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Driving and Dynamics



After learning about and studying physics for a while, sometimes you just start thinking about how it applies to what you're doing right now. And while it may warrant a few odd looks from friends and family if you're like me and voice those sudden realizations, it can be quite fascinating, as there are some simple things that have some interesting explanations. Like how walking works because of a normal force the earth applies on you as your leg pushes down. As I was taking driving lessons one day, I started thinking of the way physics works when someone is behind the wheel. One thing noticed more was how when a car turns, the passengers tip over a bit in their seats to the other side of the car, and how when the car stops, everyone leans forward a bit. The reason this happens is because of inertia. Newton's first law states that an object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted on by an outside force. When a car turns one way, say to the left for example after moving forward, your body wants to continue moving forward, but is dragged to the left by forces exerted by the seat on your body. This causes your body to tilt in the direction it was initially going, but because the car is turning, it appears to tilt to the side, in this case the right side since that is the side closest to the initial forward direction. The same thing applies as the car comes to a stop. As the car stops, your body wants to keep moving forward, but is held back by forces exerted by the seat and seatbelt opposing the direction of motion


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