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Force on drivers in a collision between a truck and a car

Most of us know intuitively that in a head-on collision between a large dump truck and a subcompact car, you are better off being in the truck than in the car. Why? Many people imagine that the collision force exerted on the car is much greater than that experienced by the truck. To substantiate this view, they point out that the car is crushed, whereas the truck in only dented. This idea of unequal forces, of course, is false. Newton's third law tells us that both objects experience forces of the same magnitude. The truck suffers less damage because it is made of stronger metal. What about the two drivers? Do they experience the same forces? To answer this question, suppose each vehicle is initially moving at 7.0 m/s and they undergo a perfectly inelastic head-on collision. Each driver has mass 100.0 kg. Including the drivers, the total vehicle masses are 820 kg for the car and 4020 kg for the truck.
If the collision time is 0.080 s, what force does the seatbelt exert on the truck driver?

What average force does the seatbelt exert on the car driver?

(solve in Newtons)

Solution Preview

You can solve this problem using conservation of momentum. You can use conservation of momentum to find the speed of the car and the truck after the collision (after the inelastic collision they move together at the same speed). The final speed minus the initial speed divided by the ...

Solution Summary

A detailed solution is given.