The Physics Of Driving On Highways Safely

Image Credit

You want to get in the other lane, that sounds simple enough right? Something so basic wouldn’t be a problem if you weren’t going many tens of miles per hour. Think about the tremendous forces that are being moved from one part of the road, to another. Generally, road cars that are for the mass market weight around 1.3 to 1.5 tons. Accelerated and going between 40 – 70 mph, this brings to light Einstein’s e=mc2 equation. This mass moving at a fast pace and laterally moving from side to side, put a lot of dangerous potentials to you. The weight of the car is being lifted up by the speed and indeed the air traveling underneath the car. The center of gravity is forced up which makes you unstable and on top of this, you’re also being pushed back by the air you’re cutting through. Inevitably, this causes vortexes to spiral over the top of your car and shake you when you turn. That’s why Formula One cars have had shark fin stabilizers in the past. How could you make this seemingly simple maneuvers less fraught with dangers for yourself?

Passing larger vehicles

Large trucks and 18-wheeler freight haulers are biggest vehicles on the road. They weigh several tons and their physics are very different to the average car on the highway. Notice that when you drive up alongside a heavy and long vehicle that you are often hit by a gust of wind that pushes you away from them? This is when the fast-moving air gets trapped between your vehicle and the heavier and taller vehicle. The wind pushes you away as pressure builds. So next time you are trying to pass a large vehicle on the highway you can do two things. Leave plenty of room between you two so you’ve not pushed away, and thus the car can stay more stable, or you can ever so slightly turn into the lane of the truck and then immediately straighten up as you’re alongside or past it.

Judging bumper distances

The most angering maneuver anyone can pull on the highway is cutting someone off at high speed. You’re put into danger so quickly and you have very little time to react and save yourself from harm. People who cannot judge bumper distances are more likely to clip the front or back of your car, as they’re switching lanes. This can cause you to tailspin and potentially be seriously hurt in an accident. It’s little wonder then that auto accident attorney demands are needed when you have to pay off medical bills and pay for repairs of your car. You have every right to chase up the driver that did this to you and since they cut into your lane, they’re easily able found to be in the wrong. Bear in mind that when you’re traveling at a high speed and you change your direction laterally, the tyres lose their grip and you’re already unstable. This is why everyone needs to take their time when switching, making sure they leave more than enough distance between the car in front or behind.

It normally catches people off and if it’s your first time passing an 18-wheeler closely, you might panic. But if you understand the basic physics of the wind and pressure, you can take the necessary precautions. Switching lanes isn’t inherently simple, it requires timing, judgment and lateral steering skill.

Safe and Sound: 5 Industrial Safety Pieces of Equipment You Should Be Using at All Times

Next Story »

4 Ways To Ruin Your Business Reputation