Empirical Testing of Vehicular Rotational Motion
Vehicles often rotate during traffic collisions due to impact forces or excessive steering maneuvers. In analyzing these situations, accident reconstructionists need to apply accurate deceleration rates for vehicles that are both rotating and translating to a final resting position. Determining a proper rate of deceleration is a challenging but critical step in calculating energy or momentum-based solutions for analytical purposes. In this research, multiple empirical tests were performed using an instrumented vehicle that was subjected to induced rotational maneuvers. A Ford Crown Victoria passenger car was equipped with a modified brake system where selected wheels could be isolated. The tests were performed on a dry asphalt surface at speeds of approximately 50 mph. In each of the tests, the vehicle rotated approximately 180 degrees with the wheels on one side being completely locked.