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Name: Skid
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999 

When your car goes into a skid it is common knowledge that you are suppose to turn into the skid. In terms on Newton's laws of motion, what is the physics behind this?

As long as your front wheels skid, you have no directional control of the car. Turning your wheels in the direction of the skid allows the wheels to start rolling in the direction of motion again. Only once the wheels are rolling can turning them affect the direction of the car. As long as the wheels are slipping perpendicular to the plane of the wheel, they will not roll.


Update: 12/29/2004

Friction is the major player here. If a car is moving across snow or ice in any direction other than that which it's pointed, it is skidding (or sliding), and a sideways load is being imposed against the tires. This causes a lot of friction, even if the tires are allowed to turn. By turning the front wheels into the direction of the skid, the front wheels will become aligned with the direction of travel. No more side load will be on the front tires, and they will roll freely again (very little friction). But the back tires will still be sliding sideways, and the greater friction back there will cause the back end to trail directly behind the front end just like a badminton birdie, thus the car straightens out. As the car straightens, the front wheels must be kept aligned with the direction of travel, or a skid in the opposite direction will quickly develop.

T. Esposito

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