Four wheel steering is a new car technology that results in increased maneuverability in cars and other four wheeled vehicles. It should be clarified that four wheel steering is totally different from four wheel drive, which is a technology that gives power to all four wheels of a vehicle.
With standard two wheel steering, the vehicles’ rear set of wheels are only oriented in one direction, which is forward. This static orientation means that it does not play an active role in steering, it is only there for power and traction. But in four wheel steering, the rear wheels can be turned left and right, much like the front set of wheels. In order to keep driving and steering simple, a computer is employed in controlling the rear set of wheels.
A majority of four wheel steering systems control the rear set of wheels in certain basic modes and situations. For example, when driving at slow speeds, the rear wheels are turned at the opposite direction of front set of wheels. By doing this, the turning radius is reduced by up to 20 percent. When driving at faster speeds, the rear wheels will be turned in the same direction as the front set of wheels. By doing this, lane changing maneuverability is vastly improved. This is also a great advantage for vehicles that tow a trailer.
Four wheel steering systems are still a new technology but it is already fast gaining in popularity because of the benefits it gives to cars in terms of maneuverability and safety.