Tafheet

Tafheet

Tafheet (also known as hajwalah or Saudi drifting) is an Arab street racing subculture that involves repeatedly sliding around on a straight road at high speed, drifting sideways, and recovering with opposite lock, often with little or no concern for safety. It began in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates in the 1970s. The cars are generally non-modifiedand are sometimes stolen or rented cars.

The technique does not involve recognized motorsport skills such as high-speed cornering using power slides. Many videos and compilations of the minor and horrific accidents that result are posted online.

Some of the more popular tafheet maneuvers include: Axeyat (turning the car 180 degrees from side to another completing a full 360 by starting from the right to the left or opposite, kind of street sweeping), Harakat Almawt (‘Death movements,’ power slides where one must keep the car going on forward in a straight line until the car stops by itself without fixing the steer or going off track), Sefty (spinning the car a full 360 degrees starting from any side and then spinning the opposite side of the first 360 with a short power slide between), Ta’geed (spinning the car a full 360 degrees while driving either straight or sideways more than once), Tanteel (repeatedly creating a power slide and steering it back with opposite lock at 100–160 mph, starting with four or more power slides and usually concluded with Ta’geed, Sefty, or Axeyat), and Tatweef (passing another vehicle, truck, or more going sideways at 100 mph on a public highway).

Lack of hobbies amongst youth in the country, and lack of interest in the arts by mainstream society, has been cited as the motivation for youths to participate in drifting exhibitions. The cars are generally stock mid-size or entry-level luxury sedans, such as the Toyota Camry and various Lexus models, minimizing personal cost and repair liability. While there have been instances involving high-end vehicles such as Ferraris and Nissan GT-Rs, these are relatively less common compared to joyriders stealing sedans or compact cars for the purpose of drifting, abandoning them after an event. SUVs and pickup trucks such as the Toyota Land Cruiser and the Toyota Hilux are also sometimes used for this purpose.

Often the police receive reports about high-speed drifting from concerned citizens demanding an arrest because of the risk to public safety. The drifters are rarely caught as the events are organized using an illegal spotter or spotters who use mobile phones to disband the vehicle activity before the police arrive on the scene. Although the police response is rapid, investigations often prove fruitless; generally, the spectators and drivers have left or are dispersing into regular traffic when the police arrive. Videos of tafheet events are often uploaded to the Internet to be seen by the spectators and drivers. Occasionally, police attempt to intercept the drivers but are chased away by both the drivers and spectators.

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