# Why does a roller coaster need to start from the highest position?

## Why does a roller coaster need to start from the highest position?

The first hill of a roller coaster is always the highest point of the roller coaster because friction and drag immediately begin robbing the car of energy. At the top of the first hill, a car’s energy is almost entirely gravitational potential energy (because its velocity is zero or almost zero).

## Do roller coasters ever get higher than the first hill?

By conservation of energy, it can climb up to a height equal to that it went down before. However, due to the friction in the machines, the total mechanical energy of the roller coaster will decrease. As a result, the first “hill” of many roller coasters are the highest, but the followings will have decreasing heights.

How does the height affect a roller coaster?

Each gain in height corresponds to the loss of speed as kinetic energy (due to speed) is transformed into potential energy (due to height). Each loss in height corresponds to a gain of speed as potential energy (due to height) is transformed into kinetic energy (due to speed).

### Why do roller coasters slow down?

As you ride a roller coaster, its wheels rub along the rails, creating heat as a result of friction. This friction slows the roller coaster gradually, as does the air that you fly through as you ride the ride.

### Can the hills get bigger as you move through the track or must they get smaller?

In most roller coasters, the hills decrease in height as the train moves along the track. This is necessary because the total energy reservoir built up in the lift hill is gradually lost to friction between the train and the track, as well as between the train and the air.

Why can’t the third hill of a roller coaster be higher than the first hill?

It doesn’t matter which hill is higher as long as they are both lower than the starting point because no energy is lost as the roller coaster car rolls along the track, so it can get over any hill that is lower than the starting point.

#### What causes the thrill of roller coasters?

The thrill of roller coasters is not due to their speed, but rather due to their accelerations and to the feelings of weightlessness and weightiness that they produce. Roller coasters are about acceleration; that’s what makes them thrilling.

#### Why don’t you fall out of a roller coaster when you go upside down?

When you go upside down on a roller coaster, inertia keeps you from falling out. This resistance to a change in motion is stronger than gravity. It is what presses your body to the outside of the loop as the train spins around.

Why don’t you fall out of a roller coaster when you go through a loop even if you are not strapped?

Roller coaster wheels are designed to prevent the cars from flipping off the track. They secure the train to the track while it travels through fancy loops and twists. When you go upside down on a roller coaster, inertia keeps you from falling out. This resistance to a change in motion is stronger than gravity.

“For young healthy people there is no risk for heart attack and arrhythmias from riding a roller coaster.” But people with high blood pressure, a previous heart attack, an implanted pacemaker or defibrillator, and others with proven heart disease, should not ride a roller coaster, researchers said.

## Are roller coasters unhealthy?

But for adults, who are accustomed to more predictable motion, the outcome is often dizziness, vertigo or motion sickness. Despite taking the body to extremes, roller coasters are considered remarkably safe overall. In fact, it’s often these intense bodily sensations that make the experience so exhilarating.

What are the odds of dying on a roller coaster?

The likelihood of dying on a roller coaster is pretty low, with odds at roughly one in 750 million, according to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. But when injuries do happen, they can be life changing and tragic.

### Has anyone ever died on a roller coaster?

Approximately four deaths annually in the United States are associated with roller coasters. Although traumatic injuries resulting in the deaths of roller coaster patrons tend to receive the most media attention, they only represent one quarter of all fatalities.