Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving



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Impact is the product of two main factors, mass (or weight) and rate at which that mass decelerates.

In other words, how quickly, a body slows down after hitting another object.

This is where the crumple zones of a vehicle come into play, to increase the time that a vehicle cabin comes to a stop in an accident so that it is not such a sudden standstill.

The takeaway for us once again is speed that can be fatal and that we mostly have control over.

Aside from that, we can also look for options to reduce that impact such as angle of impact and resistance.

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Thinking Technical Impact

🛈 Factors affecting the impact of a vehicle in an accident

The impact of a vehicle in a collision or accident is determined by several factors, including:

  • The speed of the vehicle: The faster a vehicle is traveling at the time of impact, the greater the force of the impact will be.

  • The weight and size of the vehicle: Heavier and larger vehicles tend to cause more damage in collisions due to their greater mass and momentum.

  • The angle of the impact: The angle of the impact can affect the force and direction of the impact, as well as the way the vehicles involved in the collision move and interact.

  • The safety features of the vehicle: Vehicles with advanced safety features, such as airbags, crumple zones, and seat belts, can help to reduce the impact of a collision and protect the occupants of the vehicle.

  • The type of collision: Different types of collisions, such as head-on collisions, side impacts, and rear-end collisions, can have different impacts and levels of damage.

  • The surface on which the collision occurs: The surface on which the collision occurs, such as a paved road or a soft shoulder, can also affect the impact of the collision.

Overall, the impact of a vehicle in a collision is determined by a complex interaction of these and other factors. It's important for drivers to be aware of the factors that can contribute to the severity of a collision and to take steps to drive safely and avoid accidents whenever possible.

Is the force of impact at 60 mph double that at 30 mph?

No, the force of impact at 60 mph is not double that at 30 mph. The force of impact is directly proportional to the change in momentum during a collision, and momentum is the product of an object's mass and its velocity.

When the speed of an object doubles, its momentum also doubles. However, force is not solely dependent on momentum; it also depends on the duration of the collision. In most real-world scenarios, the duration of the collision is very short, so the force increases linearly with speed, not exponentially.

For example, if you have an object with a certain mass and it collides with a stationary object or surface, the force of impact will indeed be greater at 60 mph than at 30 mph. However, it will not be double the force because the relationship between force and speed is not linear.

If we assume that all other factors remain constant (e.g., the mass of the object, the nature of the collision, etc.), the force of impact will increase by a factor of four (not double) when the speed is doubled from 30 mph to 60 mph. This is because the momentum is doubled (due to the doubled speed), and force is proportional to momentum change.

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Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving