'Controlled skidding' might be hazardous at this time of year, but Autocar has been schooling drivers in the ways of car control for over 80 years
Jim Holder
5 February 2015

Early in the history of mass ownership of ‘autocars’, the magazine sought to engage and inform enthusiasts on the best ways to handle and maintain their cars.

However, few articles could have been as entertaining as this analysis of the “disturbing yet fascinating phenomenon” of skidding. Not least because it was purportedly penned by the appropriately named BPW Twist MA and began opposite an advert for the Fiat Pillarless Saloon, which, with 10hp, hardly seemed likely to require a dab of ‘oppo’.

“Caution on a slippery road is essential, of course,” warned Twist, “but it is those people who drive gingerly along in fear of a skid rather than in the expectation of it who are likely to find their car out of control.”

Reflecting the more carefree nature of the times, Twist went on: “Yes, in the interests of general safety, the best advice is – choose your time and your place with some care, and try to skid.”

Twist’s logic was that any application of opposite lock must become instinctive: “One cannot, as soon as the car begins to skid, remark to the passenger, ‘Pass me the issue of The Autocar for February 2nd, my dear, and turn to page 173’.”

Going on to explain how to handle rear and front-wheel slides, plus four-wheel drifts and skids prompted by over-enthusiastic application of the accelerator, Twist amplified his calls for drivers to train themselves on how to handle all situations. “A skid in itself is harmless,” he wrote. “The only danger is that there is rarely sufficient space, and the skid must be checked before an impact takes place with the sides of the road or some other object.”

He also found time to argue with a fellow correspondent, Mr SWF Smyth, who had suggested locking the wheels hard in the direction of the skid in the event of the front wheels sliding, in order to create grip.

“It will be impossible to spin the wheel right over to the other lock and correct adequately to avert disaster,” concluded Twist, no doubt after trying it for himself on a quiet road.

Finally, after pondering why some of the slipperiest bits of road in the UK were found in London on wet days at the corner of one-way traffic systems (“for what reason I haven’t quite decided”), Twist set out a tone that runs among staff to this day: “Controlled skidding may even be quite fascinating.”

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Comments
8

5 February 2015
This website is a throwback... to a time when webiste were crap. Any chance of sorting it or at least giving us an honest estimate of when it'll be fixed. Was there no user teasting before it went live? Can you not roll back until these issues are sorted. Is there no accountability from your IT provider?

 

5 February 2015
Very good Leslie Brook, if like FB there was a like button then this would have been used.
The IT is probably contracted and the lowest bidder got the contract. Same old,,,,

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!

6 February 2015
Leslie Brook wrote:

This website is a throwback... to a time when webiste were crap. Any chance of sorting it or at least giving us an honest estimate of when it'll be fixed. Was there no user teasting before it went live? Can you not roll back until these issues are sorted. Is there no accountability from your IT provider?

Have to agree. For a professional magazine, the website and pages are appalling. I mean the layout looks like a 12 year old has converted it from a Word document. The text in articles is limited to a column about a third of the displayed window etc. I could go on but I think you get the picture.

5 February 2015

Morning Leslie Brook and DBtechnician,

Thanks for your comments. We are aware that there are currently issues with some parts of the website - including the comments and picture sections - and we are working to get these resolved as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, please bear with us.

Regards,

Darren

5 February 2015
It would be nice to actually read the article

5 February 2015
It would be nice to read the original article.

5 February 2015
I was lucky enough to be reared on a Farm (where quite a number of great racers were also raised). In my family's time, our land included the Rye House Kart Facility where Lewis Hamilton learnt his trade.

Car handling became second nature from age of 10.

The red face occurred in Australia, when my employer let me chauffeur him in his 300 SEL 6.3 Mercedes, and I put the back out on a slippery S-Bend.

Although there was no accompanying damage to the vehicle, and I caught the skid in an automatic reaction, I will not forget the embarrassment - though this incident occurred nearly 45 yrs ago.

I was very glad to have spent considerable time on an isolated airfield playing "Jeremy Clarkson" with my AC Ace.

Malo Mori Quam Foedari

5 February 2015
I was lucky enough to be reared on a Farm (where quite a number of great racers were also raised). In my family's time, our land included the Rye House Kart Facility where Lewis Hamilton learnt his trade.

Car handling became second nature from age of 10.

The red face occurred in Australia, when my employer let me chauffeur him in his 300 SEL 6.3 Mercedes, and I put the back out on a slippery S-Bend.

Although there was no accompanying damage to the vehicle, and I caught the skid in an automatic reaction, I will not forget the embarrassment - though this incident occurred nearly 45 yrs ago.

I was very glad to have spent considerable time on an isolated airfield playing "Jeremy Clarkson" with my AC Ace.

Malo Mori Quam Foedari

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