To drive a supercar at top speed you must have skill, but even the most skilled drivers can still lose control of their supercars sometimes. Whether you own one or plan to own a supercar in the future, it’s useful to understand why supercars lose control.
Supercars lose control due to driver error in most cases. Supercars are meticulously designed for performance and handling, but they require skill to drive at high speeds. Usually, a driver will lose control over their supercar as a result of unforeseen circumstances or poor judgement.
People often look at supercars and think that they are either amazing or that they are dangerous and difficult to control. The answer really isn’t as simple as it may seem though, as there are other things to take into account. Below we’ll discuss some of the reasons supercars lose control.
Why Do Fast Cars Spin Out Of Control?
Fast cars spin out of control in most cases as a result of driver error. The driver is usually going too fast, or is driving erratically, causing the car to spin. Fast cars, such as supercars, usually have complex systems built into them to prevent the cars from spinning, even at high speeds.
Any car that is being driven is at risk of spinning out, but the faster a vehicle is traveling, the more likely that it is the car can spin out of control. Supercars can drive at incredibly high speeds. So, while it is true that the potential to go faster could lead to a higher possibility of losing control, supercars are built to be driven safely at high speeds.
The problem is that when you drive a car very fast, even though your reaction time may not change much, because of the increased speed the distance you travel while you react is much farther. This same logic applies to the increased braking distances the faster you go. You can slam the brakes as hard as possible at both 30 and 80 mph, but you’ll always take longer to stop from 80.
Fast cars can spin out of control when driving in a straight line. If the car is accelerating hard enough then it might reach a point where there is more power being sent to the drive wheels than the tires are able to transfer to the ground. When this happens, the wheels start to spin loose from the ground underneath it and the car loses traction, which can lead to fully spinning out of control.
Also, if a driver is traveling at too high of a speed when they come up to a turn, then there is a high likelihood that the car will spin out of control. When a car turns, the weight of the car shifts to the opposite side of the car that the driver turns towards. If the car does not have enough traction to counteract the forces that are pushing on it from the side, then it will spin.
Seemingly Uncontrollable Reasons
But cars don’t only spin because of human error. Sometimes things just don’t work. Either when the car is being tested or if there is just a problem in the production of the components. A tire may blow, the anti-lock brake or traction control system may fail, the brakes may get overheated, etc. Any of these mechanical failures could cause a fast car to spin out of control.
Suboptimal conditions on the road, such as if it is wet or icy, also make it much easier to lose control of your car. So, driving fast in these conditions should be avoided, especially when driving on public roads. It is hard to judge what other cars will do, and this is why there are speed limits in place to minimize the amount of uncertainty among drivers.
Why Do Cars Lose Control At High Speeds?
When cars are driven at high speeds, they need to be controlled by someone who knows what they are doing. All of the possibility of dangers that come along with driving at an average speed are heavily magnified when driving at high speeds. If a mechanical failure were to occur, such as brake failure, when traveling at 100 mph it would be very difficult to stop safely.
Supercars perform the best when they are driven on normal asphalt road surfaces. Heavy rain and ice are a driver’s worst enemy when trying to control the massive power that supercars offer.
Hydroplaning is one of the main issues that heavy rain causes for cars. It occurs when a car is carrying too much speed when traveling over standing water. If the treads on the tires of the car are not able to disperse the water through them fast enough to keep the tire connected to road, then the tire will begin to rest on top of the water and effectively glide along.
Hydroplaning vs Ice
Hydroplaning is incredibly dangerous. However, it is hard to avoid if you are already out driving and it starts to rain. When a car begins to hydroplane at high speeds, it reacts similarly to when a car is driving on ice at high speeds. In both situations, the car loses almost all of its traction, and the steering wheel starts to feel light, like one from an arcade racing game.
The Driver vs The Car
Though we have gone through many ways that a supercar loses control, most of the situations that I have mentioned are not inevitable. Most of them are situations where planning ahead, properly maintaining your car, and having an understanding of how the supercar operates will make the chances of losing control of the car much lower.
It is always possible that there is a problem with the car that makes the car lose control. However, a supercar does not move unless the driver presses the gas pedal and the supercar does not turn unless the driver turns the steering wheel. The inputs from a driver can make any car dangerous. Just because supercars can travel fast does not make them inherently dangerous!
How To Avoid Losing Control Of A Supercar
Losing control of a supercar can be a very scary situation. Depending on how fast you are going when you lose control, it could be life threatening. Even professional racing drivers lose control of their cars sometimes, but it is to be expected that they might lose control. Their job is to push the car that they are driving to the absolute limit in order to win races for their teams.
If you are not competing in a professional racing event, then your goals are much different. They are probably more along the lines of getting from point A to point B safely and having fun on the drive. There is no need to push your car to the limit on public streets, even if you are driving a very powerful supercar.
Don’t Turn Off Your Driving Assists
Turning a supercar’s driving assists off should not be done on public roads without prior experience of how the car operates when placed in this mode. Supercars are incredibly powerful and, even with the driving assists on, can make you feel like you are right on the edge. Traction control, ABS and electronic stability control should always remain on when driving on public roads.
Unless you are in a competitive racing series that requires that you turn your driving assists off, then no one will look down on you for keeping them on. They are there for the safety of yourself and the people around you on the road.
It does not make you more of a car enthusiast to insist on turning off your driving assists. It certainly does not make you a cooler person. Driving a supercar on public roads can be an amazing time, and I promise you nobody on the sidewalk is wondering if you have the driving assists on or not! So, keep them on.
Preparing For Bad Weather
While bad weather and mechanical failures can be the culprit when someone loses control of their supercar, these two things can be avoided with a little planning and some regular maintenance.
It’s easy to check the weather report on your phone. So, if it is likely going to be a nasty day, it’s a good idea to leave the Lamborghini in the garage for the day. Sometimes bad weather can strike without warning though, or you may need to drive for one reason or another, so it’s best to take a bit of extra caution when driving in the wet.
If you absolutely have to drive your supercar in the snow, then make sure that you equip snow tires and snow chains on those tires. They’ll give you far more traction on icy surfaces.
If you must drive in heavy rain, then make sure to reduce your speed and keep your inputs smooth. The faster and more aggressively you drive, the more likely it is that you will aquaplane when driving over standing water.
If you do start to hydroplane, don’t fight the slide. Don’t hit the brakes, but don’t accelerate either. Keep the steering wheel straight until you start to regain traction. Then gradually reduce your speed with cautious braking.
Maintaining Your Car
Finally, maintain your car on a regular basis. For example, checking your tires on a regular basis to make sure that they have enough tread on them can save you from losing traction and spinning out in bad weather. Making sure that all of your car’s fluids are topped off can also help tremendously with preventing a break down at high speeds. Routine maintenance goes a long way to keeping you safe.
Supercars lose control primarily due to driver error. Supercars do not lose control because they are inherently more susceptible to losing control than regular cars. Planning your journey for the conditions, maintaining your car, and driving responsibly will help you remain in control of your car.
I created and have been writing on this site since 2019, collaborating with drivers, coaches, engineers and manufacturers to provide you with the most reliable information about motorsport. Find out more about me here.