Differential wheel-path friction, or differential friction, is a term derived to describe the condition that exists when the individual wheel paths on which a vehicle rides have different or unequal coefficients of friction. The problems associated with differential friction may be minor or extremely serious depending on the magnitude of the frictional difference and its relation to the average coefficient of friction. This problem may occur on surfaces with high as well as low coefficients of friction. For this reason, a frictional inventory made in only one wheel track may not detect such a problem. Although the coefficient of friction may be good to excellent in both wheel paths, the difference might cause a vehicle to spin out of control when braking if the wheel paths are unequal. Therefore, this concept should be given major consideration in any pavement friction evaluation. The paper describes the research performed to evaluate the effects of differential friction on a skidding car. It also describes the magnitude of the problem as well as some of the causes and possible solutions. The results of this research indicate that differential friction should be given major consideration in any pavement friction analysis. There are also strong indications that differential friction may be as important a cause of wet pavement accidents as low friction level. If this is the case, a major reevaluation of pavement friction evaluation, design, and corrective techniques may be necessary. /Author/

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    • Publication of this paper sponsored by Committee on Surface Properties Vehicle Interaction. Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved
  • Authors:
    • Burns, John C
  • Publication Date: 1976

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 46-53
  • Monograph Title: Pavement design, evaluation and performance
  • Serial:

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00156002
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309220710
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Aug 15 1977 12:00AM