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The Reality of Speeding
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The Reality of Speeding

License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Every day, millions of Americans drive on freeways. Of those drivers, approximately 100,000 are given a ticket for speeding. In addition to the tickets, nearly 30,000 traffic fatalities occur each year.

Why It Matters

Credit: Flickr: John Liu
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8047705@N02/5560539738
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Going over the speed limit can result in fatal accidents [Figure2]

  • The time it takes you to get to a destination is based on average velocity, not instantaneous velocity.
  • While instantaneous speed is the car's speed at a particular instant in time, average speed is a measure of distance traveled over a period of time.
  • For someone who is running 5 minutes late to an appointment that is 30 minutes away at 65 mph, he would need to drive at an average speed of 78 mph. This means he would have to travel at a significantly higher velocity if accounting for realistic obstacles such as slower cars and stoplights.

Can You Apply It?

Using the information provided above, answer the following questions.

  1. Why is it unrealistic to think you will get to your destination on time if you are running late in the scenario described above?
  2. If your average velocity for the first half of a trip is 30 mph and 20 mph for the second half, what is your overall velocity?
  3. How much faster would someone reach their destination if they increased their average velocity from 50 mph to 60 mph on a 30 mile trip?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Flickr: John Liu; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8047705@N02/5560539738; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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