What’s Moonshiner’s twist?

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A moonshiner’s turn, or J-turn, is an evasive driving maneuver used to make a sudden 180° change of direction. It was named after the tactics used by smugglers carrying illegal moonshine. It should only be used in emergency situations and can cause significant damage to a car.

A moonshiner’s turn, also known as a J-turn, is an evasive driving maneuver designed to create a very sudden 180° change of direction. A moonshiner’s turn is often taken when a driver is suddenly faced with an obstacle in the road and progress is virtually impossible. The name of the stunt is based on the elusive driving tactics used by smugglers carrying illegal containers of ‘moon moonshine’, a homemade grain alcohol. Police and tax collection officials often placed roadblocks on major roads, causing smugglers to find new ways to evade them.

To perform the turn of a moonshiner, it is better to drive a car with a manual transmission. This allows the driver to put the car in a lower gear for faster acceleration out of the turn. A moonshiner’s turn can be done in a vehicle with an automatic transmission, but expect a slower turnaround time.

Unlike its riskier counterpart called a smuggler’s turn, a moonshiner’s turn is taken from a standstill, not a controlled skid. Once the obstacle or other threat has been detected, stop the car as soon as possible. Once you have finished your forward drive, quickly put the car into reverse. Drive straight backwards while counting five seconds. Get ready to multitask.

While the car is still moving in reverse, turn the steering wheel hard to the left while simultaneously pulling or pressing the emergency brake. Don’t touch the accelerator. The car must turn at least 90 to 180 °.

Once the car has changed direction, release the emergency brake and put the car into a second gear, or ‘drive’ in an automatic. Accelerate out of the area as fast as possible. A moonshiner’s turn isn’t as quick as a smuggler’s, but many professional drivers say it’s an easier maneuver to master.

A moonshiner’s turn or J-turn should only be used during an emergency situation, as it can cause significant damage to a car’s tires, suspension, and gearbox. Depending on the vehicle, a moonshiner’s turn can also create a dangerous rollover. Professional safety drivers and stunt specialists practice these stunts on closed tracks with modified cars. A moonshiner’s turn may be best viewed as part of an action movie’s chase sequence, not on an actual highway.

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