Newton’s Laws of Motion and Car Physics

Written by Carly Hallman

Sir Isaac Newton is perhaps most well-known for his three laws of motion. These three laws of motion are part of the field of physics, a type of science that people don’t often think about in their everyday lives. But Newton’s laws are very important, especially when it comes to the creation and safety of new cars. Newton’s laws of motion deal with how objects move when some sort of force is used on them. Each of these laws must be considered to ensure that cars are made in a manner that they can move efficiently while on the road (the first law), can speed up properly (using the formula in Newton’s Second Law), and are able to stop quickly when the brakes are used (the third law). Without understanding these laws of motion, it would be very hard to create and maintain vehicles.

First Law of Motion

  • Newton’s First Law (video): Watch this video to learn the basics about Newton’s First Law of Motion.
  • Newton’s First Law: Inertia: Check out this page to learn more about inertia and how it works.
  • Newton’s First Law of Motion and Galileo: Although Sir Isaac Newton is most commonly associated with the laws of motion, it was actually Galileo who first came up with the idea of inertia. This fact is discussed here.
  • First Law: Here, Newton’s First Law is described in detail and a video is featured to help readers understand the basics of the law.
  • Laws of Motion: The experts at NASA have created this helpful guided tour that explains Newton’s First Law of Motion in relation to rockets and airplanes.
  • The First Law of Motion: The National Air and Space Museum provides information on Newton’s First Law of Motion here.
  • Newton’s First Law of Motion (PDF): Look at this worksheet to learn more about how forces make things move or cancel each other out.

Second Law of Motion

Third Law of Motion

  • Newton’s Third Law: This guide answers many questions relating to Newton’s Third Law of Motion.
  • Newton’s Laws Simplified: Here, Newton’s Third Law (along with the first and second) is explained in simple terms that are easy for people to understand.
  • Third Law: On this website, a quick definition of Newton’s Third Law is given along with an image that demonstrates this particular law of motion.
  • Action and Reaction: This page explains why there is a reaction to every action, as stated in Newton’s Third Law of Motion.
  • Newton’s Third Law (PDF): In this document, Newton’s Third Law is explained with pictures and simple diagrams.
  • Newton’s Third Law and Momentum (PDF): This worksheet gives detailed information about Newton’s Third Law and momentum.
  • Mass and Newton’s Law of Motion: Millersville University provides information about Newton’s Third Law of Motion and also instructions to perform an experiment with the third law.

More Learning

  • Laws of Motion: Read a simple breakdown of Newton’s laws of motion on this page.
  • Circus Physics: Newton’s Laws: The video on this website takes a look at Newton’s laws of motion in a fun way.
  • Newton’s Laws of Motion Interactive: Check out this page to learn about Newton’s laws.
  • Newton’s Third Law Activity: The activity featured here is a simple way to show the principles of Newton’s Third Law.
  • Newton’s Law Experiment: This experiment allows those performing or watching it to understand Newton’s Second Law.
  • Newton’s Laws Project (PDF): In this document, instructions to create a project based on Newton’s laws of motion are featured.
  • Virtual Lab: Featured here is a virtual lab that allows users to experiment with Newton’s Second Law of Motion.
  • Newton’s Law and Rockets (PDF): In this document, activities and lessons for middle-school students on Newton’s laws of motion and rockets are provided.
  • Physics Experiment (PDF): Here, a detailed experiment using several of Newton’s Laws is featured.
  • Laws of Motion: On this website, there is a large collection of activities and information for teachers regarding the laws of motion.