Automatic and four wheel steering control laws are often developed from the performance point of view to optimize rapid response. Under linear tire operating conditions (i.e., maneuvering at less than .5g's) both performance and safety conditions can be simultaneously met. Under severe operating conditions, such as might be encountered during crash avoidance maneuvering, tire characteristics can change dramatically and induce directional dynamic instability and spinout. The challenge in automatic and four wheel steering system design is to achieve a compromise between performance and safety.This paper will describe analyses carried out with a validated vehicle dynamics computer simulation that shed some light on the vehicle and control characteristics that influence tradeoffs between performance and safety. The computer simulation has been validated against field test data from twelve vehicles including passenger cars, vans, pickup trucks and utility vehicles. The simulation includes a very complete tire model for representing the effects of skidding under hard maneuvering conditions, and has been shown to properly represent spinout conditions that occurred during the validation field testing.