Cars and Trucks

How to Have Fun Driving in Snow: The Scandinavian Flick Explained

Now that you’ve learned how to drive safely in the snow, it’s time for a masterclass in car control. With the a lot of the U.S. looking like Scandinavia, it’s the perfect time to learn one of the most fun and challenging feats of car control, the so-called “Scandinavian flick.”

Beginning in the 1960s, Scandinavian rally-car drivers popularized this slip-slide-and-catch cornering technique. The goal is to briefly unbalance the car enough to produce a spectacular drift. It’s done by inducing oversteer—the sliding of rear wheels—that in turn will carry the vehicle through a corner and scrub off speed in the process. The point of the technique, aside from looking cool, is to allow better car control by “steering” the car with the throttle. So here’s our So You Think You Can Dance–inspired guide to the seven-step Scandinavian flick. One last thing, a mandatory warning: It’s not a good idea for beginners to do this on public streets or in a nursing-home parking lot. You want a lot of space and nothing to hit.

STEP 1: Begin by positioning the car toward the far outside of the corner’s entry. For example, in the right-hand turn depicted here, get on the outer left of the entry.

STEP 2: Just before the normal turn-in point, quickly steer the wheel away from the corner—this is the “flick.”

STEP 3: A split second later, you’re at the proper turn-in point. Turn in sharply while simultaneously lifting abruptly off the throttle (you might also want to stab at the brakes).

STEP 4: Get it right, and the rear end of the car will come around dramatically and begin a lurid slide toward the outside of the corner. Meanwhile, the front of the car will point toward the apex of the corner.

STEP 5: To avoid spinning out, and to maintain the proper trajectory of the car, countersteer (turn into the slide) while gently reapplying the throttle.

STEP 6: As the car drifts past the apex of the corner, straighten the steering in a gradual way while carefully feathering the throttle to keep the car pointed toward the corner exit.

STEP 7: If you’re not off in a ditch or a snowbank, you’ve done it right. Get back on the gas and get ready for the next corner.

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