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 Post subject: Cornering emergency 1
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:11 
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This happened to me well over 20 years ago, but something else recently posted has made it relevant. It was one of several 'near miss' incidents that made me realise that I needed further driver training at the time. I'm pretty sure it was 1984...

I'm at the south end of Park Lane northbound in central London, and it's late evening / early morning. There's not much traffic about and none nearby. I'm negotiating the right before the northbound straight and I'm in the rightmost lane (L5 at that point I think) driving my new BMW 323i in a highly spirited manner. I'm probably in 2nd gear at about 35-40mph with plenty of throttle applied. It's sat down at the back and is gripping beautifully. But this is hard cornering, not far from the limit of grip.

I realise that my lane ahead is obstructed with parked cars, and I've got nowhere near enough time to brake before I plough into them. The issues of cornering balance are such that I know I'm going to have loss of control issues if I brake, lift off or attempt to reverse the lock and chink left onto the clear lane to my left.

My 'lizard brain' found a neat, quick and safe solution. Can you figure out what it was, and why it worked? What would you do?

(And yes, I know I stuffed up big time; I know I was going too fast for the distance that I could see to be clear; but, FWIW, I was almost certainly within the 40mph speed limit.)

(edited to fix 'left' to 'right'; this was the last right hand bend before the long northbound straight. Sorry.)

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Last edited by SafeSpeed on Sun Aug 19, 2007 22:01, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 16:38 
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Jab the brake (or, better if you're clever enough, I would NOT be, left-foot-brake) and gun it, catching the inevitable oversteer, but at least in the clear lane?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 21:50 
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I guess I'd have just lifted and done my best to deal with the resultant oversteer, figuring that at least it would be going in the right direction as it lost control.

But *in theory* I'm with Roger, in that firm LFB should cause the car to tighten its line in a progressive manner without causing snap oversteer, just not sure I'd have the gonads to try it, esp. in a situation such as the one you describe.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 18:41 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
My 'lizard brain' found a neat, quick and safe solution. Can you figure out what it was, and why it worked?


Here's what I did - totally without conscious input.

I banged down the clutch (which obvously takes the engine and throttle input completely out of the equation). I was then able to reverse the lock and steer to my free lane on the left without a hint of loss of control.

The 'classic' approach in such a situation is to feather the throttle. But if you lift off too much you get lift-off oversteer. If you don't lift off enough, given the forces already at play, you'll probably get power oversteer when the steering lock reverses.

I have *absolutely no idea* how I figured to bang down the clutch in the split second it took. No one had ever suggested such a technique to me; I'd never thought about it before; and after the event I'm left thinking: "where the hell did that come from?" The whole thing still seems utterly bizarre. But it worked.

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