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Old 15th July 2007, 18:09   #1
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Default Lost Control on road in Swift

Hi guys,
This is an incident that had me shaking and still gives me the shivers when i think about it.

If anyone is from Kerala, and if they know the Thiruvalla-Mannar-Mavelikara road, they might be able to visualize it a little better.

Well i was driving from Mannar to Mavelikara last week. About the road, its an amazing narrow rubberized road with a few sharp turns and bends. The road is terrific, u won't even see scratches on it. The state of these roads will just give any driver an adrenaline pump to race. Boy did i learn.

Well, there was an ordinary transport bus which had a sign on the back saying "60km limit, fitted with speed regulator". Well i started overtaking i was like doing 70km/hr in 4th gear, but still the bus was getting ahead. There was a blind turn to the right. I had been hitting the horn and the head light but that didn't get the bus drivers attention, well i just shifted to 3rd and hit the pedal to the metal. I got ahead of the bus right at the corner and an Alto was coming from the opposite direction, there was sufficient space for the Alto to go through and i quickly turned the steering a little bit, the next thing i know i lost total control of my car.

The car was skidding all over the road, i have no idea what i had my feet on. I was skidding right into a wall and just before contact with the wall the car took another 90 degree turn to the right and headed right towards the side of a red Sumo or Tavera which was following the Alto. I was sure that this was going to hit, but amazingly my car took another spin to the left and missed the Tavera. And after a few little zig zag spins my car comes to a halt.

It was just a narrow escape from something that could have been fatal to any bystander on the road. I still can't understand how i lost control of the car, i really believed that my car could do that turn. There was sufficient distance for any vehicle to go through, i just turned the steering a little to the left and i lost control.

Did the vehicle automatically miss the wall and the Tavera or did i steer to the opposite direction i don't remember, if it was me who steered i owe it all to the seat belt, because i remember holding the steering. I'm sure that if i hadn't put on the seat belt i would have lost grip of the steering when the car went skidding zig zag.

Well i posted this incident just so that no one overestimates their vehicle like i did and hoping that anyone that has been through similar experiences could post it.

I know i'm going to get plenty of why did u overtake at a curve and stuff like that, well i usually don;t but i did this time, and i have learned my lesson.

Could there be any other reason for loosing control, my car's a Swift Vxi with stock 165/65 tyres? Would appreciate all inputs.

Guys wear ur seatbelts, i learned first hand that if u loose control of ur car the seat belt will keep u seated and you will not loose grip of the steering.
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Old 15th July 2007, 18:27   #2
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Default Aquaplaning

You had first hand experience of aquaplaning at which even the rain specialist Micheal Schumi has no answers let alone lesser experienced mortals like us. If it was dry road then the Ghosts took you on a wild trip.
Bye and wear your seat belts is what I always sign off bye.
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Old 15th July 2007, 18:37   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micraft View Post
Hi guys,
...the car took another 90 degree turn to the right and headed right towards the side of a red Sumo or Tavera which was following the Alto. I was sure that this was going to hit, but amazingly my car took another spin to the left and missed the Tavera. And after a few little zig zag spins my car comes to a halt.
We are glad that you are safe. No ideas on why the car skidded. But you mjust have scared the hell out of the Travera Guy...
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Old 15th July 2007, 19:06   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micraft View Post
Well i was driving from Mannar to Mavelikara last week. About the road, its an amazing narrow rubberized road with a few sharp turns and bends. The road is terrific, u won't even see scratches on it. The state of these roads will just give any driver an adrenaline pump to race. Boy did i learn.

Well, there was an ordinary transport bus which had a sign on the back saying "60km limit, fitted with speed regulator". Well i started overtaking i was like doing 70km/hr in 4th gear, but still the bus was getting ahead. There was a blind turn to the right. I had been hitting the horn and the head light but that didn't get the bus drivers attention, well i just shifted to 3rd and hit the pedal to the metal. I got ahead of the bus right at the corner and an Alto was coming from the opposite direction, there was sufficient space for the Alto to go through and i quickly turned the steering a little bit, the next thing i know i lost total control of my car.

