How to Control Understeer

By: David Smith

What is understeer?

Understeer is what happens when a car breaks traction at the front tyres when cornering. This results in the car heading straight on despite applying steering lock.

How to recognise understeer?

Understeer is most likely to happen when cornering in slippery conditions, or when driving a car hard. The most obvious symptom is the fact that when you turn the wheel, little steering actually occurs and the steering becomes light. But understeer tends to occur in graduations and it won't necessarily mean than you continue in a straight line.

How to control understeer?

Understeer is one of the easiest to control losses of traction. Simply ease off the gas (don't brake as this can make things worse), and apply slightly more steering lock. This results in a forwards weight transfer which should provide more grip at the front and regain steering control. The additional steering lock should bring you back on track. Avoid braking because the front wheels are already at the limits of their capability for grip - if you stamp on the brakes you'll simply continue to understeer with locked front wheels.

How to avoid understeer in the first place?

Understeer is easily avoided in most conditions apart from when driving on very slippery surfaces such as ice or oil. The rule of thumb is slow in , fast out when cornering on the racing track. Approach the corner cautiously if it's the first time you've attempted it, and then gradually increase your speed to reduce your lap times. No prizes for crashing on the first lap!

For more information, please click on the link below:

Understeer techniques

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