traveling
- The size and weight of the vehicle
- The kind of tires on the vehicle and if they have tread
- The condition of the roads
If any one of these factors isn’t right for the conditions, fishtailing is possible.
When a car fishtails, drivers need to react quickly and correctly
Cars that fishtail can spin out if the driver doesn’t respond correctly.
To correct a fishtail, drivers should apply the brakes if they have an anti-lock braking system. If not, they should tap the brakes.
At the same time, they should turn into the direction that the car is skidding. This will feel counterintuitive, but it will help drivers regain control and avoid spinning.
Once control is regained, drivers should pull over or allow the vehicle to come to a stop if they’ve been involved in a crash. If not, lightly pressing the accelerator at that time should straighten out the vehicle enough to determine if a stop is necessary.
Crashes caused by fishtailing aren’t uncommon, especially after rainstorms or on high-speed roadways. If you get into a collision, stay where you are, call for help and remember that you may have a right to make a claim.