Science
Physics

# Why does a car traveling at constant speed can accelerate while a car at constant velocity connot?

###### Answered 2011-09-12 05:14:37

The question is inherantly flawed.

A car traveling at a constant speed cannot accelerate, if it could it's speed would not be constant.

"Constant speed" means that speed is not increasing or decreasing but remain consistent over time. For example, if you cover 10 feet during each second, your speed is constant.

"Constant velocity" implies constant speed, but it has an additional constraint: you can't change your direction. If you travel constantly at 10 feet per second in a straight line, then your speed is constant and your velocity is constant. But if you travel constantly at 10 feet per second in a wiggly line (or a circle, or anything not straight), then your speed is constant but your velocity is NOT constant. If you travel at a constant speed but change direction, velocity is changed. Or if you travel in the same direction but change the speed, velocity is changed.

Average speed is is easier: distance/time

So, your question should read: Why can a car traveling at an average speed accelerate, but a car traveling at constant speed cannot?

Or

Why am I asking the wrong questions?

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