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Safety features used in vehicles to reduce negative effects of Inertia Introduction Newtons First law of Motion states that

a body will remain at rest or continue moving with a constant velocity unless external forces act on it. Thus, inertia is the tendency of an object to remain at rest or if moving, to continue its motion in a straight line unless it is acted upon by an external force. This means that, an object has the tendency to resist change or has reluctance to change. Objects are reluctant to move when they are at rest and they are also reluctant to stop when they are moving. Therefore in vehicles when a brake paddle is pressed suddenly to stop, the passengers in this fast moving vehicle will not stop automatically as they have the innate ability to resist any change in motion and this may cause harm to the passengers. Therefore, in this report I will discuss in detail the safety features installed in vehicles to reduce thees negative effects of inertia. Every onject has inertia From this law, it is a known fact that every object has inertia(P1).The law of Inertia brings some negative effects primarily during collision of vehicles. The passengers in a vehicle will continue to move forward when the vehicle stops duddenly in an accident. There is no external force to stop the passengers and thus causes them to jerk forward. This abrupt stop will send the passengers flying forward with a force greater than their own body weight. If there are no safety features adopted by the vehicle, the driver as well as the passengers will suffer serious injuries particularly to their head. This law of inertia can also be demonstrated by the objects on a car seat. When the car moving fast around a bend the objects will slide across the seat as the inertia of the object causes them to continue moving in a straight line. The larger the mass of an object, the larger is its inertia Every object has mass and the mass of an object is the amount of matter contained in the object. Related to the law of inertia, the larger the mass of an object, the larger is its inertia(P2). To explain this, it is easier to push a stationary car compared to a stationary lorry as the mass of the car is smaller than that of the lorry.The same applies to pushing a trolley. It is easier to push an empty trolley compared to a trolley that is loaded with goods. Therefore it is clear that Inertia does bring some negative effects when travelling in vehicles. For this reason, all vehicles are now equipped with safety features to reduce these negative effects. The first safety feature that a vehicle should have to prevent injuries to passengers is the compulsory use of seat belts.(P3) In Malaysia itself, it has been made mandatory for all cars to be equipped with safety belts for the front and back seats and undoubtedly is to prevent numerous fatalities. The basic concept of a seat belt is very simple; it essentially stops you being thrown forward through the windscreen or smashing onto the dashboard when the car comes to a sudden halt in the event of an accident or emergency stop. Seat belts are also made from material that stretches a little in order to make the stop not quite so abrupt. However, they can only work, if people take it upon themselves to use them. It is currently estimated that ten percent of motorists still fail to buckle up and so risk their lives every time they get behind the wheel. The next safety device that has surfaced is the airbags(P4). The basic idea of an airbag is to slow the speed of the individual down to zero in an instant with as little damage as possible to the body. There is very little time from the moment the car crashes, to when the head is likely to impact upon the dashboard, so the airbag has to deploy within a fraction of a second. The force required to inflate an airbag is equal to that created when driving into a solid object. When such a force occurs, a sensor within the car is activated, a chemical reaction occurs and nitrogen gas causes the bag to inflate. This whole process takes place in less than a second and really can mean the difference between life and death.

The head rests(P5) are another important feature which is created to prevent neck injury when a vehicle is hit from behind. When a vehicle is hit from behind, the car tends to accelerate. Due to inertia, the passengers will be thrown backwards as they possess the ability to resist change in velocity. The head rest will cushion this impact. Without the presence of head rest, the passengers of cars may experience whiplash injury which symptoms include neck pain from mild muscle strain or minor tearing of muscles and/or ligaments. In more severe cases, this type of neck injury may include nerve damage, disc damage, and in the most severe cases ruptures of ligaments in the neck and fractures of the neck bones. The next safety feature is all vehicles especially large vehicles such as buses and lorries have speed limit (P6) . Due to relationship between inertia and mass, it is quite difficult to stop a moving lorry. This can be seen by the longer distance that is required to stop the lorry when the brake has been applied compared to small vehicles. If they move at a high speed it is even more difficult to be stopped. This accounts for the reason to have a speed limit on the road where a lower speed limit is imposed on heavy vehicles to lessen the effect of inertia. In Malaysia, the approved speed limit for them is 90 km/hour or 60 miles/ hour. In addition, the traffic rules have imposed regulation for the large vehicles to have maximum load (P7) of passengers and goods. For example, a bus is normally allowed to carry only 40 passengers while a capacity for a taxi is 4 passengers. This is in line with the relation between mass and inertia. As we know it is easier to push a car from a stationary position compared to a lorry as the mass of the car is smaller than that of a lorry. Similarly, it is easier to stop a moving car than a lorry. This can be seen by the longer distance that is required to stop the lorry when the brake has been applied compared to the car. As the inertia of an object is its tendency to resist change, the larger the mass of an object, the larger is its inertia. Thus based on this law, to protect passengers and large vehicle users, heavy vehicles have been set to have maximum loads to ensure that inertia of these vehicles does not become too large which can impose greater danger to the passengers. In conclusion, we have seen how the principle of inertia has imposed certain dangers to vehicle users. Thus engineers and car makers have to install safety devices in vehicles like seat belts, airbags and head rests to reduce the effects of inertia which in turn able to reduce fatalities in accidents. Reported by, ROGAYAH BINTI HARON