Although there are many causes of skids and spin-outs in the Birmingham area, many crashes involve drivers who are traveling too fast for the road conditions. When a driver is going too fast, especially on slick roads, their tires and vehicle may move in unpredictable ways. These scenarios are commonly referred to as “oversteer” and “understeer” accidents.
Oversteering and understeering can quickly lead to car accidents and injuries. To try to avoid oversteer and understeer crashes, it’s helpful to understand how to stop each one while driving and what to do if you are injured in an accident caused by oversteer or understeer.
To help keep you safe on the road, Birmingham personal injury lawyers at Morris Bart law firm share some helpful ways to avoid car crashes due to oversteer and understeer.
What Is Understeer?
“Understeer” refers to what happens when a car turns less than the driver intended it to when turning the steering wheel. Understeer skids occur when the front tires of a car lose grip, and the vehicle is unable to turn the corner or follow a curve in the road. Instead, the car continues to move in the same straight direction, rather than turning.
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What Is Oversteer?
When a car turns more than the driver commanded while applying steering input, this is called oversteer. Oversteer occurs when a car’s rear tires operate at a greater slip angle than the front tires. The car turns too much, likely causing the car to quickly veer off the road or into opposing traffic.
What Happens When You Understeer or Oversteer?
Although some steering incidents can be stopped before complete loss of control occurs, many understeer and oversteer mishaps can lead you to lose control of your vehicle and cause a car crash.
Depending on your surroundings during an oversteer or understeer incident, you could end up crashing into things on the side of the road, falling off the road, or veering into oncoming traffic. Each of these scenarios can lead to serious injury and even death for the driver, passengers, and any other people involved in the vehicle crash.
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The Dangers of Understeer
According to Driver 61, understeer skids usually occur when drivers enter a corner too fast for the conditions. If you enter a corner too quickly, there is a high likelihood that you will skid, and it is difficult to recover once the skid starts.
If you are traveling just a few miles per hour too fast for the corner, you may be able to avoid the skid by:
- Letting off the gas
- Applying gentle pressure to the brakes
Be sure to look where you want the vehicle to go and aim for a safe exit from the turn. It is important not to give the car more steering when you enter an understeer skid. Although it is tempting to continue turning harder when the vehicle fails to respond, this will only compound the problem.
The Dangers of Oversteer
An oversteer incident can cause a vehicle to slide sideways, which can result in a drift or a dangerous spinout. Like understeer, oversteer typically happens when a driver is moving too fast for the current road conditions.
The best way to avoid oversteer is to:
- Ease your foot off the gas
- Focus on where you want to go
- Steer in that direction
It is also important to take your foot off the brake. If your rear tires continue to slide, you can accelerate slightly to put some more pressure on them.
Many skids are due to negligent driving that is compounded by poor road conditions, which may result in serious accidents. Unfortunately, even responsible motorists are not immune to traffic crashes, so it’s useful for all drivers to know what to do when their car starts to oversteer or understeer.
Other Risk Factors for Oversteer and Understeer Accidents
Fast speeds are not the only thing that can cause oversteer and understeer skids. When operating a motor vehicle, there are many controllable and uncontrollable things you have to think about to help avoid steering issues. Some other risk factors that may cause you to lose control of your vehicle while steering include:
- Cold temperatures
- Rain or snow
- Insufficient tire pressure
- Problems with your steering wheel
- Distracted driving
What to Do If You Are Injured in an Oversteer or Understeer Crash
Although modern cars have systems in place to help prevent oversteer and understeer roll-over accidents, even the safest drivers can still be involved in an accident. There are some critical steps you should take if you have been injured in an oversteer or understeer traffic accident:
The very first thing you need to focus on is safety. Call 911 and tell the dispatcher that you need medical assistance for your injuries. Follow any instructions they give you and wait for emergency responders to arrive. Only move from the scene of the accident if it is unsafe for you to stay put.
Report Your Accident
Report the oversteer or understeer crash to the police. Police will write an account of events to determine how the accident happened. This report may be used by insurance adjusters to decide who is at fault for causing the collision.
Collect Information from Other Parties
Exchange information with any other drivers involved in the wreck. Be sure to collect:
- License plate numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
- Insurance information
Be careful not to admit fault when talking with other drivers. Remain calm and say as little as possible to avoid making mistakes that may hurt you later.
Collect Relevant Evidence
To support your version of events, gather evidence related to the crash. If possible, take photographs of:
- The accident location
- Damaged vehicles
- Your injuries
If anyone saw the oversteer or understeer collision occur, get witness statements as well as their contact information. If there are any nearby security cameras, they may have captured video footage of the wreck.
Consult with a Car Accident Lawyer
You do not have to hire a car accident lawyer in Birmingham to file an insurance claim, but you should at least consult with one because handling insurance claims on your own is daunting, tedious, and often unsuccessful. Most law firms offer a complimentary case review for new clients.
How Birmingham Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After Oversteer or Understeer Accidents
If you were injured by a negligent driver in Alabama, a Birmingham car accident lawyer can help you pursue the maximum compensation and avoid mistakes such as overlooking certain damages or accepting a low settlement.
For car crashes caused by oversteer or understeer, a personal injury attorney can help you seek compensation by:
- Investigating the accident
- Communicating with insurance
- Negotiating for the full settlement you deserve
- Bringing your accident case to court if necessary
While you recover from any sustained car crash injuries, your legal team at Morris Bart in Birmingham will work hard to fight for your right to compensation. If you were injured in an oversteer or understeer accident, get a free case consultation today by calling (205) 380-4158.
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