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Road Safety: Intersections Essay

1157 words - 5 pages

Introduction
In modern days, society is entrusted with the responsibility of using one of the most accessible pieces of potentially dangerous pieces of machinery. With the rates of injuries and fatalities caused by vehicles continuously increasing, it has become the role of engineers to evaluate and improve the measures taken to prevent further damage. One major aspect of road safety is intersections, where the possibility of collisions is very high. 20% of all accidents occur within 100m intersections (K.W Ogden, 2001). The intersection that will be discussed in this report is the Broadwater Rd and Newnham Rd intersection at Wishart. This intersection is subjected to steep inclines and in ...view middle of the document...

Friction
The friction between tyres and the road is a crucial aspect of braking. In relation to Newton’s 1st Law, friction is, most often, the unbalanced force which causes change in motion by allowing vehicles to brake (D. Madden, 2007). It will be assumed in further discussion that friction is the only resistance force acting on vehicles to allow negative acceleration. Also, other resistance forces such as air resistance will be neglected. The process of braking begins with applying force to the brake pedal, eventuating to brake pads in the front wheels generating friction with the rotor and brake shoes in the rear wheels generating friction with the drum (How Car Brake Works, 2012). As friction opposes motion, the spinning components are brought to rest by converting kinetic energy to heat energy. The pressure with which the brake pads and shoes act, dictate whether the vehicle negatively accelerates due to static or sliding friction. When different sections of the wheel are in contact with the road, it is regarded as static friction (Logbook pg2). Conversely, if only one section of the wheel is in contact with the road, it is regarded as sliding friction. The coefficient of friction increase with the resistance of the surfaces to move past each other, thus; the coefficient of sliding friction is less than that of static friction (Townsend, 2002). This drop in the friction acting against the motion of the vehicle locks its brakes, making it very difficult for the driver to control the vehicle. Therefore, to prevent this from happening, the anti-locking brake system is a standard safety feature in most vehicles (Royal Automobile Club of Victoria, 2010). It will also be assumed that all vehicles have this safety feature.
Grade
Another issue which can be considered as a condition of the road is grade. According to Dr.Dan, the maximum grade permitted in Australia is 8%. The grade of Newnham Rd can be estimated as 5% since the road is steep at this intersection. Graphs 1 and 2 clearly show that the grade of a road has a significant impact on the stopping distance of vehicles at an intersection. As the grade of a road increases, its angle of inclination increases resulting in a larger value of mgSinθ. MgSinθ is component force of gravity parallel to the incline that works with the applied braking force in order to reduce the vehicle’s speed. Therefore, it can be deduced from Graph 1 that, when travelling up an incline, the stopping distance of a vehicle is inversely proportional to the steepness of the road....

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