Rules to follow when driving in a curve

11 minute read Published on May 10, 2024 by BrokerLink Communications

A curvy road with autumn orange trees alongside it

Whether you’re a first time driver or have years of experience under your belt, driving on a curve can be difficult. For this reason, developing good driver habits around driving on curves is of the utmost importance. Below, we outline a few tips on how to stay safe on curvy roads, as well as how to regain control of your car if you lose it while travelling on a curved road.

Tips to stay safe when driving on curvy roads

If you want to avoid a collision or other incident when driving on a curvy road, follow the safe driving tips below:

1. Understand what makes a curvy road more dangerous than driving in a straight line

In order to practice safe driving habits while on curvy roads, it’s important to first understand what makes curvy roads dangerous. The first reason is a lack of visibility. When driving on a curvy road, you may not be able to see very far ahead of you. This is in stark contrast to when you’re driving in a straight line and can likely see miles of road ahead of you. Visibility is crucial when driving, so anytime it is reduced, whether because you are driving on a curved road, at night, or in inclement weather, your odds of getting into an accident may be higher.

In addition, when your car drives on a curved road, its wheels are moving forward due to the acceleration of the car. In addition, the body of the vehicle is travelling around the curve. These movements can sometimes lead to skidding, which makes driving more dangerous, as it becomes easier to lose control of a car while skidding. Understanding how and why driving on curved roads is more dangerous than driving in a straight line can help you avoid a dangerous driving situation.

2. Slow down when travelling on a curve

Tip number two is to slow down when travelling on a curve. Reducing the speed of your car while driving on a curve not only gives you more time to react should an emergency situation occur, but it will also help you prevent skidding and retain control of your car. Plus, the odds are that the posted speed limit is lower on a curvy road, so slowing down is not only smart but also the law. If you don’t notice any posted speed limits, look out for road signs that warn of approaching curves so that you can proactively slow your speed.

3. Turn the steering wheel as little as possible

The third tip is to turn the steering wheel as little as possible. This might sound counterintuitive, but when driving around a curve, it’s actually better to turn the steering wheel less. To do this, as you get near the curve, move as close as you can to the side of your lane opposite the curve. For instance, if the road is curving right, move to the left side of your lane. As you continue driving around the curve, position your car toward the other side of the curve before exiting it on the side of the road that you began on. This method will minimize the severity of the curve while also reducing your odds of skidding.

4. Do not drive out of your lane into oncoming traffic

Many drivers often make the mistake of veering too strongly toward one side of their lane when driving through a curve. This can be dangerous as it increases your odds of driving out of your lane and into oncoming traffic. When driving on a curve, remember that in addition to navigating the curve, you must also remain aware of other vehicles around you. Approaching drivers may also make the mistake of sticking too tightly to one side of their lane, which could cause them to drive outside their lane.

This could result in a head-on collision, which could have serious implications in terms of both property damage and bodily injury. Whatever you do, do not steer off the road or into oncoming traffic. If you notice that you are starting to veer in the wrong direction, slow your speed and direct your car back into your lane. Avoid hitting the brakes suddenly.

5. Accelerate on the road ahead as you’re leaving the curve

You can safely accelerate and increase your speed only once you are out of the curve. Accelerating out of the curve will help maintain the flow of traffic. That said, if you accelerate too early, i.e. while you’re still moving through the curve, you run the risk of skidding, so only hit the gas once you are confident that the road ahead is straight.

6. Understand how skidding works

Another tip that can help you stay safe when driving on curvy roads is to understand how skidding works. Since skidding is one of the most common risks of driving on a curved road, it’s useful to know what causes it and how to react if it happens to you. For those who don’t know, when a car skids, it is moving on its own. It’s not moving due to the gas pedal. Thus, when a vehicle is skidding, the steering wheel, brakes, and gas pedal may not work the way you’re used to. In fact, the normal way that your car operates may not be available at this time. Knowing this can help you react by frantically slamming on the gas or brake pedals.

7. Avoid understeering

The next tip is to avoid understeering. Sometimes, a car will understeer, which is a type of skid that happens when a car turns sharply and starts sliding against the sidewalls of the tires. The good news is that understeering can be prevented. The main way to do so is by driving carefully around curves.

Regaining control of your car after skidding on a curved road

If you find that your car skids when moving through a curve, follow the steps below to regain control of your vehicle:

Take your foot off the gas and brake pedals

First, take your foot off the gas and brake pedals. This might sound counterintuitive, but it is the best course of action if you want to avoid the skid from continuing. Trying to stop or accelerate will only make it worse. Instead, keep both hands on the steering wheel and do not make any sudden motions.

Lightly apply the brake after giving the car time to slow down

After a few seconds, once the car has started to slow down, you can lightly apply the brake while simultaneously steering the car in the direction you want it to travel in.

Do not make any sudden movements

Generally speaking, it is best to avoid any type of sudden movement when trying to recover or stop a skidding incident. While you might be panicking a bit on the inside, do your best to remain calm so that you can think clearly about the list of tips above.

More safe driving tips

If you want to become a better driver and stay safe on the road, no matter what type of road you’re driving on, follow the list of general safe driving tips below:

Take care when merging or changing lanes

First, merging or changing lanes can be tricky, which is why accidents often occur when doing this. For this reason, drivers should take extra care when switching lanes. How can they do this? By always putting their turn signals on, checking their side and rearview mirror before changing lanes, and by looking at their car blind spots. With these techniques, you will have a good awareness of the conditions of the road around you, including the positions of other cars. This will help you safely merge in and out of traffic.

