Energy and Major Diversion in Accident Reconstruction
Special methods of momentum-based accident reconstruction often are required when path diversions are major, that is, in excess of about 45°. An energy-based component is well known to be required for the maximal path diversion of 180″; with parallel unknowns the two momentum equations become identical, so that an independent equation based on the observed damage is required. Also-as we demonstrated in a previous paper-in intersection impacts, even with modest path diversions, momentum loss to earth during impact, while classically neglected, appreciably affects the inferred momentum of approach. The present study shows further that, with major diversion and brief travel to rest, conventional neglect of travel during impact may greatly distort the assigned post-impact travel direction and/or distance and, in consequence, the momentum solution.