Centripetal force is a non-inertial force perpendicular to the velocity vector and points towards the center of a curvilinear trajectory, as in speed bumps and depressions.

In both bumps and depressions, the centripetal force points toward the center of the curves.

Centripetal force is present in our daily lives on several occasions. This type of force is responsible for changing the velocity vector’s direction. As the velocity and centripetal force vectors are perpendicular to each other, this type of force cannot modify the body’s velocity. Check in this article the behavior of the centripetal force in situations where a piece of furniture is on spines and depressions.

Speed Bumps

Speed ​​humps like speed bumps San Francisco for example are bumps found on stretches where you want drivers to slow down. When passing over a speed bump, the force of reaction to compression (normal force) exerted by the ground becomes more intense, increasing its influence on the suspension of the vehicles, being able to damage it over time.

Analyzing the figure above, we can notice the action of two forces that act on the vehicle: normal force, weight force, and its resultant: the centripetal force. Centripetal force results from the difference between normal and weight forces and must always point to the center of curvature. Taking the direction of the centripetal force as positive, in this case, it can be calculated using the following expression:

The last equation shown above makes it possible to see that the normal force on a speed bump is greater than the normal force exerted on a vehicle traveling in a horizontal plane, that is, without any inclination. In the first case, the magnitude of the normal force is given by the weight of the vehicle plus the magnitude of the centripetal force. In summary, a passenger inside the vehicle under these conditions would have the sensation of being pressed against the bottom of his seat due to the increase in normal force.


Have you ever felt butterflies when the vehicle enters a steep descent? This sensation comes from the inertia of our internal organs, which tend to remain at rest or to move in a straight line with constant speed. When entering terrain with large holes or depressions, the force exerted by the ground on the vehicle tends to be smaller due to the direction and direction of the resulting centripetal force.