Watch Tesla Model 3 Performance Lose Control At High Speed


This is some seriously scary stuff.

Approaching top speed, the Tesla Model 3 loses control and goes into a crazy spin.

Imagine, for a moment, that you hop in your car for a run out to the flats. Your goal is to hit top speed, but instead you end up in a wild spin that’s both terrifying and potentially life-threatening.

Well, that’s a risk you assume in partaking in such an endeavor, but it’s not the anticipated outcome.

Luckily, the car’s very low center of gravity prevents it from rolling, not once, but twice. The third time might not be the charm though, so the driver stops at two.

And yes, the sand was soft and warnings were posted. So, it seems the driver was prepped and ready for the outcome, which is joyful, provided the end result is what’s witnessed in the video.

Fittingly, the soundtrack is perfect, featuring Kenny Loggins’ “Highway To The Danger Zone.”

Video description:

We push the Tesla to its limits, going (almost) 0-155MPH!

The Tesla also spins out the second time, going 130MPH!

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97 Comments on "Watch Tesla Model 3 Performance Lose Control At High Speed"

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Nice wording.


Text is wrong.
The Model 3 did not lose control.
Something else was faulty.

Yeah, something located between the driver’s ears is faulty.

It wasn’t bad enough he risked his own life with reckless driving; he had a passenger too! But at least he didn’t perform such dangerous maneuvers on public roads.

The passenger seems to be enjoying it more than the driver…

Nah, he was just going 89 mph with Autopilot engaged.

Yup to @Hauer
Poor use of words by IEV.
Driver lost control. Really dislike headlines like this implying something. Expected this from NYT, Bloomberg, CNBC, but not IEV.
Note: this story was first reported elsewhere in a more factual manner.

Watch driver loose control of car driving at high speeds. Really?? Say it ain’t so.


Q: How slick is the surface? (Salt flats)
—Mark Marshall

A: If there’s been moderate rain in the months before the event, with winds to smooth and dry the surface, the salt can be hard enough to show black tire marks. If there’s been no rain, the salt can get too dry, crack, and provide poor grip. Worst is a very wet course, which is about as slick as an inch of mud. The ever-thinning salt crust due to mining is also a problem, as tires can dig down to the mud.

Headlines like the one in this article is what leads to companies like Tesla to remove or not implement features to keep their name out of the headlines.

Could it be related to aerodynamics? Lift at high speed?

When the Audi TT was originally launched they had numerous high speed crashes on the autobahn due to the lift created. Audi ended adding a small spoiler and changed the suspension to compensate.

Those speeds aren’t a real life scenario in the US, but in Germany it could be a serious issue. It will be interesting to see if people report issues when sales in Europe pick up.

Hmm, do you mean heirs will report issue?
Such things are usually tested on performance cars at design stage. These big raising spoilers on 911 are not for looks, even if they add drag.
Model S P had small spoiler.

It was due to soft sand … any car would have spun out likely with worse results.

It was mostly due to him not properly controlling the car correctly in the first place.

You do have to give the car slight corrections unless you want to plow, spin out, or slide like he did.

Who knows. I always found it odd that the Model X has a spoiler for show. It actually retracts as soon as it would start working. With the Model X being a Minivan obviously no one has really tried to corner it at speed but lowering downforce at high speed seems like a stupid idea.

This surface is not Autobahn, and the Germans don’t have such salt flats… yet.

I remember that.

A lot of people opted not to install the spoiler in North America due to the tacky look of the spoiler.

Totally driver error! What a dip stick.

He not only didn’t turn into the slide, after a couple seconds he turned out of it which is why the car finished the 180. Was he ignorant of what he was doing, or did he initiate a 180 at 130 mph? Salt flats aren’t perfectly flat. If one of the wheels had dug in even a bit that car might have rolled several times.


Traveling a untraveled path makes it even worse.

He is a Youtuber. The ones who are in the action/experiment space tend not to know what they are doing more often than not and fool a lot of people into thinking they are experts because they are popular. Populism is not success, it is not competence, and it is not worth trusting.
Notable recent Darwinian moments are easily found. Search Google News for “Youtube” and “die” and you’ll get at least two incidents in the news over the last week.
The younger generation is being taught to value populism above everything else. It is destroying them or killing them literally, and this brinkmanship with a Tesla on the salt flats is another example of refraining from common sense to reach the common viewer.

The most common last words before lethal actions are ” just hold my beer and watch this !”

