Apply Slight Turning Force Tesla: All You Need To Know

Last updated on April 18th, 2023 at 11:17 pm

Having a functional car is one thing. Having a car that has autopilot mode is another thing. The autopilot mode is an excellent feature that many drivers desire to have.

Several car brands have installed autopilot mode. Tesla is one of the brands with the autopilot feature.

Not only does the Tesla brand have the autopilot feature, but it also employs a series of safety measures to ensure you use this autopilot mode effectively. 

You need to apply a slight turning force to your Telsa wheel. This is necessary when you have kept your hands off the steering wheel for over 15 seconds. Most times, the Tesla car alerts you, informing you to apply slight force to the steering wheel. This is predominantly a safety measure.

In this article, I will show you when and why you need to apply slight turning force to your Tesla wheel. You will also learn a lot about the safety modes the Tesla brands provide.

By the end of the article, you will know when to apply slight force to your Tesla car. After reading this article, you will also be ready to drive your Tesla car.

When Does a Telsa say Apply Slight Turning Force to Steering Wheel?

Apply Slight Turning Force Tesla

A Tesla would tell you to apply slight turning force to your steering wheel if you last touched your steering wheel a while ago.

The Tesla can only do this when you are on autopilot mode.

The instruction to apply slight turning force to your steering wheel is a safety precaution, allowing you to use your unique Tesla autopilot mode efficiently. 

The Tesla autopilot mode is common to every new Tesla car you purchase. The Tesla provides three packages: autopilot, enhanced autopilot, and Full self-driving capacity.

The autopilot mode provides for the following:

  • The autopilot mode matches the speed of your car to other surrounding cars, i.e., traffic cruise control.
  • The autopilot mode assists you in steering your car.

The enhanced autopilot mode adds the following features:

  • Auto lane change.
  • Auto park
  • Summon and smart summon
  • Autopilot navigation. 

The differences between the autopilot mode and the enhanced mode are: 

Autopilot ModeEnhanced Autopilot Mode
It does not have the auto lane feature It adds the auto lane change feature 
It allows you to steer your car, but you must also navigate.It can take charge of your navigation and steering.
It would be best if you parked manually.It takes care of the parking.

The full self-driving capacity adds the following features:

  • Identification of stop signs and control of cars to align.

You will notice that your new Tesla car will also have external cameras, which are regularly up to eight in number.

The Tesla car manufacturers describe this feature as an additional security measure.

However, in the past years, several Tesla car crashes have occurred. Most of these accidents happened because drivers were using autopilot mode.

You must be attentive while using the autopilot mode as you may take over at any unexpected venture. This is because the autopilot AI is a machine capable of making errors.

Therefore, the precautionary warning to apply slight turning force to the Tesla car is one of the many safety measures that the Tesla car manufacturers installed.

This action is to prevent further accidents on the roads.

So when you receive a warning to touch your steering wheel slightly, it means you have not touched it in about 15 seconds. You will need to pay close attention to your wheel immediately.

How Long Before You Have to Touch The Steering Wheel in a Tesla?

The ideal way to operate a Tesla autopilot is to have your hands on the steering wheel at all times. Several Tesla manufacturers advise this as the best way to drive Tesla autopilot. 

If you cannot have your hands at your wheel at all times, then you need to place your hands on your Tesla Steering wheel for 30-45 seconds. Again, this varies based on your Tesla.

Your Tesla may alert you to place your hands on your steering wheel after 30 seconds of inactivity. Some Teslas would alert you after one to three minutes of inactivity. 

Nevertheless, you should ensure you keep your hands on your car’s steering wheel for at most three minutes maximum. You must abide by this even if Tesla does not warn you.

How can I operate my autopilot with my hand on the steering wheel? Operating the Tesla wheel on autopilot is easier than it seems.

While your hands are on the wheel, ensure you relax your hands a bit. Let the car do the driving but let your hands feel the steering. Also, be on high alert in case you need to take over.

If your wheel wishes to turn, hang your hand on the wheel and relax. This way, you will allow the wheel to turn smoothly, and you’ve not had to take your hands off the wheel.

How Do You Activate the Auto Lane Change on a Tesla?

To activate the auto change lane on your Tesla, there are some steps you need to follow. 

The steps you need to follow are:

  • Access the Settings tab.
  • Access the autopilot control menu.
  • Enable the auto lane change option.
  • When the car is on autosteer, engage the turn in the direction you want to move in.

You can turn off the auto lane change by taking the following steps as well:

  • Access the control menu
  • Access the autopilot option.
  • Press the customize navigation on autopilot. 
  • Press Lane confirmation off.
  • You have successfully turned off the auto lane change.

What Happens if you Ignore Tesla Autopilot Warnings?

If you ignore your Tesla autopilot warnings, your car will eventually shut down.

However, there are many more uncomfortable events you will experience before this shutdown happens:

#1. Consistent Alarms

When you ignore the warning of your Tesla to place your hand on the steering wheel, the Tesla will eventually sound some alarms. These alarms have an emergency nature.

These alarms can end up being too disturbing, and it is in your best interest to obey the autopilot warnings.

However, the following safety measure comes if you do not obey the warnings.

#2. Decrease in Driving Speed

If you ignore the alarms on your Tesla, your driving speed will eventually reduce.

For instance, if you were driving at 70mph, you will notice your car will eventually reduce to 35mph.

This safety precaution is necessary because Tesla is trying to protect you from accidents. With your driving speed reduced, your chances of an accident are slim.

#3. Your Car Will Shut Down

In some Teslas, you would notice that as your driving speed consistently reduces, it will eventually sum up to a halt. Once your car halts, it will also shut down.

At this point, I recommend you heed all the safety measures when you turn on your car again. 

Sometimes, your car could shut down in the middle of the road, which is quite embarrassing. To avoid this, it’s best not to let the warnings get to this stage.

#4. Your Autopilot Will Disengage 

When you turn on your Tesla, you may discover that your autopilot is no longer functioning. 

Some Teslas automatically deactivate the autopilot feature after you don’t heed the warning signs.

However, you can continuously re-engage your autopilot, but there is a catch.

#5. Permanent Deactivation of the Autopilot Feature 

If your autopilot disengages three times because you have yet to heed the warning signs, you will never be able to use the autopilot feature again.

You will notice this message on your screen, and your autopilot will no longer function. You may wonder why this feature is present in the Tesla systems.

This feature is present because, at this point, the Tesla has deemed you stubborn and unable to take directives; hence it permanently deactivates the autopilot feature.

Without the autopilot feature, your Tesla does not have the unique advantage it has over other cars.

I strongly recommend you never let it get to this stage and obey warning signs early.


#1. Is it Possible to Trick My Autopilot Into Not Warning Me?

Yes, you can trick your autopilot into not warning you. Some people use tape and other moving objects to trick their autopilots.

#2. Are there Legal Consequences for Not Obeying Tesla’s Warnings?

If the police discover that you have ignored your Tesla warnings, they could deem you unfit to drive and take appropriate legal action against you.

Ignoring a Tesla warning puts you in the same shoes as someone over-speeding.

#3. Is it a Must to Use the Autopilot Mode?

Not. You can always disable the autopilot mode and choose to drive manually. 

Disabling the mode doesn’t add to the three times rule that exists when you disobey the warnings.

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