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4. Physics and Natural Laws

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2. Gravity

Gravity is the force that pulls all objects towards the center of the earth. Gravity also affects your speed of travel when going uphill and downhill because of the change in gravitational pull as you move towards, or away from, the center of the earth.

Traction is the result of friction between the road and your tires caused by the weight (gravity effect) of the car pushing the tires to the road due to gravity. Traction is necessary for you to steer your car.

When you are driving uphill, the force of gravity is working against you to slow you down and you may need to accelerate or change to a lower gear to maintain your speed.

When you drive downhill, the reverse is true. Gravity will cause you to go faster and increase your stopping distance. You may need to shift to a lower gear or smoothly apply your brakes to slow to a safe speed and control your vehicle.

When you leave a vehicle parked on an incline, gravity works to pull your vehicle downhill.

To keep your vehicle from rolling away, you should leave your vehicle in a low gear or in "Park" if it has an automatic transmission. You should always engage your parking brake and you may even need to block your wheels by placing an object in front or behind of the tires.

Just in case your parking brake fails, you should always turn the front wheels of your vehicle so that it will not roll into the traffic lane. The way you should turn your wheels depends on whether you are parked facing uphill or downhill and whether or not there is a curb.

If you are parking facing downhill, you should always turn your front wheels towards the curb or side of the road.

If you are parking facing uphill and there is a curb, you should turn your front wheels towards the middle of the road and allow the vehicle to roll back against the curb. If you are parking facing uphill and this is not a curb, you should turn your wheels toward the side of the road.

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


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  2. Gravity:


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


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  4. Centrifugal force:


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


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