Ever Heard of Snap Understeer? Here’s a Nasty Sample

Just when we thought we had armed ourselves with knowledge and practice against that deceiving snap oversteer, the generous world wide web comes to inform us that we could also experience... snap understeer one day.
Extreme understeer in a Saab 96 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
Jokes aside, the footage below, which comes via oppositelock, perfectly illustrates the dangers of being surprised by understeer.

The clip takes us inside a Saab 96, a 1970s machine that relies on its front wheels for traction and has never heard of ABS. Sure, this retro piece from Sweden may have rallying history, but that’s another story for another time.

The driver is faced with one of the worst possible scenarios one can encounter on the road. To be more precise, the man’s Saab has to go through a downhill turn with a decreasing radius, one that also appears to have a bit of negative camber. Oh, and we also have to add the road appears to be wet, albeit without an excessive quantity of water flooding the driving surface.

As the driver starts turning vigorously in order to go through the twist, the vehicle starts going wide. A rather basic driving instinct tells the man to step on the brakes, which only makes the problem worse.

Luckily, the guy realizes his mistake before the situation becomes an offroading adventure and takes his foot off the brake. The front tires start handing the steering job properly shortly after, with the Saab being able to return onto its lane.

Since the man was fortunate enough not to encounter any traffic, this all turned into an experience that allowed him to teach drivers across the world a lesson in front-wheel-drive discipline.

Whenever you are in a similar situation, the best idea is to slightly reduce your steering angle. As for the brakes, applying a little bit of pressure helps the weight transfer to the front of the car, which will deliver that necessary extra grip.

Keeping your tire pressure within the limits recommended by the manufacturer also makes more of a difference than most people expect.

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About the author: Andrei Tutu
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In his quest to bring you the most impressive automotive creations, Andrei relies on learning as a superpower. There's quite a bit of room in the garage that is this aficionado's heart, so factory-condition classics and widebody contraptions with turbos poking through the hood can peacefully coexist.
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