How to Make a Tight Turn Quickly in a Car

Three Methods:Making a 90-Degree TurnMaking a 180-Degree TurnTurning Around a Flat and Fast Curve

There may come a time in your life as a driver that you need to make a tight, fast turn, whether it's as a police officer in a high-speed chase, or simply to avoid an accident. You can use a variety of techniques to turn around a very tight corner, such as making a left-hand turn around a parking lot light post. If you want to know how to make a tight turn quickly in a car, just follow these steps.

Method 1
Making a 90-Degree Turn

  1. Image titled Make a Tight Turn Quickly in a Car Step 1 preview
    Position the car as far to the right as you can. This will allow you to move the car in a wider arc and to get the most momentum as you turn. This is what you should do if you're making a tight left turn. If you're turning right, then follow the opposite of the directions, and start on the left side of the road.[1]
  2. Image titled Make a Tight Turn Quickly in a Car Step 2 preview
    Turn left as close to the corner as you can. You can also think of the corner as the "apex" of the turn. Turn toward the turn as quickly as you can without hitting it.
  3. Image titled Make a Tight Turn Quickly in a Car Step 3 preview
    Use your brake as late as possible. As you turn the car, press down the brake so you don't spin out of control, but don't press them down all the way. Press the brake just as much as you need to to slow down the car enough to make the turn safely, but not so much that they slow you down or jerk the car or make it swerve.
    • As you turn into the corner, you must be almost completely off the brakes, but still lightly on them, to allow maximal traction to the guiding wheels. After the car has turned into the corner, apply the throttle to the point where the car is not speeding up or slowing down. As you exit the corner, apply the power progressively while slowly taking off the steering.
  4. Image titled Make a Tight Turn Quickly in a Car Step 4 preview
    Exit the turn as far to the right as possible. This will make you turn with the widest radius and straightest line possible, which will make you move as fast as possible. Following this line also gives you the best traction and the most efficiency for laying down the power coming out of the turn.

Method 2
Making a 180-Degree Turn

  1. Image titled Make a Tight Turn Quickly in a Car Step 5 preview
    Start driving at around 35-40 miles per hour (55-65 k/h). This will be a safe speed for making the turn. If you're driving a manual car, shift it into first or second gear. The 180-degree turn is also known as the handbrake turn because it is so extreme that it requires the use of a handbrake; this should only be used for racing or in very extreme situations.[2]
  2. Image titled Make a Tight Turn Quickly in a Car Step 6 preview
    Place your hands on the steering wheel in a way that would allow you to quickly turn it in a full circle. So, if you're making a 180-degree turn and turning right, place your right hand on the left side of the steering wheel so you can quickly turn it to the right.
  3. Image titled Make a Tight Turn Quickly in a Car Step 7 preview
    Start turning before you pull the handbrake. Take pressure off the accelerator and go into neutral if you have an automatic car or floor the clutch if you have a manual car, and quickly turn the steering wheel in the direction that you want it to go until the wheel locks.
  4. Image titled Make a Tight Turn Quickly in a Car Step 8 preview
    Press the handbrake a split second after you start turning. Quickly press down the handbrake, or press the foot operated brake if you have one, after you've started making the turn. This will lock the rear wheels of the car and will keep it from spinning out of control.
  5. Image titled Make a Tight Turn Quickly in a Car Step 9 preview
    Center the wheel and the front wheels of your car. This will position your car in the opposite direction that you were originally driving from.
  6. Image titled Make a Tight Turn Quickly in a Car Step 10 preview
    Release the handbrake. Release the handbrake as you're centering your car so you can regain control of your wheels and the direction of your movement.
  7. Image titled Make a Tight Turn Quickly in a Car Step 11 preview
    Apply the brake to set the car on the right path if necessary. Applying some light pressure to your brake can help you straighten out your car and keep it from spinning out of control as you drive off in the opposite direction.

