We've all seen action movies where the protagonist (or rather, his stunt driver stand-in) precisely slides a getaway car through corners and around obstacles with tires squealing. This looks cool, of course, but is it all Hollywood theatrics without a practical purpose? Here in the real world, learning the proper technique of controlling skids can be an extremely valuable skill in many situations. It's often useful while driving in low-traction environments such as ice, snow, or loose dirt, and it can also be helpful for taking evasive maneuvers on pavement without losing control.
It's one thing to read about this online, and another to practice it behind the wheel in a realistic environment. Knowing this, RECOIL‘s Iain Harrison took some pointers from Mike McGovern, the Chief Driving Instructor at Bondurant Racing. First, Mike trained Iain and several other members of our staff using a purpose-built Dodge Charger skid car. This vehicle has hydraulically-actuated outriggers that lift the front or rear of the vehicle at the flip of a switch, producing instant understeer (loss of traction to the front tires) or oversteer (loss of traction to the rear tires).
Once Iain had a feel for recovering from understeer and oversteer, Mike put him behind the wheel of a Ford Crown Victoria to navigate a cone course that traversed both asphalt and dirt. The transitions between these two surfaces accentuated traction loss, as did the elevation changes and sharp corners. Check out the full RECOILtv episode below:
For more high-performance driving tips from our time at Bondurant Racing, check out our article Driving Force: Lessons Learned at Bondurant Racing School.