Back when many of us took driver's ed, we were taught to turn into a skid to retain control and to pump the brakes to stop on slick roads. Thanks to front-wheel- and four-wheel-drive vehicles and antilock brakes, the advice has changed somewhat.
What to do
Don't turn into a skid, because such overmaneuvering often results in skidding the other way, increasing the risk of rollover -- especially in minivans and SUVs. Don't panic or slam on the brakes, advises Bella Dinh-Zarr, director of traffic safety policy at the American Automobile Association. Take your foot off the gas, pick a point in the road straight ahead, and steer toward that, making a more modest steering adjustment. To stop, apply brakes steadily; do not pump them. Cars with antilock breaks do the pumping themselves. You'll feel the vibration when this kicks in. If you don't have antilock brakes, brake steadily until you feel them start to lock, then ease up slightly and brake again, but don't completely release the brake.