In addition, unless you are merging onto a highway, it is generally good practice to slow your speed while changing lanes. This way, you have more time to react if you need to change course. With this in mind, make sure to maintain a safe following distance between you and the car in front of you, even while you are changing lanes. To do this, you must be constantly scanning the road in front and beside you. Lastly, a rule of thumb that all drivers should follow is to yield to other drivers who are trying to merge or change lanes.

Never assume that you have the right of way or that other drivers will yield to you without warning. This is a quick way to get into an accident. Instead, focus on the road, use your signal, check your mirrors and blind spots, and only merge when it is safe to do so.

Maintain a safe following distance on the road

Maintaining a safe distance between cars is another tip to follow, whether you are driving on a straight road, a highway, or on a curved road. The principle behind a safe following distance is this: the more space you give yourself, the more time you will have to react, i.e. to brake, and the lower your odds of getting into a car accident. For example, if the driver in front of you suddenly brakes but you are following too closely, you run the risk of not being able to brake in time and hitting their vehicle. However, if you have given them plenty of space, then you should have ample time to apply the brakes and come to a safe stop before you hit them.

Experts generally recommend leaving three seconds’ worth of distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. To measure this, choose a static object, such as an overpass or traffic sign. Note when the car in front of you reaches that object, you begin counting. If you reach the count of three before or at the same time as your vehicle passes the object, then you are moving at a safe following distance. However, if you don’t reach the count of three when your car passes the object, then it means you have not left the car in front of you enough space.

Get into the habit of measuring the distance between yourself and other cars, especially when travelling at high speeds, such as on highways. Keep in mind that it’s also wise to give yourself plenty of space at intersections. The reason for this is if someone accidentally rear-ends you, you are less at risk of crashing into the car in front of you or rolling into the intersection and hitting oncoming traffic or a pedestrian. It’s also smart to give yourself extra space when sharing the road with motorcycles and sharing the road with bicycles since these motorists might be more prone to accidents.

Minimize all distractions

Avoiding distracted driving is another safe driving tip, no matter what type of road you’re on. Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents. What counts as distracted driving? Anything from texting while driving to eating, drinking, smoking, or applying makeup while operating a vehicle. Talking to other passengers in your vehicle, changing the radio station, programming your GPS, or even adjusting the heating or air conditioning may also count as distracted driving.

So in order to avoid driving distracted, you must proactively put these distractions at bay. That means turning your cell phone on “do not disturb” or putting it in the backseat of the car, eating and drinking at home, and changing the radio station, heat, AC, or GPS before pulling out of the driveway. Instead, spend your time focusing on the road. This not only means scanning for cars and pedestrians around you but also glancing in your rearview and side mirrors on a regular basis. Driving requires your full concentration. Don’t forget that.

Make sure you are awake and alert

Anytime you get behind the wheel, make sure that you are awake and alert. In order to be awake and alert, this means never taking drugs or drinking alcohol before driving and ensuring that you have the energy to drive. Drunk driving is a criminal offence and can significantly increase the odds of a collision occurring. You could face jail time if you are caught and charged with impaired driving. Make sure that you are aware of the legal alcohol limits in your province when driving, and if you have any significant amount of alcohol to drink, always call on a sober driver or taxi.

Meanwhile, driving fatigue can be nearly as dangerous as driving impaired. Falling asleep at the wheel is all too common, and it can also significantly increase your likelihood of getting into a car accident. So do what you need to do so that you can remain alert behind the wheel, whether that means pulling over to the side of the road for a quick power nap, rolling down the windows to let fresh air in, singing along to the radio or talking to yourself, or stopping for a cup of coffee. If you’re too tired to drive altogether, then your best defence is to stay at home.

Check the weather forecast and avoid inclement conditions

Before you back out of the driveway, we recommend checking the weather forecast, especially if you have a long drive ahead of you or are travelling on the highway. Inclement weather can instantly make a safe driver dangerous. Inclement weather can be anything from snow and ice to heavy rain, fog, and thunderstorms. Excessive sun glare can even be dangerous. Although there are precautions you can take, such as installing winter tires on your car or wearing sunglasses and using your sun visor, certain weather conditions are best to stay home in. If you must drive in adverse weather, take it slow. Since visibility and traction are likely to be reduced, driving slowly and leaving extra room between you and the cars around you is the way to go.

Get in touch with BrokerLink

If you have questions about how to drive on a curved road or you want advice on what to do after getting into an accident on a curved road, call BrokerLink today. We can explain how your car insurance coverage can protect you. For instance, if you are found at fault for the accident, you will likely file a third-party liability car insurance claim with your provider. However, if you are not found to be at fault, then you might be filing another type of claim, such as an accident benefits or collision coverage claim.

As insurance experts, a licensed BrokerLink insurance advisor can help you find any type of auto insurance you’re after. That includes young driver insurance, senior car insurance, occasional driver insurance, and more. The best part is that we know how to find the most competitive rate for your coverage. We will reach out to the top insurance companies in Canada and request free quotes on your behalf. From there, we will compare the various policies available to you and present you with your top options. A few of the types of auto insurance we can help you find include:

As you can see, a BrokerLink insurance broker can help you find both compulsory and optional coverage. We will also make personalized coverage recommendations based on your driving habits, budget, and the type of car you drive.

If you’re ready to learn more about auto insurance, contact BrokerLink to request a free car insurance quote. Our free quotes take as little as five minutes. Plus, they’re extremely accurate. Answer a few questions about yourself, and one of our licensed brokers will give you a free estimate in no time.

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