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What is instantaneous speed?

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Quick Answer

Instantaneous speed refers to the speed of an object at a specific point in time. Most speeds are average speeds, which is calculated by dividing the distance traveled by the time it took to travel it.

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Full Answer

The instantaneous speed of an object can only be calculated by dividing the distance covered by an object by the time it took during a very small time span. An accurate approximation can be obtained using a gauge or speedometer.

On a typical road trip that is 50 miles long and takes 1 hour to complete, the average speed of the car would be 50 miles per hour. Since speed usually changes at different points in a trip, the instantaneous speed may have been 55 miles per hour at one point and 45 miles per hour at another.

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The speed of an object is equal to the distance traveled divided by the time. This is equivalent to the statement that as the time taken to travel a distance increases, the speed of the object must decrease.

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Instantaneous velocity is the velocity of an object at a specific point in time. This means that anywhere along the timeline of an objects movement, it will have a specific velocity.

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