Steer Into the Skid

Image by Jan Mallnder

Image by Jan Mallnder

Several years ago, I was driving on the 10 freeway in Southern California. Traffic was heavy (it is always heavy) and someone cut me off. To avoid hitting him I must have jerked the steering wheel too quickly. I ended up spinning across all lanes of traffic and what I remember most was the cement center divider coming towards the passenger side of my car.  Yep, when I stopped spinning I was facing backwards sliding into the center divider. Thankfully I stopped just inches from actually hitting the wall.  It is an experience I never want to relive.

If you’ve ever been driving a car when the back wheels suddenly slip to one side and the car starts spinning, you know the feeling of panic. Your stomach drops, your heart rate increases, and depending on the situation, fear can grip your body. 

We used to be told that the best way to pull out of a skid was to steer into the skid.  That goes against all basic instincts when you are actually spinning.  But, if your car has rear-wheel drive (today most are made with front-wheel drive) that is the best way to stop the skid, regain control, and move to safety.

With front-wheel drive, the advice is somewhat different. Today we are told to simply let off the gas, keep both hands on the steering wheel, and steer to where you want to go. Sounds easy, unless your car is spinning out of control and panic and fear start to take over.

Rear-wheel drive or front-wheel drive, one thing all the experts seem to agree on is that when you are skidding, you MUST keep your eyes focused on where you want to go. This is crucial.

I was talking with a girlfriend the other day and we were referring to how life challenges can be like an unexpected skid.  You are cruising along enjoying the ride and suddenly, something happens and you feel as if life is careening out of control. Things around you become a blur and when you look out the window you see a cement wall coming right for you.

My girlfriend then laughed and said, “Your whole life has kinda been like a skid.”  That’s not far from the truth.;

As I’m in the middle of what feels like another skid, my advice is much like the car experts … keep your eyes on where you want to go.  Do NOT lose focus. Of course, you need to make a few adjustments, but in order to come out the other side, you need to do more than survive. And you absolutely can.

Three things to remember:

1)    Panic is NOT your friend.  Panic only clouds your mind and judgement.

2)    Fear IS a liar. Fear’s job is to tear you down and paralyze you. He will fill your mind so full of lies that you doubt your very ability to walk down the street.

3)    Regardless of the reality you are experiencing, nothing changes what is true of you. You are still loved beyond understanding by the Creator of the Universe. You are still full of gifts, talents, and abilities that are meant to be used. You are still immensely valuable.

You WILL get to the other side of the skid.  Skids are just temporary states. Keep your eyes on the Truth. Don’t lose sight of where you want to go.  And when you need it, call for help.

When my car finally came to a full stop all those years ago. I got out and waved down a trucker who called the highway patrol. Two very nice officers came to give me a hand.  One slowed traffic while the other got my car turned around. Before long, I was breathing normally again and back on my way to my original destination.



Stephanie Hester