Tafheet (تفحيط), or Hajwalah (هجولة) and Farfarah (فرفرة) popularly known elsewhere in the world as Arab, Saudi or Middle East drifting, is a criminal motorsport phenomenon that ideally involves trying to drift a high performance car or a full-size sedan at very high speeds around 160 – 250 km/h (110-155 mph) across wide highways throwing the car left and right. In the process, racers often drive dangerously close to traffic, barriers, and spectators watching from the sides without any protection. Drifters usually drive and damage local rental vehicles, minimising personal cost. Rarely are purpose built drifting engine and suspension packages used or twin hydraulic handbrakes fitted. Tafheet driver practice and events are generally seen on the wide sectioned highways of Riyadh, Al-Qassim Province and other parts of Saudi Arabia. The technique does not involve recognised high speed rally racing skills e.g. high speed cornering using power slides. But instead the skill involves sliding around on a wide flat straight road section at high speed, drifting sideways and recovering with opposite lock repeatedly. Tafheet practice and events occur with little to no concern for any vehicle occupants, other drivers or any spectator safety.
Some of the more popular tafheet techniques include:
- "Ta'geed": turning the car a full 360 degrees while driving on low traffic volume highways.
- "Tanteel": which is repeatedly creating a slide and recovery with opposite lock at high speed on low traffic volume highways.
- "Tatweef": these manoeuvres are taken at very high speed up to 250kph [155 mph] on busy public highways risking collision with the traffic.
The cars are generally from rental services and are basic low cost front wheel drive vehicles, minimising personal cost and repair liability. The most popular cars including Hyundai Sonata, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima and Mazda 6. Some drifting is done with RWD cars, such as the Chevrolet Caprice, BMW 7 Series and Infiniti M. Less popular are vehicles with a higher centre of gravity and better grip, 4WDs, Subaru Legacy (4WD models). At times expensive mid-engined sports cars are available, such as Porsche Boxster or Ferrari F430, these type of cars are preferred, but rarely rented or owned by young drivers. Drifting with trucks, SUVs, and high performance motorbikes has also been known to occur, but limited because of the extremely high risk.
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 organised 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 to this highway terrorism is rapid and extensive, investigations often prove pointless, as generally the spectators and drivers have left or are dispersing into regular traffic when they Police arrive. Videos of Tafheet events are often uploaded onto the internet to be seen by the spectators and drivers. These uploaded video give drivers kudos within the culture even after vehicle damage, major injury or fatality and naturally after successful high speed skill displays. Tragically it terrorises other highway users who are unaware of the event until they are in the middle of it and at risk of death or major injury.
- Meehan, Sumayyah (2008), "The 'Arab Drift'", Muslim Media Network, retrieved 2009-11-10