Drift a Car

Drifting is when the back of the car slides followed by a regain of control. When done properly (and safely), it is often very thrilling. Drifting can be fun when acted upon in a safe manner, and at a safe location.


Things to Do Before You Begin Drifting

  1. Set up a cone in the middle of a safe area of tarmac. Drive up to the cone and rip the handbrake in an attempt to do a 180 degree handbrake turn. Practice this until you are no more, and no less than 180 degrees from when you started.
  2. Learn how to counter-steer by ripping the handbrake from a speed of {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} (anything less will cause an inadequate amount of momentum to get you around the cone) and trying to control the car to a destination until the car stops.
  3. Increase speed of each of these things until you are comfortable
  4. Try to do the 180 cone too.

Drifting with Rear Wheel Drive and Manual Transmission

  1. Find a car with both rear-wheel-drive and a manual transmission. Ideally it should be a sports car with as close to a 50/50 ratio as possible, and enough power to keep the tires spinning is ideal.
  2. Head to an open area (i.e. an enclosed racetrack) safely free of pedestrians and motorists and police!

Hand brake technique

  1. Accelerate and shift into a gear with room to rev. Second gear is generally used because it allows the widest variance of speed and is best for harnessing the engine's torque.
  2. Push in the clutch.
  3. Flick the steering wheel to the inside of the turn as if you were going to turn around it. While simultaneously pulling the hand brake.
  4. Immediately put some pressure on the gas pedal, let out the clutch, and steer the car in the direction of the slide, using throttle to control the angle of the drift.
  5. More throttle will make the car turn more, and also move the car away from the turn center.
  6. Less throttle will reduce angle, and allow the car to move towards the inside of the turn more freely.
  7. You're drifting!

Clutch Kick technique

  1. Used while you are already moving to increase angle and/or revive wheel spin.
  2. While you are drifting, you may feel the car begin to lose its drift angle and power. If this happens, you can kick the clutch to attempt to revive to tires spinning speed. This is similar to power shifting, and you are in essence trying to 'chirp' the tires again and again.
  3. Enter a drift.
  4. While you still have the power put on, kick the clutch pedal in and out a few times as fast as you can until the car is drifting again.
  5. End with your foot off of the pedal.
  6. Continue the drift, and when you feel the car begin to lose angle/power try to clutch kick again.

Drifting with Rear Wheel Drive Auto

  1. Find a large, open area.
  2. Accelerate to a speed of {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} (depending on lot size and room)
  3. If possible, lock the transmission into a low gear to provide maximum torque
  4. Turn the wheel hard and floor it. You should feel the rear end slide around if this is done correctly. Only use full throttle to start the drift, after this you should use proper throttle control to continue through the corner.

Preparing to Drift with a Front Wheel Drive Car

  1. Go to a large, open area.
  2. Pull the handbrake or use the parking brake, riding it out the first time or two to get over your initial fear.
  3. Set up a cone in the middle of the lot.
  4. Drive up to it at speed (between 20 and 30 mph is desired).
  5. Pull the hand brake and turn toward the cone. Immediately after you feel the back end come around, turn to the opposite direction. This is known as opposite lock.
  6. Repeat the opposite lock at that speed until you can control your car well. Practice this for at least several weeks regularly until it becomes second nature. (Don't do this on roadways. It is dangerous to others and can get you fined.)
  7. Slowly increase speed until you are proficient in a speed you are comfortable with. Get to know that speed--you should never drift above that speed unless you are practicing.
  8. Upgrade. At the same initial speed, flick the steering wheel opposite of the turn and swing it all the way into toward the CONE (not turn, you aren't ready at this stage). As before, when you feel the rear end come around, go to opposite lock.

Drifting with a Front Wheel Drive Car

  1. Approach a turn at a comfortable speed, preferably in mid 2nd gear.
  2. Pull the handbrake while turning into the corner, try not to lock the rear wheels.
  3. You should still have the power on, try not to go less than 1/2 throttle at any time during the drift.
  4. When you feel the car start to understeer, and lose angle, pull the brake harder.
  5. When the car seems to turn too much, give it progressively more throttle, and release the handbrake some.
  6. Don't tense up, just feel it.


  • Use brakes when needed to slow the car down more rapidly than E-braking.
  • Never drift on the road. It is illegal. It might seem fun, but it's really not worth the risk. In many jurisdictions this activity is considered reckless endangerment, carrying penalties of jail time, license revocation and more.
  • Always drift a car at a controllable speed , when you first try to drift keep it below {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}.
  • Don't go faster than you can handle. Recovering from a spin takes skill and experience.
  • If you intend to drift an SUV or pickup, use extreme caution, as these types of vehicles can flip over. This can be done but you must be very experienced at drifting.
  • Don't try to drift in a carpark. You can damage yours or others' cars badly, or worse.
  • FWD and most AWD cars are not capable of drifting in the strictest sense, rather they simply drag their rear tires sideways across the pavement. This greatly increases wear on the tires as well as the rear end suspension components and can cause rapid failure. If you're serious about drifting, get a RWD car.
  • Know your local and state motor vehicle laws. You can be cited, fined or jailed for drifting, even if you are not on public roadways. Although not explicitly prohibited in motor vehicle codes, there is usually a "catch-all" provision that law enforcement can use prevent you engaging in this activity.
  • Because severe or uneven wear is a driving hazard, be sure enough tread remains on the tires when finished drifting, but the tires should either be checked out by a professional or changed immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • A car with:
    • A well serviced engine and transmission
    • Safety equipment such as a roll cage and racing straps
    • Rear or four wheel drive is preferred
  • Cheap rear tires are recommended when learning
  • A limited slip differential (optional)
  • A car with a lot of CASTER. This basically means that the more you turn your front wheels, the more they CAMBER inwards. You want this because increased negative CAMBER increases turning ability. Likewise, increased POSITIVE camber will cause you to have less turn-in, but allow an over-all steadier straight line car. (CAMBER is the "tilt" of the wheel)
  • A racetrack or open lot (recommended you have asked local authorities, tickets are not cool)
  • Cones or other markers
  • A scoreboard with a friend to judge while drifting and give you advice.

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Sources and Citations