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Drifting, also known as Powersliding, is a driving technique that the player (and NPCs, although it is scripted) can use to lose a pursuing vehicle (i.e. Cops), help win races (single/multiplayer races) or Machinima. The player could drift from GTA III onwards, but from the start, it was proven difficult without the help of modifications. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto IV have been known to be the best games (in the series) to drift. Tactics like these can prove valuable in missions and in racing, as it is sometimes quicker than slowing down in a turn; that is, if done correctly.
Drifting is where a driver comes up to a turn, and instead purposely slides into the turn and angle the car which moves around a turn in an angle. This is sometimes faster than slowing down at a turn. The most popular kind of drifting in GTA is the "Handbrake Drift" or "E-Brake Drift". Note that other ways such as "Braking Drifts," "Accelerating Drifts" and "Turning Drifts" are very similar except they use their brakes, throttle and steering to oversteer into a slide, respectively.
How to do a handbrake drift
First of all one should know how much handbrake a vehicle requires to slide, as it is obviously a core aspect in this technique. Generally rear wheel drive cars will produce oversteer, which need less handbrake (tap). Front wheel drive cars, larger trucks and vans have understeer, which need more handbrake (hold). Oversteer is when a driver is going around thier apex (the path the driver wants the car to go), the car goes under it. Oversteer is key to doing a drift, but drift should never be kept to oversteering cars only. Understeer is obviously the opposite, where the car goes over apex (and possibly into oncoming traffic).
Countersteering is where one counter their turn, hence the name, to save themselves from crashing/spinning out etc.
In order to drift, the player has to follow three steps:
- Steer into the apex
- While still steering into the apex, apply handbrake (amount differs between every vehicle) and (counter)steer appropriately.
- When at the end of the turn, steer where you want to go and continue on going.
Alternate method (GTA IV)
Any rear- or 4-wheel drive car can be turned into a drift car by damaging the suspension of the car. This is done by shooting near but not at each tire, causing the suspension to compress and lower the car. This is a bug.