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Doughnut Van



Every Saturday, my family and I go to a children's ministry in the city called Bethel Express. I help whenever I'm needed, but my parents do a lot, which at one point included driving a sixteen passenger van around the city to pick up a ton of kids. One winter, my dad decides it would be fun to take this van full of kids and start driving in circles on the empty(thankfully) and icy parking lot. Driving in this motion caused the van to start sliding on the snow and we started doing doughnuts in the parking lot. "Why did the van start sliding in circles?" I'm glad you asked. This is in part due to the lowered coefficient of friction between the tires and snow, as opposed to the tires and pavement. This only makes it easier though. What is it that causes the van to want to spin around in huge circles? This is because of centripetal force, or lack thereof. The frictional force would normally be the one pulling the circling van towards the center of the circle, but with that force depleted, the tires just continue sliding to the side, pushed by the still low force of the tires spinning on snow. Needless to say this was a highly entertaining experience, and one that I will not soon forget.


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