Why It’s So Easy to Flip a Car
When you purchase a vehicle, you often purchase one that is going to withstand the test of time and is also safe on the road. What you probably don’t focus on is if the vehicle can easily be flipped should you get hit. That’s what we are discussing and the reason a car can be flipped so easily during a car accident comes down to one thing: physics.
Vehicle Motion and Mass
The ease by which the average driver can flip his car while driving down the road is a very real and practical lesson in physics, as many law offices know.
A moving vehicle involves motion and mass. The car is the heavy mass. Motion is the movement of the car in a given direction.
When driving normally, we control the motion and mass by steering the car, accelerating and braking. But physics are still in play, and we feel this as our bodies press against the seat belt when braking, or as we feel ourselves get pushed back as we speed up.
This is the motion effect of our mass still traveling at a different speed than that of the car. Eventually we get in sync and enjoy the ride, but for a moment, our physics is different than the car’s.
How Physics Plays a Role in Cars Being Flipped During an Accident
When mass and speed work together, they can develop a force that is greater than the brakes ability to slow the car down and make a directional change.
Then, add in the skill of the driver, or lack thereof, the cars weight, speed, and time given to change direction and you have the perfect recipe for the cars weight taking over and keeping the vehicle moving in the original direction.
And now, you have a recipe for disaster! Why? Well the tires follow the direction of the steering wheel. If the turn is too sharp or too fast, it creates what is known as a pivot point, where the momentum of the cars mass wants to go in one direction and the tires are being forced to another.
To compensate, the cars body leans. Once this happens far enough, the cars weight overcomes the tires traction and the cars original momentum takes over causing the car to flip. If the driver is lucky enough, the car will not flip into ongoing traffic and no one will be hurt. But in the event that this is not reality, the driver will likely need medical help and a car accident lawyer on their side.