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4. Physics and Natural Laws

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8. Kinetic Energy

Kinetic energy is the energy a body possesses because it is in motion. For example, the potential energy had by a book on a table is converted to kinetic energy (motion) when it falls. The book lying flat on the floor does not have this same kinetic energy.

As you increase your driving speed, both your body and your vehicle acquire kinetic energy which eventually must be:

  • absorbed by your brakes, engine compression forces, or other friction in a controlled stop
  • absorbed by your body, your vehicle's body, and the objects you hit if you are involved in a crash.
  • Kinetic energy is present in both the vehicle and you. If the vehicle stops suddenly, your kinetic energy will keep you moving forward, as shown in the top of the video.

    Have you ever played catch with a water balloon? Air bags treat your head as a water balloon, and, by slowly deflating, they "catch" your head, allowing it to move forward with slower speeds, and preventing impact with the steering wheel, as shown in the bottom of the video


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


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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. Gravity:


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


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