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Q & A: Throwing something out of a car

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Most recent answer: 04/20/2010
Q:
When in a car, why is it that you or anything you drop does not fall backwards and when you throw something out of a car, it would seem to fly backwards?
- Kenneth (age 13)
Singapore
A:
It's simply a matter of air resistance.   Initially when you throw something out of the car it is traveling at the same speed as the car.  However the air outside the car is traveling in the opposite direction with respect to the car.   Since there is an air resistance force the object will tend to move backward with respect to the car.   If you have ever stuck you hand out of an open car window, you probably have felt this force.

LeeH

(published on 04/20/2010)

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