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Tafheet (تفحيط), or Hajwalah (هجولة) popularly known elsewhere in the world as Arab Drifting, Saudi Drifting or Middle East drifting, is an illegal street racing phenomenon commonly believed to have started in the late 1970s that involves trying to "drift" cars; to drive cars that are generally non-modified factory-setup rental cars at very high speeds, around 160 – 260 km/h (100 - 160 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 special handbrakes fitted. Tafheet driver practice and events are generally seen on the wide sectioned highways of Riyadh, Al-Qassim Province and, less notably, in other parts of Saudi Arabia.

The technique does not involve recognised high-speed rally racing skills such as high-speed cornering using power slides. 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 or no concern for vehicle occupants, other drivers, or spectator safety. Many videos and compilations of the minor and horrific accidents that result are posted online.



Some of the more popular tafheet techniques include:

  • Tanteel: repeatedly creating a power slide and steering it back with opposite lock at high speed [160 km\100MPH up to 260 km\161MPH], starting with 4 or more power slides and usually concluded with Ta'geed, Sefty, or Axeyat. It is also considered the main maneuver.
  • Ta'geed: spinning the car a full 360 degrees while driving either straight or sideways more than once
  • 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
  • Tatweef: passing another vehicle, truck, or more going sideways at very high speed up to [260 km\161MPH] on public highway no matter how busy the traffic
  • 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



The cars are generally non-modified factory setup rental services cars and are basic mid-size front wheel drive vehicles, minimizing personal cost and repair liability. The most popular cars include Hyundai Sonata, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Kia Optima and Mazda 6. Also the same drifting is done with rear-wheel drive cars, such as the Chevrolet Caprice, Chrysler 300, Chevrolet Malibu, BMW 7 Series, Hyundai Centennial, Infiniti M, Mercury Grand Marquis, Ford Crown Victoria, Lincoln Town Car and Lexus LS. Less popular are vehicles with a higher centre of gravity and better grip such as the four-wheel drive cars like Subaru Legacy or anything that can go sideways. Drifting with trucks and SUVs such as GMC Suburban, Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota Fortuner, Nissan Pickup, Toyota Hilux and much more. Also compact cars such as Hyundai Accent, Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Versa, Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Beat, Chevrolet Aveo and Chevrolet Cruze are also used. Drifting with sports-cars such as Nissan GT-R, Ferrari F430, Porsche Boxster, Chevy Camaro, Dodge Charger, and Dodge Challenger are preferred but rarely rented or owned by young Saudis. [1]


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 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.

In June 2012, a middle-aged Saudi drifter nicknamed "Mutannish" (the nickname means "one who ignores") was sentenced to death by beheading for killing two people while drifting his car near Unaizah in Al-Qassim Province.[2]

In March 2014, a 23-year-old Saudi nicknamed "The King of Nazeem Neighborhood" was sentenced to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes for a series of car drifting and firearms offenses in Riyadh and Al-Qassim Province. The drifter was also banned from driving for life.[3]

See also[edit]


  • Meehan, Sumayyah (2008), "The 'Arab Drift'", Muslim Media Network, retrieved 2009-11-10