Learn how to do forward 180s, even in your subcompact

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How to do Forward 180s With a Car Team O'Neil

Have you ever had the misfortune of commuting to work when you remember that you left the stove on? With several open jerry cans of gasoline also in the kitchen, right next to your collection of old-timey nitrate film? Perhaps you need to avoid the National Guard while transporting the proceeds of your charity concert to the Cook County Assessor in order to prevent the closing of a Catholic orphanage? Yes, yes, we’ve all been there. It happens.

Those might not be ideal scenarios to make an abrupt 180-degree turn, but if you have a safe gravel- or snow-covered area and an agile little hot rod—say a Fiesta ST, as is the case with Team O’Neil instructor Wyatt Knox—you may want to practice forward 180s. Just in case.

A forward 180, as opposed to a reverse 180—also known as a J-turn or a Rockford—begins when the car is traveling forward and you apply the clutch and then the parking brake to bring the car around with some steering input. Put it back in gear, and you’re heading back from whence you came. It’s even easier in an automatic.

Their video explains it well and also covers the pendulum turn—a more difficult-to-master alternative, but one that is easier on an all-wheel-drive car’s center differential.

Team O’Neil’s training facility is located near the New Hampshire/Vermont border and its courses teach drivers how to maintain vehicle control in loose traction conditions. Whether drifting on pavement or rally-driving on gravel or snow, their instructors have been there and slid that.

If you’ve got the right car and the appropriate space to practice your forward 180s, the video comments offer some tips as well. Happy sliding.

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