I've seen loads of cars that skid during a curve due to taking it with a high velocity. I can guess that it has to do with the grid with the road and maybe something to do with centifugal forces?


1 Answer 1


On a flat road frictional forces can cause a car to change direction.
Static frictional forces have a maximum value, $\mu_{\rm S}\,N$ which depends on the coefficient of static friction $\mu_{\rm s}$ and the normal force $N$.

The force required make a mass $m$ travelling at a speed $v$ go around a circular corner $r$ is found by using Newton's second law, $F = mv^2/r$.

As long as $F \le \mu_{\rm S}\,N$ static frictional forces are large enough to make a car go round a corner.

However if the speed is too high $F > \mu_{\rm S}\,N$ and so the frictional force is not large enough and unless the radius $r$ of the trajectory of the car can be increased sufficient such that again $F \le \mu_{\rm S}\,N$ relative motion at the point of contact between the tyres and the road will occur, the car will skid and move along a straighter trajectory than before the skid.

Worse than that due a skid dynamic frictional forces will become involved and there forces are generally (much) less than the maximum static frictional forces with the transition from static friction to kinetic friction occurring over a very short span of time compared with the reaction time of the driver. Thus there can be a momentary loss of control until the driver reacts to the abrupt change in the type of frictional force which is acting.

Thus if you want to go round a corner at high speed the curvature of the corner must not be too high and you need to ensure that the static frictional forces are large enough by having wide tyres, softer rubber compound tyres (which feel like unset glue on F1 car tyres, lower pressure in the tyres and a good and dry road surface.
And finally the skill to position the car for optimum performance and be able judge the limit before skidding and then if skidding occurs be well versed in strategies to regain control of the car.


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