Road Drifting Guidelines: Tricks, Techniques and Safety Tips

Posted in: Articles & Guides

Drifting is an ultimate fascination for car enthusiasts, even people who drive safe try slipping through their tyres at least once in a lifetime. It is obviously very normal for racers and stuntmen in the movies. Two things are certain for drifters; one that their tyres don’t last more than 10 miles, and second, it is extremely dangerous. However, just putting up those warning signs can not deter the amateurs from attempting it. So, we are putting up the basic road drifting guidelines, so you do it the right way.

Road Drifting Guidelines

What Kind of Car Do You Need for Drifting?

  • A powerful AWD or RWD with loads of power
  • Limited slip differentials so both wheels can work in harmony
  • Switchable ESC system
  • Reduced body roll for more consistent tyre contact patch to induce
  • Stiffer anti-roll bars particularly at the back for better turning-in
  • Cheap set of rear tyres with low tread

Safety Tips

  • As a beginner you must choose open and broad road-strip. Practicing around the corners right away is not advisable.
  • Instead of dragging around sharp corners for shorter drifts, use traffic cones as the apex of the turning point.
  • The road should have low traction tarmac. Prefer damp road if you have to, but actual results are different for dry and wet roads, so eventually you will switch.

Stages of Car Drift

  1. Turning in
  2. Inducing oversteer
  3. Controlling and sustaining the drift
  4. Exiting the drift

1. Turning in

Since you are interested in road drifting guidelines, you must pay attention to significant parameters. First off, the drifting speed. An optimal velocity of 30 mph is needed at the rate of 3,000 rpm, which should be achieved in no higher than second gear, so the car can maintain least power to keep the tyres rolling, once you have induced oversteering.

2. Induce Oversteer

Drifting is centred on the principle of oversteering and it is always trickier than it sounds. It means, breaking the traction between the wheels and the road. As every vehicle provides a different driving experience, they have different conditions to meet with, until road traction can be nullified. Overall, it requires higher engine revs and smoother surface on the part of road. There are many methods to achieve oversteering.

  • Power Slide: Powerful cars are built for drifting because breaking the traction is much easier. All it takes is to arrive at the mid bend with a precise angle and increase of throttle, which forces the car to drift automatically. If you raise the throttle too slow, the car will not drift. Likewise, a sharp increase will give it a full 360 degree spin, perhaps multiple times depending on your car’s power specs. It cannot be specified how much gas you should hit at what rate because dozens of parameters are involved. You must learn to get the feel of it on your own.
  • Clutch Kick: A powerful engine continuously provides the torque needed to overcome the road friction. If your car is not so flourishing, alternatively you need to conserve the torque and discharge it in a burst of force to break out of the road grip. This can be achieved by hitting the clutch, elevating engine rpm to the maximum level, and then sudden release of the clutch will induce oversteer.
  • Shift Lock: As you know, the higher is the gear of your car, the greater is the engine’s rpm, which we understand is important to induce oversteer. This is a very efficient technique in which you quickly shift down the gear, skipping one or two slots, keeping the same pace on accelerator. This preserves higher rpm in a low gear which sustains torque to drift smoothly. It is also called change down.
  • Braking: AKA Lift Off, this technique uses the momentum of car to induce oversteering. To gain sufficient momentum, you will need fast speed as you enter the turning point, and then lift off the gas with a quick dab on the brakes. It pushes the rear weight of the car in the forward direction, reducing grip of the rear tyres causing the drift.
  • Hand-braking: This is the most viable option, when others fail to work. Pulling the hand brake suddenly amid the corner arrests the spin of rear wheels and they slip. Once they start dragging, you must release the handbrake and hit the throttle to maintain the drag. This requires nerves of steel and high coordination.

Controlling and Sustaining the Drift

  • Drift can be sustained by mastering counter-steering and keeping the wheels spinning.
  • Counter steer in the direction of your track, which can be attained with good practice.
  • Controlled, less throttle (about 80% throttle is the rule of thumb) will reduce the slide angle and allow the car to move towards inside of the turn more freely.
  • Full throttle can overslide the car and puts unbearable load on your engine.

Road Drifting Guidelines: Ending the Drift

  • Exiting the drift is not as tricky as entering it, but it is difficult.
  • During the drift your car is oblique to the direction of road, so stopping it right away sways it like a pendulum and it becomes difficult to stabilise it.
  • Reduce the accelerator slowly and turn the steering rapidly. It may swerve once or twice before finally straightening up.

Suhail is a journalist who loves everything about technology driven cars. He keeps a keen eye on the latest developments in automotive industry and shares the news as it breaks.

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