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Learn to control a skid with skid pan training

Skids and slides: skid-pan training

  • Try out some skid pan training once you've passed your test
  • Ideal experience to help you control skid

Once you’ve passed your driving test, many young people want to improve their skills, and taking a skid-pan course is one of the best ways to do this. Skid-pan training deals with teaching you how to react in adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain, ice and snow.

Skid-pan courses are usually held at specialist tracks, where you can learn the techniques to control your car without endangering other road users. There are several locations across the UK where skid-pan courses are offered, although you may find that due to the nature of the course (the need to have an off-road track to practise on) you may need a car to get there.

Duration of skid-pan training

The actual skid-pan day lasts an average of 3 hours, and is usually run either on a 1-to-1 or small group basis, with tutees sharing driving time equally. Courses cost around £100-150 for the session, and one session is usually sufficient to teach the fundamental skills required to give young drivers the confidence to cope in bad weather.

Skid-pan course content

The course itself explains the hazards posed by bad weather (skidding, aquaplaning), tells you how to overcome those hazards and remain in control of your car, and then gives you the opportunity to practise your new skills on a specially designed skid-pan track.

The car you use is also specially modified to allow you to experience the sudden lack of traction (grip) that often results from water or ice on the roads, which is the first indication that skidding or aquaplaning could occur. This way, you can learn to recognise how the car feels, how the steering reacts, and how the brakes react when skidding or aquaplaning occurs, so if it ever happens to you in real life, it won’t take you completely by surprise.

The skid-pan track allows you to experience firsthand the effects of excess water, ice or snow on your handling and control of the car. Then you can hone your techniques to combat these dangers and learn to react in a safe, timely manner to ensure that you can correct any steering problems and stay in control.

Your instructor will also show you the benefits of anti-lock brakes and how you can use them to best effect when the weather is against you.

The benefits of skid-pan training

The benefits of taking a skid-pan course should be obvious to anyone who has had driving experience in heavy rain or wintry conditions. While ever a skid-pan course won’t reduce your insurance premium like a PassPlus course can, it’s still invaluable practice and could be a real life-saver.

Most skid-pan courses offer gift vouchers, so even if you can’t afford it yourself you can always ask for a session as a birthday or Christmas present.

There are several individual companies who offer skid-pan courses, but for a general idea of what’s available, you can look at IntoTheBlue or ADUK for more information on courses across the UK.


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