19 Relative Velocity Examples: With Explanations

Relative velocity is defined as “the binary dissimilarity between the velocities of two figures or bodies: the velocity of a body about another considered as existence at rest- analogy corresponding motion. The velocity is determined within the gadget as per the spectator utilizing the relative velocity formula vAB=vA-vB in relativity.This post gives you a detailed explanation of such relative velocity examples.

The motion of two cars

Consider the two cars, A and B, traveling toward each other at disparate speeds. Both drivers since the other car traveling with a velocity or speed identical to the summation of the particular speeds. The two perspectives are from the side of the road, from the car A as if it were at rest, and from the car B as if it were at rest.

A boat crossing a river

A boat in a river travels among the river current, water traveling regarding the spectator on dry land. On such occasions as this, the immensity of the velocity of the traveling gadget regarding the spectator on land will be different from the tachometer reading of the vehicle.

Relative velocity examples
Boat crossing a river image credit: pixabay

A boat and the spectator

Suppose that the tachometer on the boat maybe 30 meters/hour; still, the boat may be traveling relative to the spectator on the seaside at a speed of 35meter/hour. Motion is correlative to the spectator. The speed of the spectator on land, generally named immobilized spectator, is disparate from that of the spectator.

The line joining two stationary objects

The spectator travels at a constant speed through the line joining the two stationary objects. The spectator will notice that the two objects have the same speed same velocity, and travel under the same supervision because the relative velocity of the two objects is zero.

Two fast-moving trains in opposite directions on the adjacent track

When the train in which the spectator is sitting is traveling with a velocity V1 of 20km/hr, another train is advancing against the first train with a velocity V2 of 40 km/hr. In this case, from the frame of reference of the spectator, it seems that the train advancing against him is traveling faster at a speed of 20+40=60 km/hr.

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Fast moving trains in opposite direction on the adjacent track image credit: pixabay

A ball proceeds to the participant advancing against him

For the participant who proceeds with the ball, the ball’s velocity will be the real velocity. Still, for a capturer advancing the ball, the velocity is higher than the real for a capturer. The relative velocity in his consciousness is the summation of the velocity of a ball and his streaming rapidity against the ball.

A swimmer swimming across a river

Suppose the sea crests are impending the swimmer, the relative velocity of the swimmer would be smaller than his real velocity. For a swimmer, it will emanate that swimmer is traveling quicker, but the rapidity of the crests diminishes the swimmer’s velocity.

relative velocity examples
swimmer swimming across a river image credit: pixabay

Flying the airplane and moving a car

When we see the airplane through our moving car in the reverse direction, if it’s too distant, the airplane appears as it will stand for an observer in the car. The relative velocity of the observer in the car is more circular than his real velocity.

The pilgrim in a van

The pilgrim is deep-seated in a van in an immobilized situation, but the relative velocity of the pilgrim in a van is identical to the velocity of the bus. The pilgrim is traveling through the bus with rearrangement identical to the amount of rearrangement on the bus.

The motion of the desk with a bundle of books

The bundle of books is at ease, so the book’s velocity with the viewpoint on the desk is zero. But for the observers, the velocity of the books is correlative to the rapidity of the table.

Bird concerning the airplane

Suppose the birds fly relative to the airplane, and the passenger arrives to be immobilized by the bird. The bird seems to be immobilized by the passenger in the airplane because the bird has a definite velocity relative to that of the airplane, which is flying too. The bird and airplane fly in an identical coordinate system, called relative motion.

Commuters on the giant dipper

The commuter seated on the giant dipper will anticipate that the other commuters are immobilized and didn’t travel in his viewpoint. The relative velocity of the commuter from the viewpoint of other commuters is null. But the real rapidity of the commuter is relative to the rapidity of the giant dipper.

relative velocity examples
Commuters on the giant dipper image credit: pixabay


When the boy is parading in an association, the rapidity of the other boys in an association in his viewpoint is null due to all the boys traveling at a similar rapidity and therefore seem to be immobilized.

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Parading in a group image credit: pixabay

Two friends strolling simultaneously

Suppose the two friends are strolling simultaneously at a similar rapidity, then the relative velocity of the two friends about each other is to be null. Other humans, seeing them from afar, would notice the pragmatic velocity of the two friends.

Cyclist driving in the rain

Suppose the cyclist drives a cycle in the rain at a definite velocity. The cyclist would observe that the rapidity of the rain is higher than the real rapidity of the raindrops; from the cyclist’s viewpoint, the relative velocity of the raindrop is in addition to the cyclist’s velocity. Therefore, the cyclist senses that the rapidity of the rain is heavier than the real.


The relative velocity of the snowboard in the viewpoint of the BomberBomber is null because the BomberBomber is upstanding upon the snowboard, which is traveling throughout with the BomberBomber. From the other viewpoint, the relative velocity of the BomberBomber is correlative to the snowboard.


The surfer’s relative rapidity relies on the water current’s rapidity. Suppose the surfer travels under the supervision of the current. The relative rapidity of the surfer will be the summation of the rapidity of water circulate, and the surfer, in contradiction, supposes the surfer is moving in the supervision reverse to the flow of water. The correlative speed of the surfer would diminish.

Geosynchronous equatorial orbit

The geosynchronous equatorial orbits are kept at an elevation of almost 35,800 kilometers linearly about the middle circumference of the earth. Therefore, the rapidity of geosynchronous equatorial orbit from the viewpoint of the earth and equatorial orbit seems to be zero.

Reposing on a swing

The momentum of the person seated upon a swing is in relative locomotion with the fluctuating swing. A person is seated immobilized upon the swing, and their real velocity is zero. But the person is in fluctuation through the swing; the person’s velocity is identical to the velocity of the swing.

Gliding in chopper

The relative velocity of the person seated in a chopper is identical to the rapidity because the person is in an immobilized position.


From studying above mentioned examples, we finally concluded that the relative velocity of two objects is said to be the velocity of object A in conformity with object B or vice versa. Relative velocity is also utilized to determine the object’s velocity along with fluid. i.e., swimming, rowing.

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