The reverse 180 is THE classic car stunt.
It is also one of the most fun slides to do. Stunt performers have always learned how to do this ‘car stunt’ for the sole reason that it has and probably always will look and feel really cool. It is a stunt that has been popular since the first car chases and one that has never lost its appeal.
My dad and I used to sit and watch the Rockford Files on television together. I loved watching it. Not only could James Gardner eat a taco without spilling a drop, (the only person I’ve ever seen do that, and on camera as well!) he was also an incredible driver and did some of his own stunt driving for the show. That is why, for me, the reverse 180 will always be ‘The Rockford.’
This slide was also popular in the days of prohibition when it was known as the Moonshiners Turn. If the southern moonshiners came upon a police roadblock they would sometimes execute this slide for a quick getaway.
This slide is also taught in anti-terrorist driving courses. It’s used when confronted by a roadblock or something you need to stop quickly for. The advantage of using this slide instead of a forward 180 to get turned around is that you get maximum braking all the way to a stop (meaning the shortest distance possible.) All your braking is done in a straight line. Also, while backing up you don’t have any bright lights in your eyes – that people who set up roadblocks like to blind you with – and of course you don’t need to waste any time turning around.
With the reverse 180, you will be doing many tasks in a very short period of time and the consequences of a wrong move are bigger with this one than most of the others. Timing is everything. You’ve got to turn the steering wheel in the right direction, (or run the risk of going off the road in reverse!), shift gears at the right time or possibly blow a transmission, and have the front wheels pointing straight ahead coming out of it. Other than that, it’s a piece of cake.
When you are first learning the reverse 180 you will want a BIG piece of pavement so that the only thing to worry about is getting the car out of reverse before you start the slide. But still, practice doing everything correctly and in sequence. Even if the car doesn’t spin all the way around to 180 degrees. As long as you turn the steering wheel the right amount at the right time and you shift gears at the right time, the slide will come after a few tries.
On with the fun…
“Turning good drivers, into great ones”