Controlling understeer and oversteer

BMW oversteer
29 Oct, 2014 1:00pm

In bad weather conditions, your car is more likely to lose grip on the road and start to slide. That could pitch you into an understeer or oversteer situation where how you react could be the difference between having an accident or not.

What to do when your car understeers

Understeer is essentially where the front wheels slip on a road surface. It occurs when you carry too much speed into a corner, and the vehicle doesn’t respond to your steering input – instead, it continues to ‘plough’ straight on, or doesn’t turn as much as you want it to. 

The simple way to prevent this from happening is to ensure that your speed is relevant to the conditions, and that you’re not driving too quickly for the corner. However, if you do find yourself in an ‘understeer’ situation, there are ways to react. The key is to ‘remove the cause’ of the skid. Release the accelerator to reduce the speed, and straighten the steering wheel to allow the front wheels to regain traction.

What to do when your car oversteers

Oversteer affects the rear wheels, and is the opposite of understeer on the front wheels. It happens when a driver enters a corner too quickly and the rear wheels start to slip.

The momentum can then bring the back end of the car around. This situation arises most commonly on rear-wheel-drive vehicles when too much power is used in relation to the steering angle applied, as you enter the corner too quickly. 

The way to counter it is to steer into the skid or slide – so if you are going around a left-hand corner and the rear end of the car slides to the right, you need to steer to the right.

Winter driving tips

Preparing your car for winter
Less speed, more smoothness
Using ABS brakes correctly
Driving in snow - top tips
Driving on ice - top tips
Driving in floods and heavy rain - top tips

What are your top tips for driving in winter weather? let us know in the comments section below...

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