How many of you know what is going on when cornering? Reading the thread where a member spun out on what is a very basic corner at a low speed made me wonder just how educated the "general masses" are here. At least two people didnt know, so there must be more. I propose we have a good old argument about cornering! (in true OcUK Motors style, of course!) When you turn the steering wheel, a lot more happens than you simply turn - an awful lot more. How this affects your chances of survival depends on what you are doing and how you do it! There are (in my view/experience) a couple of golden rules: Smoothness You have to be smooth. Everything you do needs to be fluid and nothing should ever happen suddenly. We all like to press on, but you cant do that in "about-town mode". As you approach a corner, you need to make sure two things are right before you go any further: Road positioning and speed. The better your "line" into a corner, the easier it is going to be for you to make it round the corner and thus decreasing your chances of meeting a tree. What this means depends on the corner but you generally need to be on the opposite side to the corner (keeping on the right side of the road, of course). This should be done before anything else unless wherever you are driving is technical. This is critical - you dont want to be mucking about getting over to the right line when you are supposed to be braking! Next comes the braking. You need to do this before you enter the corner and as smoothly as you can. The chassis of the car is up on four springs, you need to have the car balanced right and braking is a huge player in this! 100% of your braking ought to be done by the time you turn in for the corner! The turn in. Newton wants your car to go in a straight line. Changing the direction of your car isnt easy! As you turn the wheel (smoothly) in towards the apex of the corner, you should be able to feel the suspension load up as the weight shifts across the car. This is a critical moment!! This is the point where you are most "at risk". Turn too hard or go in too fast and you are going to have problems, most likely with the front wheels for most of us. Understeer is keeping us from going where the wheels have pointed. If you have got to this situation from going too fast, you need to regain traction without trying to slow down! If you brake now, you will have one of two things happen - either you carry on going straight with the front wheels totally locked or you lose the back end. What should be done is to remain throttle neutral, unwind the steering to regain traction and use the full width of the road to recover. Not a position I would like to find myself in! If you got to understeering from being too agressive on turning in, all you have done is overshot the turn in point. Depending on the type of corner it is, you are more than likely going to be OK! A twitch on the steering wheel and you have the grip back, easy on the brakes a touch and turn again. A lot better than going in too hot, but still not good at all. Oncoming traffic are going to be eating through a straw if you balls it up too much either way. Unfortunately for those who meet these situations by accident, its quite often a combination of both at once and by then there is little chance of recovery. It has happened to me while tired and in the rain - a corner that was tighter than I thought meant I was braking in mid-corner and was too ham-fisted thanks to late reactions. I ended up in the grass. So you have got the turn in right and you are now cornering, but how do you know how fast you should be going and when the road is opening up for you to safely press on again? Behold, the vanishing point! The vanishing point is a point where the furthest point on the road surface just goes out of view (meets the hedgerow or whatever). This imaginary "point" will be doing one of three things: Moving toward you, moving away from you or staying the same distance from you. If it is moving toward you, this means that you are going too fast and need to rethink. The corner might be tightening up or you went in too hot, either way, its not a good place to be. Be careful what you do but be aware, there is danger present. The faster it is moving, the worse it is for you. If it is stationary, you are going at the right speed for the corner at that point. Perfect! As you come through the apex of the corner, the vanishing point will start to move away from you. It is now safe to "chase" that point without fear of losing it, again providing you are smooth (and bearing in mind things like diesel or wet roads etc). Keep an eye out for it slowing down though if you dont know the road! Camber is important! Be aware of changes in camber - a change of camber can be deadly if you dont spot it in time. Thankfully, this is predominantly limited to tracks but if you like to use both sides of the road when pressing on, you are juggling cambers about a lot on UK roads and you MUST take into account the affect that has on the physics of what you are trying to do. Camber sloping away from the centre of the corner makes the corner much tighter than it would appear whilst the opposite is true of camber sloping toward the centre. For example, imagine a fairly steep cambered UK road with a 90 degree bend in the road over 100m, a fairly shallow corner. You know the road is clear (because it has been closed off for your use) and you are on the "wrong" side of the road. As you turn in, you have a camber sloping away from the apex, making it seem like the corner is tighter than it is, but as you cross the crest of the road, it becomes shallower before getting tighter again as you cross the centre line exiting the corner back onto the "wrong" side of the road. The change in camber as you move across the road will change how each tyre is loaded and so a seemingly straightforward corner can become tricky at high speeds! In general, on UK roads, if you stay on your side of the road, left-handers are slightly shallower than they look and right handers are tighter than they look. ... I would like to write more but I am tired and cant think any more. I have probably made mistakes there, and if I have please correct me and add anything you feel is relevant. I am always looking to better my driving (as are most, I should imagine) and there are some seriously experienced people here who could provide more input!