How to Do an S Swerve in a Car

The scenario: Driving down the freeway, at night, it is raining so there is reduced traction and visibility on the road. You are traveling at 70 mph (110 km/h) and about 100-feet in front of you a large box is in the middle of the road.

  • This gives you almost exactly one second to decide what the best choice of action it, and execute it.
  • Being a large box, you deduce there may be something very heavy in the box, and it can damage your car severely and put you and your passengers in danger.

What do you do?


  1. Image titled Do an S Swerve in a Car Step 1
    Solution 1 (no cars around you): You should already know if there are cars near you (read "Stay alert"). Do not touch your brakes! With only one second to react, braking will only reduce the amount of traction available to your front tires, and may knock your vehicle out of balance, and thus, out of control, during the quick maneuver.
    • Jerking the wheel toward the desired direction is not the safest way to swerve either (for all the same reasons as braking is unsafe). A controlled swerve is always best. If you out-steer your suspension, your car will only under-steer, possibly causing you to hit the box. You should steer swiftly without being jerky. Once out of the path of the box, roll the wheel the other way to straighten your vehicle out. Again, if you do it too fast you will spin out! Using your brakes before you straighten can also cause you to spin out. Once you are out of the way of the box, you have more time to correct your car's direction, so do not be hasty, and do not overcorrect.
    • In this situation, no braking is involved, and the first turn away from the box should be done faster than the correction back in to the correct direction.
  2. Image titled Do an S Swerve in a Car Step 2
    Solution 2 (cars are around you): This situation is much more tricky. If you are unable to move to the lane next to you, you should determine if there is a shoulder you can use. If there is no clean exit, the least dangerous exit is likely hitting the box. Use the correct braking techniques and slow down as quickly as possible. A 70 mph (110 km/h) car is not likely to be able to stop in 100-feet, but any reduction in speed will reduce the damage done to you, your passengers, and your car.
    • In a non-critical situation: If the box ends up being empty, and no damage is taken, be aware of cars behind you which may rear-end you because you are going slow, or are stopped in the middle of a freeway. Find a safe way to remove the box from the freeway, and continue. If the box does damage your car, be sure you and your passengers are alright. If you are able to safely get the car to the side of the road, do so. Keep it off the road, and stay in the car, the freeway is a dangerous place to be. Call (hopefully you have a cell phone) the police, and report the accident.
    • In a critical situation: if your car still functions properly after hitting the box (if you are trying to get somewhere) continue your journey. If your car does not function properly, hopefully you are not being chased and your life is not threatened by this problem.
  3. Image titled Do an S Swerve in a Car Step 3
    If the object were a bit further away, the best decision would probably be to use your brakes for a short period of time, release them most of the way (all the way, and the transfer of weight off your front tires may cause your vehicle to become unstable when you try to swerve, or just under-steer), then swerve. The lower your speed is during the swerve, the safer the swerve will be executed.


  • If your vehicle starts to lose control during the maneuver, release the brakes (if using it at all) and attempt to straighten the vehicle (be sure not to overcorrect). Once straightened, safely stop off the side of the road.
  • Practice, practice, practice in a safe location. Keeping you, your car, and others in the area safe is worth more than all the skills you think you have.


  • Never break the law! Obey speed limits, research state and local laws, and be sure to obey all the laws.
  • Always drive safely. Be observant of pedestrians and other vehicles.
  • Any practicing you do should not be done on public streets! Your own private property is the best.

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Categories: Driving Techniques