The car was skidding all over the road, i have no idea what i had my feet on. I was skidding right into a wall and just before contact with the wall the car took another 90 degree turn to the right and headed right towards the side of a red Sumo or Tavera which was following the Alto. I was sure that this was going to hit, but amazingly my car took another spin to the left and missed the Tavera. And after a few little zig zag spins my car comes to a halt.
First question: was it raining? If so that might explain the loss of grip as pointed out by drpullockaran.

If it was not raining, then the next suspect is the state of your tyres. Were they worn out? Or were the rear tyres worn out a lot more in comparison to your front? This could happen in a front-wheel drive if you recently rotated your tyres from front to back or if you fitted new tyres to the front. I ask because it is clear from your description that your car oversteered and went fish-tailing. Were your tyre pressures at the recommended levels in all the tyres? Too low or too high tyre pressures or too much variation in the pressures from tyre to tyre can cause loss of grip or poor steering response. E.g. you could have had a slow puncture in one of your tyres.

It could just be that you took the corner too fast. After all, you were already at 70 kmph when you shifted to 3rd and floored the pedal. The difference between a heavy car like Swift and a light one like my Santro is this. The heavier car will generally feel more planted when you corner hard provided you have adequate tyres; but if you do lose control, it will be *much* more difficult to get out of the skid than with a lighter car like mine.

I once misjudged a sharp S-turn in the Lonawala ghats and took it at 80-90 kmph instead of my usual 60-70 kmph. That was the only time I ever experienced oversteer in my Santro; the rear went skidding slightly to the left when I turned sharp right into the S-turn; and then when I compensated by an equally sharp left to get out of the S, the rear went slightly to the right. But there was no fish-tailing and the car was under control (just as well, for otherwise I might have become another casualty of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway).
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Old 15th July 2007, 19:30   #5
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I would agree with rks.. please report the state of your tyres.. did you maintain the tyre pressure and did you check when doing the drive.. Was it a wet surface when you applied brakes etc in order to skid.. and was it swift zxi with ABS or not.. but I would attribute it more to the tyres.. Good to know that you are safe.. Needless to say but still, henceforth keep regular check on the tyres and drive safe..
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Old 15th July 2007, 20:01   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laxminarayan View Post
I would agree with rks.. please report the state of your tyres.. did you maintain the tyre pressure and did you check when doing the drive.. Was it a wet surface when you applied brakes etc in order to skid.. and was it swift zxi with ABS or not.. but I would attribute it more to the tyres.. Good to know that you are safe.. Needless to say but still, henceforth keep regular check on the tyres and drive safe..
he has mentioned Swift VXi.

I have been on that road, and ya- its spotless stretch of tarmac. Something that gets everyone racing.

Was the road wet?
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Old 15th July 2007, 20:31   #7
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Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
he has mentioned Swift VXi.
Hmmm, sorry overlooked that..

He also mentioned " The car was skidding all over the road, i have no idea what i had my feet on."

May be he had applied brakes in that speed and hands on steering to avoid a hit might have done the whole thing.
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Old 15th July 2007, 20:41   #8
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The rubberised roads in Kerala are known to be very slippery during the rains. The rubberised road has an ultra fine (relative to the normal roads) top coat and is a disaster zone when it starts raining. Thankfully they dont have much of these roads. But these roads lasts forever. Guaranteed by the builder for around 12 years.
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Old 15th July 2007, 20:50   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laxminarayan View Post
May be he had applied brakes in that speed and hands on steering to avoid a hit might have done the whole thing.
That is another valid point. One should not brake hard while trying to get out of oversteer. The braking will transfer more weight to the front wheels and make the rear wheels grip even less, worsening the fish-tailing. Ideally one should steer in the direction where one intends to go and keep the foot on the throttle to get out of oversteer. Of course this may be easier said than done; oversteer is much more difficult to handle than understeer.
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Old 15th July 2007, 20:51   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micraft View Post
I know i'm going to get plenty of why did u overtake at a curve and stuff like that, well i usually don;t but i did this time, and i have learned my lesson.

