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Driving Round Bends!

  1. Feb 16, 2012 #1
    Logically, when a car travels round a bend, it should be most 'comfortable' to stay as wide on the bend as possible, as the turning radius will be greater and therefore the forces acting outwards at a given speed will be less. (In the limit, a bend of infinite radius - ie a straight line - will cause no sideways forces, which is why I say this is logical). However...

    The fact is that, when we drive round a bend, the natural tendency is to stick as tight to the inside of the bend as possible. I am not talking about taking a 'racing line' across a corner, but a long, continuous bend. Why do we do this when logic tells us that this will be less comfortable for us and our passengers?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2012 #2
    I suppose it's because we feel a centrifugal force lurching us away, so intuitively we think that something is dragging the car outward and we want to compensate.
  4. Feb 16, 2012 #3


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    Assuming you're not taking the corner near the limits of grip, probably a tendency to take the shortest path and also more margin for error (it would be harder to swerve inwards than outward while in a turn). I tend to stay away from the outer edges of a road as much as possible to provide more time in case something comes out from the side of the road. At intersections I tend to stay near the middle of my direction (between the middle and outside of the road) to avoid someone turning left in front of me as well as hazards off to the outside of a road.
  5. Feb 17, 2012 #4
    Because you have more road left to deal with any problems.

    If you understeer from the inside of the road, you end up near the outside. If you understeer from the outside, you end up on a grass bank.
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