There is some practical advice that uses the laws of physics that every young driver should use. People can remember what it was like to drive for the first time. It was exciting to do something as grown-up as driving, but it also created a nervous feeling. The nervousness was a healthy respect for the risks involved in driving.

Advice To Young Drivers Using The Laws Of Physics


To quantify the risks, one can look at some concepts from high school physics.

One concept from science class is specified in the formula for energy, which is one half of the total mass times the velocity squared:

E = 1/2(m)(v squared )

where “m” is mass and “v” is velocity. That formula means that there is more destructive energy in a crash when “m” and “v” are large. High speed, the “v” in the formula, not only makes the car hard to stop, but the destructive energy in a crash has a factor of velocity squared! So, speed is the most dangerous component of driving. Also, the energy formula says that a crash would be worse when more people are involved. So, for the sake of all of the people in the car, slow down.

The braking distance is the velocity squared divided by the quantity: two times the gravity acceleration times the coefficient of friction:

D=( v squared)/(2gu)

where “v” is velocity, “g” is the acceleration due to gravity, and “u” is the coefficient of friction between the tires and the road. The first point to see is that speed greatly increases the stopping distance. The second thing to notice is that the condition of the road has an effect. The coefficient of friction for an average asphalt road is higher than the coefficient of friction when the road is wet. That makes sense when one realizes that water can fill in the rough surface of the road thereby making the surface smooth. When “u” is smaller, then the stopping distance is much longer. So, slow down and keep a larger than usual distance between cars when it rains.

Also, remember that there is reaction time between the time that an event such as a crash ahead, and the time that the driver presses the brakes. Poor reaction time greatly increases stopping distance. So, being alert while driving is also essential while driving. That means that the driver should not be distracted from the events on the road. And that means keeping the chatting to a minimum. Also, pull over to use a cell phone.

Another piece of advice to young drivers using a law of physics is the formula that says what the maximum velocity that a car can take around a curve without skidding:

Vmax= square root of ( ugr )

where “r” is the radius of the curve and “u” is the coefficient of static friction. Notice from the equation that a sharp curve ( small radius ) has a smaller safe velocity than a wider curve. That makes sense from experience, but it benefits to say, slow down when going around corners. In fact, one should slow down so much that one can accelerate slightly when coming out of the curve without feeling an outward tug.

So, there are a lot of things that a new driver needs realize. One cannot talk one’s way out of the laws of physics. Hopefully, drivers’ education and practice help the student driver to gauge what safe speeds are on the roads. This is just some practical advice to young drivers using the laws of physics.

Article written thanks to the research done by BBQ Papers and Drivers Education USA