Browse Publications Technical Papers 2005-01-1189
2005-04-11

Validation of the Circular Trajectory Assumption in Critical Speed 2005-01-1189

The critical speed model is a tool used by accident reconstructionists to determine vehicle speeds. One assumption implicit in the model is that when in a critical speed yaw, the vehicle's center of mass travels in a circular arc. The validity of this assumption was investigated by comparing the results obtained by manually measuring the tire marks, assuming them parallel to the center of mass path, and fitting a polynomial. The results indicate that the assumption of a circular path is reasonably accurate.

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