Driving Through A Bend - How To Do Cornering
When approaching a bend the first assessment you need to make is how sharp the bend is. If you get this wrong you may find yourself skidding and losing control of your car.
From your assessment of how sharp the bend is comes the next question - is my current speed appropriate?
Remember the golden rule - you must be able to stop, on your side of the road, in the distance you can see to be clear.
To help you assess these points correctly you need to pay attention to your surroundings. As you near the bend look out for road signs and markings which signal the direction of the bend.
If there are no such signs or markings then observe how the line of trees, hedgerow, buildings or street lights that line the road flow. This can give you a fair assessment of how sharp the bend is. Sometimes you may see skid marks on the road. These can indicate that a recent driver misjudged the bend and had to slam the brakes on in order to keep control.
As you drive towards a bend it is good practice to check your mirrors.
If the bend is right-handed then in order to increase the view ahead you can move left towards the curb.
If the bend is left-handed don't be tempted to move right to the centre of the road in order to improve your view ahead. A large vehicle may be coming the other way and may be edging into your lane.
If you have made the decision to slow down and need to change gear then do so before the bend is upon you. It can be dangerous to change gear whilst cornering as it means removing a hand from the steering wheel. As you enter the bend turn the steering wheel smoothly and progressively. As you begin to exit the bend gently engage the accelerator the power until you hit the relevant speed.
Another way to take a bend is by using the limit point analysis method. The limit point is the point at which the right and left hand sides of the bend meet. This point will be the most distant point of the bend you can see. (see the photo below).
To use this technique as you approach the bend be sure that, if needed, you could stop before you reached the limit point.
Then ask yourself is the limit point getting further away? If it is and you can see further ahead then your speed is fine.
If it is getting closer you should continue toreduce your speed until the limit point to move with you and your view opens up again.
Taking a bend becomes even trickier when the road surface is wet. In the wet your tyres will have less grip with the road. Take a bend too quickly, whether in the wet or not, and you are likely to lose grip and skid out of control.