The word “ camber ” has two meanings, both relevant to the motoring world and to safe driving.
Camber can mean the angle and curvature of the road surface. Often, on an oval circuit, the corners of the track have a steep angle so that the outside edge is higher than the inside edge. This is the camber of the road. The faster a car goes into a corner, the chances are that the angle from the inside edge to the outside edge needs to become steeper so that the vehicle will maintain grip, and not slide and miss the turn. This is all caused by the physical laws of motion in a curved line (centrifugal/centripetal motion) like some of us had to deal with in high school physics. Many roading engineers incorporate camber in public road designs, and getting the correct camber for the likely road speed is an important part of road safety design.
This definition of camber, incidentally, is why road signs have a recommended speed for approaching the corner. This is the speed the road’s camber is designed for. However, cars with well-tuned handling and features such as traction control or a stability programme can often take the corner faster than the recommended speed for the set camber. However, even the best and most stable car can’t completely overcome the laws of centrifugal motion, so extra care should be taken when cornering.
The second meaning of camber refers to the inward or outward tilt of a car’s wheels (as viewed from the front). If the wheels are tilting inward at the top, they have what is called negative camber. If the wheels are tilting outward at the top, they are deemed to have positive camber. Many racing cars have their wheels set at a negative camber to gain greater traction under hard cornering. This is also true to a lesser extent with standard road cars.<
We hope that helps answer the question ‘What is What is Camber?’!
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