# Cornering

Discussion in 'Motors' started by DRZ, 6 Feb 2006.

1. DRZ

# Location: In the top 1%

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!

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!

2. -Mike-

# Posts: 10,166

Interesting reading DRZ! I think a little track time or skid pan time is something that a lot of us could do with. I certainly think it would benefit me.

3. Bobbler

# Location: Bath, UK

Good stuff DRZ.
Especially the VP description - its something I have used since I read an article in my old motorbike mags years ago.

And some of the best (or bendiest) roads to try out the technique handily posted by the BBC this morning: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/dorset/4683276.stm

Can vouch for the A39, B2130, B3081 (a bikers favourite IIRC) and the A466 (possibly my favourite road for a involving drive) which are all good fun if done right

Last edited: 6 Feb 2006
4. Conanius

# Posts: 12,494

When I did the track familiarisation for my racing scholarship event last summer we were told that cornering was everything. the right speed, line, control, and level of turn decided how you would get round the track. With the right entry speed, the right gear selection, the right acceleration point, etc the car would pull its self round all on its own, and to be fair, theres a lot of truth in it.. only thing is, a lot of the people who say they push hard on the roads... well.. you arent pushing hard enough if your on the roads... its totally different on a track.. the knowledge you only have to worry about going round the corner, and not what is round the other side gives you 100 times more concentration to get the car round the track

5. lordedmond

# Location: Tilchestune

When i did my racing school ( not a one day thing ) they put great store in balencing the car in the corner with the throttle until the clipping point then apply the power and let the car pull its self round then unwind the steering

yes conanius i agree you cannot push as hard on the public road only IMHO about 50%

my best spin was about 8 revolutions exiting the old hairpin Castle Donington

BTW i am talking about ff1600 single seaters

6. thebrasso

# Posts: 5,312

The police system that IAM teach (Roadcraft) refer to the limit point when cornering. By their own admission its not the quickest way to corner but its the safest. Aiming to keep a constant speed through the corner and accelerate out of it is the best way to keep the car stable.

It does take a lot of practice...I've improved a fair bit but not up to standard quite yet.

Edit: I guess cornerning much quicker would involve taking the car to the limit of its grip...which on a public road with the possibility of cars coming the other way isn't such a good idea.

7. Zip

# Location: Australia

My mums car would be the best car for someone that doesnt want it to slip out.
Its a Subaru L series wagon and no matter how hard i try i cant get the back end to slide out, ive tryed every thing they have said on this forum about lift off oversteer and it still takes the corner with no slip.
U can belt the car around just about any corner and it will get around them.

If u dont like slidding get one of those cars

I cant wait to do a rally course and some track days.
If anyone isnt confident they should also go to an advanced driving school. Im going to do that just for the fun of it and see how much i can learn plus it will make my insurance premium cheaper when i get a car

8. saitrix

# Location: Loughborough

Nice read DRZ, though if you know what your doing (not many of us) you can trail brake into a corner.

I personally dont think the DVLA teach you how to control the car really, they just tell you to go really slow instead. Really could do with teaching people how to control the car in certain situations.

10. Freefaller

# Location: Falling...

I have often thought that this is a good idea. However I think it should be compulsory after a certain period of time i.e. 6 months after passing to let the person get used to driving on the roads.

Another thing that should be compulsory is spending time on 2 wheels - a bike, not going round a corner too quickly

11. Tesla

# Location: Bristol, UK

Scandinavian Flick would do it.

Anyone know why it's called this?

12. -westy-

# Location: UK

invented by Scandinavians?

13. saitrix

# Location: Loughborough

Only in rallying its called that, i forgot the name given for it outside of rallying. I guess its from the scandinavians that do rallying adopted the method first.

14. Freefaller

# Location: Falling...

Very useful for rallying in ice... so it's probably why it was called that too I would guess? It's also called a pendulum turn I think.

