Doc Hudson: I’ll put it simple: if you’re going hard enough left, you’ll find yourself turning right.
Lightning McQueen: Oh, right. That makes perfect sense. Turn right to go left. Yes, thank you! Or should I say No, thank you, because in Opposite World, maybe that really means thank you.
In the famous movie Cars there is a scene about Hudson Hornet teaching McQueen how to race on a dirt track. Our session today was about exploring the science of turning corners and why this works in some cases.
Here are the scenes we watched.
McQueen failing to make the turn …
Hudson Hornet explaining what he needs to do and then showing it …
We started with the basics. A rotating object will have a tendency to continue in the same path.
This is the implication of Newton’s 1st law. Path of inertia.
Yes we can still turn a sharp corner while riding a car or a skateboard. Thanks to friction in our wheels. But, if there the corner is too sharp, we usually have banking to increase the friction.
In this case the dirt road doesn’t offer enough friction and there is no banking. So the car will tend to drift and spin.
The rear wheels will over rotate causing the car to spin. Happens when you turn on ice too. To compensate you need to turn the front wheels away from that spin and also ensure the back wheels are horizontal offering maximum friction. You steer into the turn.
You can see this in many car racing movies.