Could there be any other reason for loosing control, my car's a Swift Vxi with stock 165/65 tyres? Would appreciate all inputs.

Guys wear ur seatbelts, i learned first hand that if u loose control of ur car the seat belt will keep u seated and you will not loose grip of the steering.

What is more important is that you got away Scott-free & there was no damage to anyone else too. The very fact that you have publicly admitted your mistake makes one feel that you are alright.

I think it was you who hit the panic button & made the car lose control. Stay calm as long as you can in such a situation. About how your car veered to avoid a wall & then veered again to avoid the sumo, this is your instinctive moves which worked out well which clearly means you lost control & not the car.
cheers
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Old 15th July 2007, 21:14   #11
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it happened once on my zen to

i was going on some highway near sector 51(the roads are smooth and are good without any bad stretch ) suddenly a cycle wala came and rest is your story only


but then i went straight to my tire wala and he told me that i was running snow tires at the rear

so changed all the tires to some other brand i cann't remember now

PS the snow tires were purchased by one of my driver and not me

Last edited by manikjeet : 15th July 2007 at 21:15.
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Old 15th July 2007, 22:27   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micraft View Post
..with stock 165/65 tyres..
That contributes quite a lot.
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Old 15th July 2007, 22:33   #13
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Glad your safe micraft!! i'd suggest you should upgrade your tyres! Stock rubber is too skinny and doesn't have too much grip to offer.
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Old 16th July 2007, 00:09   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micraft View Post
The car was skidding all over the road, i have no idea what i had my feet on. I was skidding right into a wall and just before contact with the wall the car took another 90 degree turn to the right and headed right towards the side of a red Sumo or Tavera which was following the Alto. I was sure that this was going to hit, but amazingly my car took another spin to the left and missed the Tavera. And after a few little zig zag spins my car comes to a halt.
Hi micraft,

Im going to assume it was NOT raining.
As rks mentioned, the "zigzag" you refer to is commonly known as fishtailing.
To recover from a real fishtailing situation right away is incredibly tough. Anyone who says its easy has never really fishtailed
The natural reaction is to give opposite lock, which is the right thing to do, however, since the front tyres have no traction, it's common to give too much opposite lock, which causes the car to swing the other way, and so on.
The right way to get out of it is to try and give just the right amount of opposite lock, and maybe try and transfer load to the steering tyres.


Quote:
Originally Posted by micraft View Post
Well i posted this incident just so that no one overestimates their vehicle like i did and hoping that anyone that has been through similar experiences could post it.
That is indeed in the right spirit, and im sure you are glad you learnt this lesson without causing any damage!
(I was equally fortunate as i fishtailed about 7-8 times going 80km/h in the pouring rain, in a RWD car with bald tyres @ 5am. Ofcourse i was trying to get some sideways action since i was getting a new set of tyres the next day, however i got a lot more action than i was expecting! Learnt my lesson too.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by micraft View Post
my car's a Swift Vxi with stock 165/65 tyres? Would appreciate all inputs.
Are these JKs ?
My friend had a bad accident in his swift last year, and although it was his fault, he swore the JK tyres had a huge deal to do with it, and bought new tyres immediately

cya
R

ps - and yes, do let us know what tyre pressure you are running! Might be really overinflated?

Last edited by Rehaan : 16th July 2007 at 00:11.
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Old 16th July 2007, 00:24   #15
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Quote:
About the road, its an amazing narrow rubberized road with a few sharp turns and bends.
I think samurai can give us a bit more details but there seems to be complaints from the udupi area highways too about the rubber making the road very slippery and drivers complaining that panic braking is almost suicidal.
There have been quite a few accidents because of the above reason mostly when the road is wet.

Think there was a thread on team-bhp about these accidents on some particular stretch..
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