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And Automobiles

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esmith

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If you've ever driven late at night with an irresponsible teenage driver, you've most likely involuntarily been a part of some pretty crazy car stunts. The good old fashioned Tokyo drift and doughnut are classic examples of things that should not be done with a car. But like most things that are bad for you, they are pretty cool. A stunt that doesn't get a lot of love is the wheelie. It's one thing to pop one on a bike or a Razor scooter, but to do it with a four-wheeled car is on a whole other level. Of course, it's too dangerous and also impossible for non-professional drivers, but how is it done? Well the most important part of popping a wheelie is to get tons of torque on the rear axle. By accelerating the car forward at a great rate, a torque is applied that counteracts the torque provided by the center of mass of the car. Once the torque gets great enough, the front axle bears none of the weight of the car and begins to tip upward. Motorcycles are easier to wheelie because they are shorter, making their center of mass closer to the axle, and requiring less torque. Conversely, popping a wheelie in a longer, heavier car is more difficult unless it has a much more powerful engine. What makes wheelies very dangerous is that if the acceleration stops the car will fall very hard onto the ground and possibly explode (I have no background in automobiles, but I'm pretty sure that's how it works), or at the very least damage the car and people in it. So don't try to pop a wheelie until you're old enough to get your stunt driver's license. Until then, always drive the speed limit and wear a seat belt.

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