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What Car? Q&A - What does 'adverse camber' mean?

13 April 2006
Q: Driving through road works on my way to work I saw a sign that read 'adverse camber'. Can you tell me what this was?
Nigel Owen


A: Camber is how a road slopes from the centre to the sides. When approaching a right hand bend, for instance, it would normally tilts down from the left hand side of the road towards the centre. This 'crossfall camber' assists safe cornering, because it provides some compensation for the degree of left-lean that a vehicle experiences as it negotiates the right-hand bend.

At road works, it is not always practical to maintain this desirable road camber. So the term adverse camber can be applied to any road that tilts on the same side that the car leans in a given bend.

Taken at an appropriately low speed, adverse cambers are at worst a little uncomfortable, but if your speed is too high, or you're in a high-sided vehicle, they can prove more dangerous.

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