A bootleg turn is a radical driving maneuver intended to reverse the direction of travel of a forward-moving automobile by 180 degrees in a minimum amount of time while staying within the width of a two-lane road. This maneuver is also known as a smuggler's turn, powerslide or simply a bootlegger.
It is easier to initiate this on some cars by initially applying a flick of the steering wheel the wrong way, before turning it in the direction the driver wants to go. This maneuver (known in racing as a Scandinavian flick) increases the load transfer to the outer wheels.
Classic bootleg turns can only be performed on cars with a manual transmission and is most easily done on a rear wheel drive car, as the spinning back wheels aid in the turn. This is because the maneuver is essentially a controlled fishtail-like spinout. Vehicles with an automatic transmission can be modified to make a bootleg turn possible. This is most commonly done for stunt vehicles used in motion pictures, to reduce the stress on the stunt driver to change gears while turning.
Cars with a handbrake on the rear wheels can enter a controlled turning skid by employing the handbrake, locking the wheels and turning the steering wheel sharply in either direction. This maneuver can also be called a bootleg turn, but is more accurately described as a handbrake turn. Using the handbrake to break the traction of the rear wheels is a lot simpler than trying to do this by power alone.
Other nations and languages have their own colloquial names for the maneuver. For instance, it is known as "Cavalo-de-pau" (wooden horse) or "Baianada" (a pejorative reference to the state Bahia) in Brazil.
On the road again--and again and again and again: remember anything about your drive to work today?(Editorial)
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