He’s obviously never watched “Cars”. …..

“Turn right to go left.”

Were they ever in any real danger? I mean, what are the chances of a car flipping over on such a flat surface with so little traction? Especially one with such a low center of gravity. being he was laughing about it, I suspect he’s done this sort of thing before and wasn’t worried about it.

I don’t think there was a huge chance of him flipping, but it was a real risk. Did you see how rough parts of the “flat” were?

Didn’t appear to correct the slide at all seems to suggest we’re looking at novices

The vehicle has a low center of gravity, so on flat asphalt or concrete a flip is highly unlikely. But if the wheels dig in, you will see a spectacular high speed flip.

It’s been pretty dry in Utah this year, but early October was really wet. Speedweek is in August for a reason. Glad to see everything worked out for him. The salt flats really are the perfect place for these shenanigans.

Maybe not in the salt flats area, though.

Here is past weather for West Wendover, which is close to the salt flats and was mentioned in the video.

It rained on Oct 23 and Oct 4 according to link. I also looked at Salt Lake City — which is somewhat close to the salt flats — past weather and there was rain in October, but very few days of rain.

The video seems to present careless behavior.
Traveling at these speeds over unknown ground, not even a roadway, without any supplemental safety equipment, with a passenger may even be negligent.
I wonder if the operator even checked the air pressure, let alone adjusted it for the intended speeds, as recommended by Tesla and by the tire manufacturer.

No victim, no crime.

This was in a wide open area. People drive fast on the salt flats all the time. Or were you being sarcastic?

How about driver error. As the car begins to spin/veer to the left he does not turn into it, he does the opposite. Watch the steering wheel and the horizon at the same time! It may be hard to see if he turns into it at the beginning of the spin but while he’s clearly into the spin it is obviously he turns the steering wheel the wrong way.

I’ve never driven in a void, so maybe he was spatially disoriented? But I agree, if he doesn’t know how to correct what was some very graceful oversteer, he’s probably going to end up killing himself and his wife.

The Salt Is Very Good For all the Nooks & Crannies In the Car Body , As It Starts Eating Away At it …

Unless you have an i3.

Might want to check the motor mounts…

NO metal parts in an i3? What are the brakes made of, rubber? Suspension parts, brake cable, motor?

Everything is either carbon fiber, aluminum or cotton candy.


I just love the $4.000 I had to pay for rusted brake rotors, springs, dampers, brake calipers and brake lines, wheel bearing hub . . And some minor structural rust on my Ford.
I just hate salt on winter roads.

Didn’t look that dangerous.

Well he’s going sideways at 135 miles an hour. Sideways as in the passenger is looking out the side window seeing the world rushing towards her at 135 miles an hour. If it did roll how many times do you think it would have gone over? I would think at least five, guess the best way to answer that question is to look at NASCAR racing rollovers.

They love to go to the left in NASCAR!

It’s a very mild slide, drift, until the car is at a much lower speed. You don’t want to over react at high speed, and he makes very small adjustments during the slide. They were not “sideways” at 135mph.

Should have put navigation into mars mode

The driver does nothing to try to stop the spin – you need to steer in the direction you want to go to keep the wheels aligned with the direction of travel and let the rear end come back in line.
This person should stay in the south where there is no snow. They are not safe to travel on northern roads in the winter.
That was a drift into on-coming traffic on a highway – certain death even at moderate speed if there are cars coming the other way.

I’m originally from Buffalo New York and I agree. Watch the steering wheel and the horizon, he doesn’t turn into it.

I’m pretty familiar with driving on snow and ice but I don’t think I’ve ever tried to recover from a rear end drift at 135 mph on snow and ice. I think you’ve pretty much lost it at that point.

He never even made an attempt to correct, and the car very gracefully started oversteering- it was totally correctable.

But why bother trying to correct it? Wide. Open. Salt Flat. And looked like a lot of fun. Pretty mild looking all-in-all.

At high speed, you make very very small adjustments. He does turn in slightly keeping the car from completely spinning, until it is at a much lower speed.

What is the top speed of Model 3 Performance on the race track?

155 MPH at the Race Track, and 154 MPH on Salt Flats.

It seems his “Traction” was reduced about 0.4%! 😀

Poor Car !!!

Yes! Poor Car !!! That’s Car Abuse !…….. 🙂 ……lol

I prefer Pepper, with no Salt.

The soundtrack is not that fitting for me. Better use You Spin Me Round by Dead Or Alive.

