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Homework Help: A traffic accident with Newton's first law

  1. Sep 27, 2007 #1


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    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Consider this situation: A police officer arrives at the scene of an accident and finds a load of straw bales partly on the back of a pickup truck and partly on the hood of a Jaguar sedan. Both vehicles are facing in the same direction. The pickup is in front of the Jaguar. The truck driver claims that she was stopped at the stop sign when the Jag drove into the back of her truck. The Jaguar driver claims that he was stopped behind the pickup when the truck suddenly backed up. Given this information decide whether each statement is true or false.

    -The Jaguar could have driven into the pickup.
    -Regardless of fault, the apparent motion of the bales results from them seeking the natural state of rest.
    I-f the vehicles were both moving (truck in reverse and car forward), the pickup must have been moving faster.
    -These results are impossible. The bales would have fallen forward in this type of accident.
    - The Jaguar must have driven into the pickup.
    - There is not enough information to determine who is at fault.

    2. applicable information:

    An object at rest stays at rest, object in motion continues in motion unitl stopped by another net external force.

    3. The attempt at a solution

    1. true, if they were in the truck they would be pushed to the back and if it got hit, it would have spilled out.

    2. true, it was acted on by forces which made it spill out.

    3. True, the stop when hitting the Jaguar makes the straw fall out.

    4. False, If it fell forward the truck would have to hit something in front on it.

    5. true, If it hit it would cause them to spill out.

    6. False, there is enough information, circumstance and evidence.

    any help appreciated
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 27, 2007 #2


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    I think the second statement is meant to be an argument based on the theory of motion of Aristotle's. And as for number six, I don't think you determined who was at fault, nor can you.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2007
  4. Sep 27, 2007 #3
    Get two blocks. Books will do. Put something unstable on top the front book. Another book on edge will do. Slide the back one into the front one. Then slide the front one into the back one. Then bump them together. The answers will be obvious if you balance the unstable load so that it is free to fall onto the back book.
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