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4. Physics and Natural Laws

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17. Force of Impact (FOI)

In a crash:

  • the kinetic energy of your vehicle and body must be dissipated
  • the forces needed to dissipate this energy are lower if the time period over which your vehicle moves during the crash is longer
  • if the car suddenly stops, the forces will be very high.

  • The forces that stop your car during a crash will be greatest if you have a head-on collision with another vehicle or large immovable object, such as a bridge abutment, wall, or a tree, because the momentum and kinetic energy of your car must be absorbed almost instantaneously.

    If two vehicles are involved in a collision moving at the same rate of speed, the vehicle that weighs less will take the greater impact. The larger and heavier the vehicle, the greater the energy and momentum. The smaller and lighter vehicle will have greater deceleration and may even be pushed in the reverse direction of travel.


    In some cases the smaller and lighter vehicle may be crushed as in:

  • a semi-truck against a sedan and
  • a train against a semi-truck

  • The impact of a train against a vehicle can be compared to the impact of a vehicle on an aluminum can.

    You can reduce the forces on you and your car during an unavoidable crash if you are able to redirect your path toward objects that will cause your car to stop over a greater distance, such as:

  • bushes rather than trees
  • snow
  • soft dirt
  • sand barrels placed in front of freeway abutments



  • Lesson Summary


      

    Lesson 4 Quiz


    You will now answer 5 questions to test what you learned during this lesson. You must answer all questions correctly to receive completion credit for this lesson. You may answer the questions as many times as necessary to get them right.

    You should review the lesson material if you don't do well on the quiz.

    1. Gravity:


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    2. Centrifugal force:


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    3. The best way to maximize the traction of your tires is to:


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    4. According to the formula for stopping distance, how many feet will it take you to stop, from 60 mph?


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    5. The primary factor in decreasing the Kinetic Energy of an object is to:


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