Drifting is super weird in Need for Speed Heat. Instead of pumping the breaks or a specialized button, you need to ease off the accelerator for a second, pushing down on the pedal briefly as you lean into a big turn, which alters the physics on the car and lets you drift.
Of all of the changes Need for Speed Heat makes from the classic racing game formula, this is one of the most significant and it led to a few accidental crashes and scrapes while the new system was bedding it.
It’s worth spending the time to learn how this works — and when you should drift compared to when you should slam your handbrake. In return you’ll start to actually win races, rather than accidentally crash into a wall as you skid around the final corner, letting the racer in second pick up an easy victory.