Re: physics of skidding

"Edward Green" <spamspamspam3@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message news:1167734427.019577.291820@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
bob@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:

I was reading a driving handbook, and it says that, if you are
skidding, you should turn the steering wheel in the direction of the
skid. Is there a simple physics explanation for this?

I confess I have never understood the meaning of the advice, much less
the explanation.

The assumption is that the rear wheels - of a rear-wheel-drive car - are skidding. The front wheels are assumed to *not* be skidding. This is the normal course of events for a front engine, rear-wheel-drive car on ice or snow. The rear wheels lose traction because there is no weight on them

The direction of the skid is simply the direction the rear wheels are skidding. If they are going right (from the perspective of the driver), you naturally turn right (again from the perspective of the driver), in order to get the front wheels "in front of" the skidding back wheels and regain control. Turning left will quickly get you doing doughnuts.

To anyone who has driven in ice/snow, this reaction is instinctive and automatic. If you want to spin in circles, turn in the opposite direction. If you want to regain control, turn in the same direction - turn into the skid.