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Physics of Speed Bumps



Have you ever driven too fast over a speed bump and felt an uncomfortable jolt? Have you ever wondered why the feeling is so much less uncomfortable when you travel over the speed bump at a slower speed? This discomfort can be explained when considering the physics of speed bumps. When going over the speed bump, you experience an impulse, equivalent to the average force applied to you multiplied by the time during which it is applied. Let's say that you are approaching the speed bump at a relatively high speed, and that you roll over the speed bump in 0.001 seconds. The speed bump applies an impulse to you which stays constant no matter how fast you go over the speed bump. Since the impulse remains the same, the smaller the time interval during which you pass over the speed bump, the greater the force applied to you, which causes discomfort. Conversely, the greater the time interval during which you pass over the bump, the smaller the force you experience. When traveling at a slower velocity, you are passing over the speed bump for a longer time, making the force smaller. Therefore, speed bumps should be travelled over slowly in order to avoid a discomfortably large force. 

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If the speed bump is small enough I find the opposite. At a slower speed the entire car is moved up and down over the speed bump, but if the car is moving faster the shocks take all that movement away because it is a much faster action. But yes if the car had no suspension the slower way is better.

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