Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Learning About Friction

A couple of weeks ago I had the "opportunity" to teach my 6 year old about friction through a real world hands on example.  Why is 'opportunity' in quotes?  Well, you're about to find out.  I took my daughter to soccer practice at an indoor facility.  The parking lot is down a steep hill.  I didn't think anything about the steepness of the hill as I descended in the car.  There was a bit of ice and snow on the road, but it didn't appear to be too much.

After soccer practice we headed back outside and discovered that it had snowed very lightly while we were inside.  Given the outside air temperatures, the snow and melted and slightly frozen on road, provided a much lower surface friction between the road and car tires.  I could tell it was slippery when we walked down to the car.  The parking lot has a back exit, but it is also up a hill and curved, so there was no chance getting up that hill in my small sedan.  The only option was to exit out the same driveway I entered in.  The first attempt got me halfway up the hill before my tires started to spin.  I backed up and got a moving start and almost made it up the hill, but just as I was near the top, another car pulled in and I had to hit the brakes.  Big mistake.  Once I tried to move, the tires just spun.  Had to back all the way back down and get another running start.  This time no car appeared, but even with the running start my tires were spinning near the top.  I was seriously afraid we weren't going to make it.  We made it, but just barely!

Now I'll admit that my tires are a bit worn and I really need new ones.  That combined with the steepness of the hill and the perfect air temperatures made it such that we almost had to call my wife to come get us!  The whole time my 6 year old is in the back thinking the whole thing was funny!  Little brat!  LOL!  Here I am all nervous and sweating trying to figure out how to get out of this parking lot and she's in the back smiling and laughing.  Sheesh!  :-)

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