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Position and Displacement

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Driving Safely at Night
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Driving Safely at Night

Credit: Laura Guerin
Source: CK-12 Foundation
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Every year, thousands of individuals get into car accidents because they are overdriving their headlights. Overdriving your headlights is the practice of driving at a velocity that will not allow you to stop safely when a danger just enters your field of view. By overdriving your headlights, it becomes impossible to bring your vehicle to a complete stop before hitting the object in front of you.

News You Can Use

  • Overdriving is a result of the displacement of an object during deceleration. If you see an object that is 150 meters away, and you travel a distance of 153 meters while attempting to slow down, there will be a collision. 
  • The dangers of overdriving aren’t limited to only driving at night; fog, snow and even rain can limit the distance at which object will enter the drivers view.
  • By always driving at the appropriate speed for the given conditions, anyone operating a moving vehicle will be able to prevent a collision when a danger enters their field of view.

Can You Apply It?

Using the information provided above, answer the following questions.

  1. If you were in a car that has a velocity of 10.0 m/s and it took you 2 seconds to stop, what must your acceleration be? (Don't forget the correct sign)
  2. Using the information in the previous question, would you be able to stop in time if a tree fell 20 m in front of you?
  3. Name two other factors that must be taken into account when looking at the total displacement of a car coming to a stop.

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Laura Guerin; Source: CK-12 Foundation; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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