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I am aware of the practical requirement of turning the steering wheel to turn a car while going on a straight and even curved road. But in the proofs of turning of car on leveled or banked curves, we see the tyres straight.

Assuming a road where a car enters tangentially to a circle with some velocity satisfying the conditions for turning (no skidding), is there no reason in an ideal case to steer the car ?

What all reasons in practical life make it necessary to steer ?

  • $\begingroup$ Consider a tank - its 'wheels' can't change orientation yet it can make turns, why is that? Also you might want to ask the question 'Are the wheels straight, or do they appear straight? $\endgroup$
    – Kvothe
    Feb 2, 2014 at 18:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Kvothe : Tanks actually turn by slowing one of the tracks, see here and no I am assuming ideal case of completely straight tyres and still cannot find reason for steering ! $\endgroup$ Feb 2, 2014 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ @rijulgupta: Actually, the tires do turn when a car makes a turn. Try this: have a person go into a car while you stand outside, and tell them to turn the steering wheel. You'll notice that the front wheels rotate. When a car turns, it does so by turning the front wheels around. You're correct that the example of a tank is different; tanks turn by slowing one of the tracks, which is not what cars do when they turn. $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2014 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ @dumpsterdoofus: I am not asking the practical need ! That is needed due to different speeds and different radii of curvature. I am asking about the need of steering in idealistic cases, would a car turn itself along a turn if taken with some certain velocity. $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2014 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ @rijulgupta: Hmm, so you're asking what would happen to a car if it straightened out its front wheels in the middle of a turn? I'm pretty sure it'd go straight again. If the wheels are straight, there's no perpendicular force being applied to the car, so it's just keep moving in a straight line (assuming it's moving on flat ground). You have to turn the wheels to make the car turn. $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2014 at 17:57


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