15. saitrix

# Location: Loughborough

I would say so as you would expect them to be the experts in snow/ice due to learning how to do rallying in the stuff. I got taught it when on a skid pan (proper oil surface one) and you really could see the difference in being able to get it round the corner they had setup for it. One added bonus of being fun at the same time.

16. Lowe

# Location: Newcastle Under Lyme

Only one thing to add personally - if you find yourself understeering and you know you need to return to the neutral throttle position do such in a smooth manner, especially in 80's/90's turbocharged cars. They have so much of a 'kick' coming on boost usually mid way up the rpm range, that coming off the throttle and off boost results in the same kick, but the other way around - which mid corner has the same effect as dabbing the brakes.

I found this out the hard way.

If you do find the rear end trying to overtake you and you're in a RWD car, you correct it with steering and throttle. You generally need to bury the loud pedal and countersteer to bring things back in line. Of course, too much and you'll find yourself going the other way, resulting in a fishtail situation. Not nice either!

17. DreXeL

# Location: Cotswolds

Agreed, Zig-Zag hill has to be experienced to be believed. Every bend is literally 1st gear and full-lock.

18. Goliath

# Location: The Republic

Nicely written DRZ, the only thing I would add is that it's important to get your gear selected and the clutch out before you turn in - just like braking in a corner, pushing the clutch in to change gear mid-corner will de-stabilise the car which is the last thing you want. Also think about where your hands are on the wheel. Do you have the capability to turn the wheel more if it's required, or are your arms already fully crossed? (This is one of the mains reasons IAM and Roadcraft teach the Pull-Push method of steering - you always have to option of adjusting your line)

19. Scania

# Posts: 24,639

Scandinavian Flick

This technique is only possible using a vehicle NOT equipped with ABS brakes and preferably with a manual transmission. It is best performed on a slippery surface such as gravel or snow.
The general purpose of a Scandinavian Flick is to allow the vehicle to turn through very sharp corners without dropping off a great deal of speed.

NOTE : This technique requires the largest combination of sheer stupidity and balls our team can imagine. If you can master it, we take our hats off to you. It's not so much the skill involved, or though that is part of it, it's more the fact that if it goes wrong it's likely to go wrong big time. This is definitely a try at your own risk procedure.

The basic procedure for performing a Scandinavian Flick is to put your car into a four wheel drift with the nose of the car pointing in the opposite direction to the corner you wish to take. While continuing the slide select a new (usually lower gear) and turn the wheel in the opposite direction (usually full lock). At the point when you decide you need to turn, release the brakes to stop the slide, the back-end of the car should slingshot around and you should be pointing in the direction you want to travel, you then need to apply suitable amounts of clutch and throttle to regain traction and take off at speed in your new direction.

The procedure can be broken down into the following steps :

1. Using the steering wheel flick the nose of the car in the opposite direction to the corner.
2. Stand on the brakes hard enough to lock up all four wheels. Don't forget to clutch in or else the engine will likely stall.
3. Stay on the brakes to continue the slide, select a new gear and turn the wheel full lock in the opposite direction.
4. When you're ready to turn release the brakes, the car should pivot around and face in the new direction of travel.
5. Apply the clutch and accelerator to regain traction and take off in a straight line using the new direction the car is pointed in.

A few points of note :

1. If you are not committed enough (hesitate) when you first start to brake you will likely understeer straight off the road. Alternatively the front wheels may lock up first and the car will return to the original direction of travel.
2. Its important to remember to push in the clutch when starting the slide, otherwise the engine will stall and you're likely going to need a new car.
3. Its entirely up to you to decide when to release the brakes to start the turn.
4. Success is also entirely dependant on your ability to regain control of the car after the turn.
5. If you can manage this not only will it feel great, it should improve your times, and make you look like a hero. If you get it wrong, well, its likely to be expensive and/or painful.

20. bam0

# Posts: 5,014

Interesting reading, just a quick note, isn't this back to front?