I was think myself it was the music that might have caused the crash.

Yeah, there is false assurance in the text of this article. At these speeds the weight of the battery will not help you, but will increase the energy available for a major catastrophe. They were dangerously at the limit of their tires’ sidewall withstand. I know, I know.. Where’s the proof? I’ll wait for the first good rollover.

Southern California people would probably think it is out of a Science Fiction movie – but every year a few teenagers manage to catapult their car unintentionally into the second floor of a two-story house, just by colliding with a little snow bank. 1/2 mv squared applied there also.

Only uninformed people laugh at this.

Hard to provide proof it it happens to you, and your dead. The dead, don’t upload to Youtube.

That’s what live streaming is for! 😉

But their friends might.

Tire fold requires enough tread traction to cause the tire to fold.

There has to be an equal force on the tread that is opposite the force of the car for a tire to fold or fail.

They are in low traction conditions, not high traction conditions. Short of hitting a very thin spot in the salt and digging through the salt to the mud underneath, the rollover risk is minimal.

There aren’t any snow banks out there. They are probably more likely to have a freak accident of running into some other car running the salt than they are of rolling over. Going fast has inherent risks of freak accidents, but rollovers aren’t common on the salt. It is one of the benefits of doing speed runs on salt.

The SuperDope has SPOKEN! Next…..

It got you to show up…

Better headline: “Watch DRIVER lose control at high speed.”

According to Tesla, his model 3 warranty is now void.

Why do you say that?

Got A Link?

Look up Tesla new vehicle limited warranty

Not so fast… What country do you think this is?

Go read… The Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act !!

Real helpful. Make an unsupported claim, and then when asked to support the claim, tell the person to do it themselves. Two thumbs up, guy.

Here is the link:

What I’m assuming you’re referring to is this part:
“This New Vehicle Limited Warranty does not cover any vehicle damage or malfunction directly or indirectly caused by, due to, or resulting from normal wear or deterioration, abuse, misuse, negligence, accident, improper maintenance, operation, storage or transport, including, but not limited to, any of the following:
-Driving off-road (applies only to Model S and Model 3)
-Driving over uneven, rough, damaged or hazardous surfaces, including but not limited to, curbs, potholes, unfinished roads, debris, or other obstacles, or in competition, racing or autocross or for any other purposes for which the vehicle is not designed”

In other words, any damages *CAUSED BY* driving off-road or over uneven surfaces, etc., would not be covered by the warranty. That’s very different than saying the whole warranty is voided after driving off-road.


Yah, driving your Tesla sedan 135 mph on the salt flats is almost as bad as driving it down a dirt road to go mushroom picking.

Yeah – that gave me ‘pause’ when I read that last year – as it is a much more restrictive warranty than what applied to my Roadster, which was restrictive enough. I often drive over broken or uneven pavement, which, per the warranty (their words, not mine) would void it.

I wouldn’t be too self-satisfied that you could BEAT TESLA on any warranty claim denial. If you had a future power train problem they’d say the test drive over taxed it. If the gearbox started murmuring, same thing.

Maybe if the rear seat padding separated they’d cover that but anything expensive they’d say could have been caused by what was done here.

Yeah, his Model 3 has Salt in every nook and cranny.

All I see is the car doing a very mild 180 deg spin, not a “wild” spin two or three times. I’ve actually had a very similar thing happen to me. I was driving a pickup on the salt flat at about 25 or 30 mph and all of the sudden it’s like you are on black ice; there is absolutely ZERO friction. The truck just spun around and there was nothing I could do until it decided to finally stop. You can steer anyway you like and nothing is going to happen.

While I do agree that the driver’s action were completely juvenile and irresponsible (just another YT idiot), I don’t see anything wrong with the car. I will say that the speedo was likely WAY overstating the actual speed. There’s so much wheel slip on the lake surface the car was likely traveling much slower than what the speedo shows (unless that was GPS verified).

Lawl the only reason he did a 180 is he didn’t correct

Looked like an exhilarating experience.