Method 3
Turning Around a Flat and Fast Curve

  1. Image titled Make a Tight Turn Quickly in a Car Step 12 preview
    Keep both hands on the wheel. This will help you maintain control of the car.
  2. Image titled Make a Tight Turn Quickly in a Car Step 13 preview
    Turn the car gently into the curve. Try to turn the car as gently and accurately as possible while keeping your foot lightly on the accelerator.
  3. Image titled Make a Tight Turn Quickly in a Car Step 14 preview
    Use the throttle to control the radius of the turn. More throttle will set you wider, less will set you tighter. If the car seems to turn too much, the back-end is probably skidding. You will need to ease off the power almost completely, slide the wheel just a bit through your hands, and then apply the throttle as hard as possible for one moment.
  4. Image titled Make a Tight Turn Quickly in a Car Step 15 preview
    Exit the curve. When exiting a fast curve, you can re-apply the throttle very quickly, as the wheels would never spin at such speeds.


  • Smooth use of the brakes and the accelerator is also essential, as smooth release and pressing of the accelerator will eliminate wheel lock-up and wheel spin on the entries and exits of corners.
  • If your tires are slipping under power to the point that the back-end swings out, you are giving it too much gas, and easing off the gas a bit will actually get you through the turn quicker. Be cautious though, suddenly lifting off the gas will transfer weight to the front and cause the rear end to swing out even more,possibly causing you to lose control. The key is balance.
  • Tight turns require a lot of precision to be fast. Practice is essential to perform well.
  • Any of these maneuvers done with a RWD or AWD vehicle should not be with any "drifting" style (with your back-end sliding as you accelerate). Keeping your back-end "tidy" is always the fastest way around the corner, unless extremely tight and slippery.
  • Looking into the corner, identifying the apex and exit (and then looking far ahead beyond the corner) will improve this technique and make it more natural, even if it means having to look through the side window and not the windshield.
  • The tighter the turn you make, the slower it must be taken, but if you play your cards right, and make the turn faster than the other guy, then it might give you the edge you need -- "Slow in -- Fast out".
  • Many cars have a "foot rest" or flat spot on the left side of the floorboard. This is actually called a dead pedal and should be used in fast turns. By pressing down with your left foot, you force your body back into the seat, thereby minimizing any upper body movement created from lateral g-forces. This allows you more precise control with the steering wheel.
  • For most corners, if you turn just slightly later, you will be able to make a more straight forward and fast exit from the corner.
  • Originally, sliding or drifting was done by rally racers who did this with the intention of holding more speed through the corner. Sliding changes how you enter and exit a corner, but typically you will hold more speed and therefore, get through the corner faster.
  • The sharper the corner -- the sharper the steering. In a fast curve, steering is done gently, without moving the hands on the rim. In a normal bend, steering is done smoothly, but not slowly. In a tight corner, however, steering must be executed quite quickly, even if it is slick. In slippery conditions, the car might react to such steering with a slight delay, but if you don't turn the wheel even more, it will eventually turn ideally.
  • If your car under-steers when you enter the turn (just after you let off the brakes), try staying on the brakes a little longer, or releasing them a little earlier. Releasing the brakes at the point of turn-in will release a lot of available down-pressure on your front tires.


  • While practice is crucial, it should be noted that many of the maneuvers can cause damage to vehicles. Alignment, engine mounts, bearings and many other parts can suffer wear or malfunctions. Some people use a cheap "practice car" to practice with.
  • Some SUVs have a history of rolling when confronted with extreme maneuvering.
  • It should be noted that when using the parking brake in a RWD or AWD, it is imperative that you have the clutch depressed and the motor disengaged, or else you will stall the car. Depending on the types of differentials in your AWD car, using the parking brake while moving could very well destroy your differentials/drivetrain as well.
  • Keep in mind that while drifting/sliding may be the quickest off road, for asphalt these techniques are definitely NOT the quickest way around a corner. If it were they would use this technique in Formula One. The quickest way is the smoothest way. Sliding looks flashy but it's SLOW- on pavement.
  • Always drive safely. Be observant of pedestrians and other vehicles.
  • Obviously, these maneuvers can be very dangerous and may result in serious injury or death. Tactical or technical driving should only be done in emergency situations, when no other choice is available.
  • Any practicing you do should not be done on public streets! Your own private property is the best.
  • Never break the law! Obey speed limits, research state and local laws, and be sure to obey all the laws.

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Defensive Driving Skills & Safety