Street Survival



In Physics, force is defined as: 

"The push or pull on an object with mass causes it to change its velocity."

Force is an external agent capable of changing a body's state of rest or motion. It has a magnitude and a direction.

In general, unless it is an attempt to avoid a dangerous situation, we want to avoid extremes in forces in the directions outlined below.

🛈 Info:

Thinking Technical Force


  • Harsh accelerating which can cause the wheels to spin and lose traction and subsequent control. Also adds unnecessary stress on the engine and transmission.

  • Harsh braking which can cause the wheels to lock and induce a slide and loss of control.


  • Understeer - When turning too sharply for the speed of the vehicle, the front of the car will 'break away' as the front tires lose traction. Along with this you will lose steering control as well.

  • Oversteer - Similar to understeer, however in this case the rear of the vehicle 'breaks away' as the back tires lose grip.


  • This happens when a vehicle hits a speed bump or hump in the road at a high enough speed that one or more of the wheels lose, or lessen contact with the road surface. This could likely result in a slide or flipping of the vehicle.

  • When either hitting the incline of the bump or hump, or landing on the other side, the suspension could 'bottom out' and cause damage to the undercarriage or oil sump of the vehicle. Look for telltale signs in deep gouging's or grooves in the road surface.

🛈 Forces acting on a vehicle in motion

Several forces act on a vehicle while it is in motion, including:

  • Gravity: The force of gravity acts on the vehicle, pulling it down towards the ground.

  • Friction: Friction is the force that opposes the motion of the vehicle as it interacts with the road surface.

  • Air resistance: Air resistance, also known as drag, is the force that opposes the motion of the vehicle as it moves through the air.

  • Centripetal force: Centripetal force is the force that acts on a vehicle when it is turning, pulling it towards the center of the turn.

  • Inertial force: Inertial force is the force that opposes changes in the motion of the vehicle.

  • Acceleration and braking forces: These forces are generated by the vehicle's engine and braking system, respectively, and cause the vehicle to either speed up or slow down.

The balance of these forces determines the motion and behavior of the vehicle, and understanding them is essential for safe and efficient driving.

Drivers must take into account these forces and adjust their driving accordingly, such as reducing speed when encountering curves or slippery road conditions, or using the brakes and accelerator smoothly to avoid sudden changes in velocity.

Additionally, maintaining the vehicle in good condition, including the tires, brakes, and suspension system, can help ensure that these forces are properly managed while driving.

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