What Does “Drifting” Mean?
When a car is “drifting” it means that the wheels aren’t making full contact with the road and the car is moving at an abnormal angle. The term comes from race cars, which drift through turns to keep their speed. They accelerate into a turn and then turn the wheel to compensate for the sideways movement of the car on the track. They also use the e-brake to suddenly stop the wheels from having any traction with the road. When a car is drifting on the race track, it’s a technique. When someone on regular roads is drifting, it’s usually a sign that someone either doesn’t know how to drive or is headed for an accident.
Drifting can be very dangerous and should only be done on a closed course by professionals who know what they’re doing. Drifting is what happens when your tires no longer have traction with the road, and typically it means that the driver is entirely out of control. If you skid with just your rear wheels it’s called a “burn-out” and if only the front wheels are skidding, it’s called either “understeering” or “oversteering”. When both the front and rear wheels are all skidding at once, it’s called drifting.
Of course, some people use the term “drifting” to refer to the way people drive when they aren’t paying attention or have fallen asleep. Drifting across lanes is something that happens all the time when people attempt to text while driving. Many people get in accidents because of this kind of drifting.
Spaced out drifting and fancy skid drifting are both dangerous on the roads and cause accidents all the time. The best way to enjoy drifting is to watch Hollywood reproduce the effect on the screen. Just remember that it’s never going to be like that in real life.