Definition of average speed
Words nearby average speed
MORE ABOUT AVERAGE SPEED
What is average speed?
Average speed is calculated by dividing the total distance that something has traveled by the total amount of time it took it to travel that distance.
Speed is how fast something is going at a particular moment. Average speed measures the average rate of speed over the extent of a trip. Average speed is usually applied to vehicles like cars, trains, and airplanes. It is often measured in miles per hour (mph) or kilometers per hour (kph).
Average speed is used in all kinds of fields, including physics, astronomy, and transportation.
How to find average speed
Let’s slow down and start with an example. If you were to drive 200 miles in two hours, you could calculate your average speed by dividing the total distance (200 miles) by the total amount of time it took (two hours), giving an average speed of 100 miles per hour. (Which means the next thing you’re going to have to calculate is how to pay the speeding ticket.)
Average speed might seem like a basic, obvious concept, but for much of history, people didn’t have much of a practical need for such a calculation (plus there were no speedometers on horses). In the 1600s, physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei tried to calculate the speed of light by measuring how long it would take a person to see a light from across a field. It didn’t work (light is way too fast to be measured this way), but Galileo did come up with the formula distance/time = average speed. (Others probably discussed the concept before that, but Galileo usually gets the credit.)
Average speed should not be confused with instantaneous speed, which measures the speed of an object at a specific instant in time. Instantaneous speed is a physics term. In everyday life, we just call this speed, which is what the speedometer in your car tells you—exactly how fast you’re going at that moment. Speed is sometimes confused with velocity, but they are not the same. In physics, velocity measures something’s speed relative to its direction of motion.
In practical situations, average speed usually comes up in the context of transportation, such as the average speed of a train or airplane during a trip.
Did you know ... ?
Light has an average speed of approximately 186,000 miles (about 300,000 kilometers) per second.
What are real-life examples of average speed?
Average speed is used in physics and other scientific fields, but it’s also used for all kinds of practical applications, especially in transportation. The software that runs your GPS (Global Positioning System) app uses average speed to calculate how long a trip is going to take.
Having just driven 30 miles under 50mph ‘average speed check’ restriction, at night, how does it all work in practice? I’m doubting that the cameras can pick up all number plates at night etc.
— Steve Litchfield (@stevelitchfield) February 16, 2020
A train covering 900km in 20 hours, an average speed of 45kmph is called Super fast in India.
Just for comparison it takes 5 hrs in Japan for same distance.
— पंक्चर वाला (@pun_cture_wala) February 21, 2020
What are some other words related to average speed?
True or false?
Average speed and average velocity are different measurements.
How to use average speed in a sentence
So these are the kinds of things that are related to the traffic, the level of congestion, the average speed, that depend on the time of the day, day of the week.Using machine learning to build maps that give smarter driving advice|MIT Technology Review Insights|June 23, 2021|MIT Technology Review
His freestyle typing—answering questions—overall matched in performance, and met the average speed of thumb texting of his age group.A New Brain Implant Turns Thoughts Into Text With 90 Percent Accuracy|Shelly Fan|May 18, 2021|Singularity Hub
Midnight Bourbon’s trip notes include him racing four-wide on the first turn and six-wide around the second turn, yet he still managed to keep an average speed that was tied for second fastest in the 19-horse Derby field.Two horses that can beat Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit at the Preakness Stakes|Neil Greenberg|May 13, 2021|Washington Post
The average speed of the particles corresponds to the temperature of the gas—faster is hotter.How Maxwell’s Demon Continues to Startle Scientists - Facts So Romantic|Jonathan O'Callaghan|April 29, 2021|Nautilus
The average speed of the particles corresponds to the temperature of the gas — faster is hotter.How Maxwell’s Demon Continues to Startle Scientists|Jonathan O'Callaghan|April 22, 2021|Quanta Magazine
Term limits could be a prescription to speed change along.
He felt his body grow limp (like one of those high-speed films of a flower wilting).Powerful Congressman Writes About ‘Fleshy Breasts’|Asawin Suebsaeng|January 7, 2015|DAILY BEAST
The jet engine instantly brought two advances over propellers: it doubled the speed and it was far more reliable.Flight 8501 Poses Question: Are Modern Jets Too Automated to Fly?|Clive Irving|January 4, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Well over a thousand holes in, I average less than four strokes per hole.Lost For Thousands of Strokes: 'Desert Golfing' Is 'Angry Birds' as Modern Art|Alec Kubas-Meyer|January 2, 2015|DAILY BEAST
On average, the vaccine has an efficacy of about 60 percent.When You Get the Flu This Winter, You Can Blame Anti-Vaxxers|Kent Sepkowitz|January 1, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Really, he had made astonishing speed for one who had tunnelled his way underp.The Tale of Grandfather Mole|Arthur Scott Bailey
I do not think the average number of passengers on a corresponding route in our country could be so few as twenty.Glances at Europe|Horace Greeley
A long stretch of smooth ice followed, over which he glided with ever-increasing speed.The Giant of the North|R.M. Ballantyne
Never again would he sit behind that wheel rejoicing in the insolence of speed.The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol|William J. Locke
Though the average speaker is generally limited by one type of voice, which he varies somewhat, it is not often disguised.Expressive Voice Culture|Jessie Eldridge Southwick