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How to drift an automatic car

Many drivers are just in their vehicles to get from A to B; running errands, work commutes, a bit of leisure coasting at weekends. But others are drawn to the thrill of stunt driving. While the madcap adventures of Hollywood movies like The Fast and The Furious are, for good reason, fictional escapism, it is possible to perform some basic white-knuckle manouevres without incurring too much risk. A popular choice is drifting. So how do you drift an automatic car?

Basic drifting techniques

The first thing you should be aware of when experimenting with how to drift an automatic car is safety. Obviously you will be getting your vehicle to behave in a somewhat unconventional way, so take heed of the road conditions, particularly how you'll impact on any other traffic in the vicinity. By far the safest way to do this is to find somewhere off the beaten track, such as an industrial estate, a country cul-de-sac, or best of all, a disused airfield.

Firstly, set up a traffic cone. Now drive up to it and jerk the handbrake to go for a 180 degree handbrake turn. Keep practicing this until you are near enough 180 degrees from your starting point.

The next aspect to mastering a drift is to perfect counter-steering. To do this you need to rip the handbrake. The car should be travelling at 30-40 miles per hour. If the speed is any less than this insufficient momentum will be generated. But by going at over 40 miles per hour you’ll be able to try and get used to controlling your vehicle, working it around until you want to bring it to a halt.

As you grow more comfortable with your handbrake controls, gradually increase the speed, from 40 to 60 miles per hour. Again, always be acutely aware of your surroundings, both in terms of the physical layout of the driving area, and the weather conditions. If you are completely confident with the turns, you can perfect your drifting techniques over a period of time.

Drifting an automatic using an emergency brake

Some exponents of the art of drifting a car advocate extreme methods. According to many drivers, the most efficient way to drift an automatic car is by employing the emergency brake. After getting your automatic car up to speed, you turn the car in the direction that you want to drift, then pull the emergency brake. A note of caution: this is bad for you car's transmission.

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