I have been to the salt flats and have seen this exact thing happen to cars on the flats. The Model 3’s first run is on dry salt, but when they turn left for their second run If you pay attention, you can clearly and easily see that the character of the salt changes and a thin coat of water is interspersed with the salt. When he reached 135 mph the car began to Hydroplane and once the front wheels turned and became out of line with the rear tires all four tires were hydroplaining slightly sideways initially and slowly progressed around. The coeficient of friction is very low while hydroplaning and the wet salt does not have suficient friction for the tires when sidways at non hydroplaning speeds to flip the car. If you have any doubt that water in the salt was the cause of the Hydroplaning, you can see that the salt had to be mixed with water by the spray patterns on the side of the car indidcate unequivicaly that water was mixed with the salt grains by how they stuck. But the most telling proof of water in the salt is the brake cooling intakes… Read more »

WHOLLY SCHMORES people posting who actually know what they are talking about???
This should NOT be allowed!!

salt flats aren’t the grippiest of surfaces.

At 2:39 you can clearly see the dogbone-shaped diagonal wet patch. The rotational force that induced the slide is the uneven entry point of that wet patch. The driver side tires hit first, and experienced drag on that side of the car first, inducing the rotation.

The slide is made worse when he completely let off the go pedal. This introduced lift-induced further loss of traction. He needed a more neutral “throttle” position to allow the tires to reattain and keep traction. That way they would not be fighting both deceleration AND rotational forces at the same time. (“sliding” friction is based on the sum of deceleration AND rotational forces against the tire tread).

You can see this on the speedometer as the speed dropping and then coming back up again, like when it drops to 117, then back up to 124, then down to 110, then back to 113. This is the tires losing and reattaining rotation relative to the ground due to lift-induced deceleration forces against the tread.

That along with a string of poor choices in steering inputs makes it all very dramatic.

When you lift the throttle in a Model 3, you are essentially braking. I bet he didn’t even dial down the regen before he started the run.

I agree. Dialing down regen would have helped reduce throttle lift induced traction loss.

From his youtube comments:

“Ben Ahlander — Haha I think we hit some softer sand. After looking further into the area we were at we saw warnings that there may be softer sand due to wet conditions.”

Yea, you did. should have read the signs. Oh, and there is no “sand” at the salt flats. Just salt and mud.

Neither terrifying nor life threatening.

A normal event for a slippery surface and RWD, if it were a FWD this would not have happened

First run went fine, topped out at 154mph.
Second run, I thought I detected a twitch on the wheel by the driver. What I cannot tell is if that initiated the spin, or was a reaction to it starting to go offline. Either way, top speed runs on the salt flats have killed people for decades, this was much less dramatic, just a “Please contact the Service Centre” message at the end. Not Armageddon!


A douche with more money than sense. While we’re at it, let’s sensationalize this because he’s driving a Tesla.

Exact same thing happened to me in my Model 3 except I was going 65 MPH on a wet highway. With other cars around me.

So you were hydroplaning no doubt

It appears this guy didn’t participate in the “official” Bonneville Speed Week setting; rather he simply got out on the Salt Flats and floored it? Without actually checking for a safe, smooth, and fully dry course? Simply really good that the low center of gravity kept the Model 3 “right side up.” Or so it would appear. Equally lucky he didn’t blow out a tire or break a wheel in a “mushy spot.” Particularly since there is NO SPARE in the Model 3. IMHO, this is the height of stupidity to try such a “top speed test” without fully checking the full surface one will be using for such an extreme effort. Sadly, the “gene pool” still seems to have his potential for further “contributions. (Humor intended here…sort of). FYI, I believe that TWICE a year there is a section of flat and safe public roadway in Nevada that is closed off by the Nevada Highway Patrol for some kind of “participation cost” to those who want to test the full extremes of the top speed their vehicles can attain. I seem to recall that the Nevada Highway Patrol might even have staff with radar guns to get more official… Read more »

The Nevada races you are talking about are the Silver State Classic Challenge and the Nevada Open Road Challenge that are run on HWY 318. Technically they aren’t races, but timing challenges, where you try to hit a target speed without going over a maximum speed anywhere on the course, or dropping below a minimum speed. This would actually be a great event for a Performance Model 3.

Anyone can come join the fun, because you don’t need a race license. And after your rookie race where you are limited to lower speed classes, you can race at whatever class best suits your vehicle and skills. You need a navigator, a good set of newer summer tires, and track day insurance. And remember, mirrors! mirrors! mirrors! Even when you are doing 150 there is someone faster than you. Also, get your high speed practice on a track somewhere first, don’t go out to HWY 318 and try to speed run it when the road is open to the public. You will get a ticket, and you will be DQ’ed from the race

Why on Earth would you steer INTO the direction of rotation? Any car will spin if you do this; just ask anyone who grew up driving in a snowy climate. This is 100% driver error.