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Driving and Physics



Ever since i got my permit I've been obsessed with driving everywhere, as lame as that sounds, it's true! Yet i know that i would not be able to drive if it wasn't for physics. One of the issues i have had is the remembering to take off the parking brake. I always forget when i start the car that i have to take brake off before the car will actually go anywhere. Since i always i forget this, the car is stationary (a constant velocity of zero) and the forces acting upon the car are equal, until i apply a force that would allow the car to move. The only two forces acting upon the car are gravity and the normal force of the ground that the car wheels are resting on while stationary. If we were to draw a free body diagram of the car it would look like: a dot (which represents our car) with an arrow coming straight down labeled mg (which represents the force of gravity) and an arrow up labeled Fn (this represents the normal force of the ground pushing up on the car). If the forces of gravity and the normal force were not equal, then the car would either float up into space or be pulled through the ground, so it is very important that since the only forces acting upon the stationary car are in the vertical direction that they are equal, so neither of these occur. So physics and stationary cars actually do have a lot in common! and without physics the car would either be flying or sunk down into the either, which in the ideology of cars, isn't the best option.


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We'll have to study up on safety measures in cars here shortly... air bags, seat belts, crumple zones... especially with a certain new driver on the road!

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