IF If i was travelling at the speed of light in a car and i turned my headlights on. What would happen?

I cant figure out if i was travelling at the speed of light if my headlight beam would bend around the sides of the car or if it would shine ahead of me. But if it shone ahead of me surely that light would be going faster than me and therefore i would be travelling at less than the speed of light.

19 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    FIRSTLY, only energy can travel at the speed of light. So that rules that out. but lets say you could go two miles an hour short of light speed. The lights would still go ahead of you because even that close to light speed the lights would STILL travel faster.

    Okay lets be crazy. If you did manage the speed of light and turned on the headlights the light beam would not go ahead of you. It would be trapped in the housing until the energy built up to such an extreme level the car would explode in a huge flash of what else?????? LIGHT........

    Just guessing, but think of how hot the lights get when the beam CAN go ahead. What would all that energy do if it couldn't get out?

    HMMMMM interesting thought.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Light from the filament inside the headlight bulb normally travels outwards in all directions. Most of it is picked up by the reflector at the back of the headlight and projected forwards as a focussed beam. If the bulb and reflector were travelling forwards at the speed of light, light would reach the reflector but would not be projected forwards. There would be a build-up of photons on the reflector. We have no idea of what would happen next since you can't simulate a build-up of photons in the laboratory.

    The problem with this idea is that when things travel forwards at high speed, they become shorter in the direction of travel. At the speed of light, the headlamp and car will have become two dimensional. The reflector would no longer be a reflector, the bulb will have burst and the electrics would have stopped working.

  • 4 years ago

    to answer this question you would need to devise an experiment where you could accurately measure the speed of the light emitted from the headlights of a moving vehicle. This would tell you if the speed of light is affected by the speed of the light emitter (headlight). if the vehicle was traveling at 50km/h and the speed of the emitted light was measured to be speed of light + 50km/h then your answer would be yes. make sense? It better cause my brain hurts. I'm gonna go lay down now.

  • 1 decade ago

    Its not possible of anything with a mass (ie. the car) to travel at the speed of light so the question is only a hypothetical one.

    However Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity states that all of the regular (Newton's) laws of physics will apply in any body that is in uniform motion. As the car is at a constant speed (ie. not accelerating or slowing) then the driver would see the head lights working as they would here on earth.

    However if the car was travelling at the speed of light relative to someone else (such as travelling away form earth at 'c') the person on earth would not see the same as the driver, they wold not see any light accelerating away from the car.

    Not easy to explain in a couple of paragraphs but is the best i can do!

    Source(s): Einstein
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  • 1 decade ago

    give it to churie78 lol...

    u can't see anything anyway, so the requirement is not there...u can't travel at lightspeed, nothing can...u either travel .099999c or close to it and it takes u a year+ to build to that speed...or u travel in a warp in your own environment(space bubble)...where again u won't be using lights...negative energy to help with the warp would be more helpful...the above scenarios would need a predetermined route, points etc...so no windows and headlights!

    the last option would travelling faster than light, at superluminous speed(think cherenkov radiation)...and u certainly wont be seeing any lights anywhere travelling 1 billion times faster than light...once again the engineering in masking or reducing your mass, to zero to attain superluminous/tachon travel was invented in 1967 and was a factory option on my '67 Impala S.S. Unfortunately the previous owner instead chose the aircon and front discs as options...so I'm still limited to 400+ hp and 125+ mph..which is a shame... (-: - apart from the last 4 lines the rest is pretty much spot on(& from memory)... (-:

    If you want exact scientific answers try these books:

    The physics of star wars & The physics of star trek.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well first, congratulations, that's the same question Einstine asked himself before formulating his Special Relativity. Second, the answer is that time slows down for you the faster you go, such that you would percieve the light traveling at the speed of light away from you. If you travelled at the speed of light, time would stop. And Third, you can't ever accelerate to the speed of light because it would take an infinite amount of energy.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You will hit the road sign the same time your headlight does:p

    I guess it doesnt have to bend around the side of your car, neither would it shine ahead of you, it will just be right inside the bulb. It's like, the opposing car will percieve your headlight the moment it percieves you, there's a pair of light in front of your car but will only be seen at the same time your car appears to the opposite driver.

    LOL what am I saying?

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They would come on, but would not project forward, in relative terms.

    Because the car is moving at the speed of light, the light will stay in constant with the motion of the vehicle unless another force alters the gravity or space time continuum.

    It will be a hoot to watch it when and if it becomes a reality.

  • 1 decade ago

    Since this is more than the posted speed limit, you would recieve a fine and, due to the fact that you are travelling more than 100 mph you would probably lose your licence.

    In addition to this, since you turned your lights on while driving, you have therefore been driving for at least 100000 miles without your lights on, you could also be prosecuted for careless, or even dangerous driving.

    In short, you would recieve a hefty fine and a driving ban.

  • 1 decade ago

    xmmmmmm a very good question that i feel you are not prepared to listen to its answer. although everything is relative AND THERE ARE RELATIVE SPEEDS the speed of light is c for every inertial systems that means that is a systme or an obserever travels ac 0.99999c still for him he will see a beam of light traveling at c ans not 0.00001c. see what i meean.

    of course your car will not travel at c but something less even a tiny bit.

    then the light of the car will move c as well. not 2c not anything

    c alwyas for all systems.

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