Collision

The Physics of Car Crashes—and Why You Should Avoid Them

Two cars in crash test
“It’s not the fall that kills you; it’s the sudden stop at the end.”
― Douglas Adams

That quip by famed satirist and author of the 5-book “trilogy” The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy may be moderately funny (all right, somewhat lame), but it also happens to be literally true. The scientific basis underlying this assertion can be expressed as a two-part logical equation, where…

  • “Vi” is your initial velocity
  • “t” is the total length of time of your fall
  • “a” is acceleration due to gravity as you fall
  • “Vf” is final velocity

…and where…

  • “m” is momentum
  • “ΔV” is change in velocity
  • “ΔT” is the time it takes to stop falling
  • “F” is force

Equation for falling and stopping

The first half of the equation denotes the fall (which is not fatal); the second half denotes the sudden stop (which most assuredly will be). Put another way, it’s not gravity you have to worry about, but Force.

In Case of Collision… [Infographic]

Fender Bender

You may be surprised, if not shocked. You may even be sore or slightly injured. And you most certainly will be frazzled. In short, after an automobile collision, thinking straight is the last thing on your mind. Which is the reason for today’s blog. We’re here to help.

No one ever expects to be involved in a car crash. But however good a driver you think you are, that is no guarantee that someday it won’t happen to you. The imporant thing, then, is to be prepared for that eventuality. Always keep a first-aid kit in your vehicle, along with a cell phone, pen and paper, and a disposable camera (not to mention your driver’s license, car registration, and insurance card). Beyond that, there are a number of important steps you should take (and, in some cases, by law must take) after your vehicle has been involved in a collision.