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I Name of the forces caused while driving a car

  1. Apr 11, 2016 #1
    Is there a name or phenomenon of the feelings the passenger gets that the driver does not?
    Example: A driver of a car feels that they are driving smooth and comfortable, yet the passenger feels like they have to hold on to the door handle and feels that the ride is rough.
    If the two folks in the car reverse roles, the same holds true.

    Is this a physics item, or more psychological?

    I would imagine that a person will get used to the speeds and forces in time, causing them to feel "numb" to the forces, in medicine the is called "tolerance". Would that be called the same with forces that we become "numb" to? Or is there another name?

    This may explain why we feel that going the speed limit for experienced drivers seems so dull and slow, causing us to speed up to what "feels" better for them.

    This is for a project I am doing in attempt to explain why we feel the need to go faster than the speed limit and the risks that accompany it, while having a false sense of control. ( other than the thrill seekers looking for the rush )

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 11, 2016 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF.

    It's probably a psychological issue related to control over your circumstances. I don't know the technical name for it, nor do I have peer-reviewed references on it. But I'm sure others here will be able to supply those.
  4. Apr 11, 2016 #3


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    The driver has a steering wheel to hold on to, the passenger doesn't. Depending on the area, many people tend to drive a bit over the speed limit, about 5 mph (8kph) or so. I live in a urban area in California and the morning commuters tend to drive the fastest on the freeway a bit less than 10 mph (16 kph) over the speed limit. It's basically the threshold for getting a ticket for speeding.
  5. Apr 11, 2016 #4
    I think it is psychological and is about trust.
    The passenger's safety and possibly their survival is completely in the hands of another person,
    So the relationship between the driver and the passenger makes a big difference.
  6. Apr 11, 2016 #5
    I don't know of a technical name for the phenomenon, but I do know the feelings stem from lack of control and not knowing what's coming next. The driver has control and knows in advance what inertial changes are coming up. Most passengers like smoothness and consistency.
  7. Apr 12, 2016 #6
    A passenger can get annoyed at the driver for going to slow and letting everyone pass them, just as much as when the driver is going too much over the speed limit for the passengers comfort.

    Maybe the term "back seat driver" syndrome encompasses the passenger feeling whether he/she is vocal or not.

    Speed limits are mostly arbitrarily set anyways for a lot of roads anyways in a lot of circumstances.
    Why is it 100 kph on a highway, and not 110 kph, or 90 kph? ( 65 mph, 70 or 55 mph )?
    Going with the traffic flow, and that can involve speeding, can be more safe for all cars on the road, which is you, the cars ahead and the cars behind.
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