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Roller Coaster

  1. Jul 5, 2010 #1
    Why do we feel terrified in roller coasters, especially when we sit in the first car in the edge?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 5, 2010 #2
    I don't really think this is the place to put this question, but i might as well answer anyway.

    There are multiple reasons why we find roller coasters scary. Along with the fact they go really fast and can be quite high up (which scares people in itself) adding onto this roller coasters scare us due to a lack of control over the situation, the knowledge that you can't stop the roller coaster from rapidly throwing you about has quite a powerful effect on the mind of an individual.
  4. Jul 5, 2010 #3
    I want some reason related to physics in this.

    Sorry I am a new user. I'll take care from next time

    Thanks for replying
  5. Jul 5, 2010 #4


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    There is no direct relation to physics. It's a purely psychological effect.

    Personally, I feel rather relaxed in a roller coaster. Except the wooden ones. They hurt my back. Hard to relax because of that.
  6. Jul 5, 2010 #5

    jack action

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    Gold Member

    What you are feeling in a roller coaster and provoke an effect on you is the acceleration. The acceleration when going downhill, but even more the lateral acceleration when you are entering a curve or going upside down.

    Acceleration means that your body is changing its speed and/or its direction. Normally your brain is supposed to control that and the fact that something else is controlling your body's position (especially so violently) can be interpreted as a sign of danger by your brain, thus creating fear.

    If it is scarier in the first car, it is mostly because in the other cars, your brain can expect what will happen by seeing what happened to the cars in front of you. In the first car, your brain have more difficulties determining the acceleration you will be subjected to, making the experience more frightening.
  7. Jul 6, 2010 #6
    Thanks everyone for replying. I agree it depends on an individual, but I was searching why the roller coaters accelerate the manner that causes the ride in the roller coaster frightening or thrilling. Finally I have got it,
    As the cars move over the edge.. The first car is pulled down with 'mg' where m is the mass of the front car+people in it. However, the remaining cars are still attached to the first car and they exert a tension 'T' on the first car which will in the opposite direction to that of its velocity. But, when the last car crosses over the edge, the people in it experience the greatest acceleration as there is no force trying to pull it backwards. Hence, the answer.

    Some one please tell where to post this kinds of questions?
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