September 18, 2014

Cars, Manly Skills, Tactical Skills, Visual Guides

How to Perform a J-Turn: An Illustrated Guide

car stunt trick j-turn illustration rockford files

I’m a big fan of old cop and detective shows. One of my favorites is The Rockford Files that aired in the 1970s and starred the legendary James Garner as private detective Jim Rockford. The Rockford Files was famous for the car chase scenes in which Rockford would race down bad guys in his Firebird Esprit. Rockford’s signature car maneuver was the J-Turn in which he would start off in reverse, spin the car 180 degrees and then continue forward in the same direction. Because the move was used so often on the show, the J-turn is often called “The Rockford Turn.”

I thought it was a cool move and could come in handy if I’m ever outrunning bad guys like Jason Bourne or something. So I asked Wyatt Knox at Team O’Neil Rally School how exactly one performs a J-turn. Knox teaches this skill as part of Team O’Neil’s tactical driving course and above you’ll find his instructions illustrated by Ted Slampyak.

Wyatt noted that J-turns don’t really work with newer cars that have “Stability Control.” He also recommends not doing this in high center of gravity cars like SUVs and trucks because of the risk of rollover.

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