# What should I be thinking about to solve Uniform Motion Problems?

• Raizy
In summary: However, I would post it in Introductory Physics because it is more introductory and geared towards students who have not taken precalculus.
Raizy

## Homework Statement

A helicopter traveling 130 mph overtakes a speeding car traveling 80 mph. The car had a 0.5-hour head start. How far from the starting point does the helicopter overtake the car?

The answer is 104 miles from the starting point.

## Homework Equations

No equations were given, but the book told me to use charts similar to this:

......Rate...*...Time...=Distance (d)
Helicopter...70...t...= 70t
Plane....500...2-t...= 500(2-t)

## The Attempt at a Solution

I ended up figuring it out, but world problems like these are still very fuzzy for me. My first attempt went something like this:

Helicopter: 130 * ___ = ___
Car:...80 * 0.5 = 40 mi

I just don't know what to think properly...

You might say x = vt + .5a(t^2), correct?
Use this equation to describe the motion of both the car and the helicopter and maybe you'll be able to figure out how to solve it on your own In the case of the car, use (t+0.5).
Hint: Let t remain unknown so you can set the equations to equal each other.
Also, make sure you post this next time in Introductory Physics, not precalculus mathematics.

Last edited:
Mk said:
You might say x = vt + .5a(t^2), correct?
Use this equation to describe the motion of both the car and the helicopter and maybe you'll be able to figure out how to solve it on your own In the case of the car, use (t+0.5).
Hint: Let t remain unknown so you can set the equations to equal each other.
Also, make sure you post this next time in Introductory Physics, not precalculus mathematics.

Hey, thanks for the hint and sorry for the rush of a post. I didn't bother to read the forum descriptions...

And back to the question, that's what always got me stuck. I did found out how you had to add the heli's time onto the car, but I always got stuck on how to write the equation.

Mk said:
You might say x = vt + .5a(t^2), correct?
No, not at all. As stated in title, this is uniform motion, so the .5 at^2 term is not relevant in this problem.
Mk said:
Use this equation to describe the motion of both the car and the helicopter and maybe you'll be able to figure out how to solve it on your own In the case of the car, use (t+0.5).

Also, make sure you post this next time in Introductory Physics, not precalculus mathematics.
IMO, this problem could reasonably be posted in either place.

## 1. What is uniform motion?

Uniform motion is the type of motion where an object travels in a straight line at a constant speed. This means that the object covers equal distances in equal amounts of time.

## 2. How do I identify a uniform motion problem?

A uniform motion problem can be identified by looking at the given information. If the object is moving in a straight line and the speed is constant, then it is a uniform motion problem.

## 3. What should I include in my problem-solving process for uniform motion problems?

When solving a uniform motion problem, it is important to identify the unknown variables, such as distance, speed, or time. Then, use the formula d = rt to solve for the missing variable. It is also helpful to draw a diagram to visualize the problem.

## 4. Can I use the same formula for all uniform motion problems?

Yes, the formula d = rt can be used for all uniform motion problems, as long as the object is moving in a straight line at a constant speed.

## 5. What are some common mistakes to avoid when solving uniform motion problems?

Some common mistakes to avoid when solving uniform motion problems include using the wrong units, forgetting to convert units, and using the wrong formula. It is also important to pay attention to the direction of the motion, as it can affect the final answer.

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