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Computation of run-off-road vehicle speed from terrain tracks in forensic investigations

László Máthé, Péter Kiss, Lajos Laib, György Pillinger
Journal of Terramechanics, Available online 18 September 2012, ISSN 0022-4898, 10.1016/j.jterra.2012.08.002.
Abstract: Analysis of a “run-off” accident requires a knowledge of the physical properties of the soil, otherwise any evaluation can only be approximate. In order to reconstruct a run-off accident one must examine the soil’s mechanical parameters and create a soil database. The purpose of our project was to make measurements for a later soil database and a computer simulation to determine the speed of a vehicle at the point where it left the road. A series of measurements were performed for this purpose at the Department of Automotive Technology of the Szent István University to obtain data for a soil database as part of a project to develop a run-off-the-road accident simulation model. The model is designed to determine the speed of the vehicle as it leaves the road. Knowledge of this speed is crucial in the investigation of such accidents, and investigators have to estimate it from vehicle tracks left on the road and on the adjacent terrain. The model may be validated and verified by determining the soil–vehicle resistances on relevant terrain. In our paper we introduce a set of computations capable of computing the vehicle’s initial velocity.
Keywords: Accident analysis; Soil–tire interaction; Terramechanics; Soil-mechanical parameters