In your time motoring along the roads, highways, and under-surveilled mall food courts of America, it’s not unlikely that you’ve seen a particular window sticker on certain, let’s say, more *sedate* vehicles. The sticker, designed to poke some self-deprecating fun, states that the car that bears it can accelerate from 0-60 in 2.3 seconds, but then qualifies that with the parenthetical, *off a cliff*. The question here is: is this sticker true?

Most often, you’ll see these stickers on Priuses or perhaps old Volkswagen buses, or other cars with similar reputations for being slow. I get the sentiment, and applaud the willingness to accept and laugh at one’s own car, but I’m not certain that any car, when dropped off a cliff, actually *would *hit 60 MPH in 2.3 seconds. So let’s figure out exactly what’s going on, using a little something I like to call “math.”

I’m going to use the squishy, moist math-brain parts of our own David Tracy to help me with some of this, which I want to make clear before anyone jumps to the conclusion that I’m not an idiot. Just being up front here.

Okay, first, here’s what we know: assuming this sticker’s target audience is the people of Earth, we know that gravitational acceleration on a given object, like a Prius, is about 9.81 meters per second^2, or about 32.15 feet per second^2.

Now, if we ignore very important factors like air resistance, we can compute that to reach 60 MPH (or 88 feet per second), we’ll need to accelerate for about **2.74 seconds **(that’s just your basic “final velocity equals initial velocity plus acceleration times time kinematic equation).

So, right there, we can say that this sticker is **not accurate.**

**THIS COMICAL STICKER IS LYING TO US ALL.**

In fact, to hit 60 MPH in 2.3 seconds, the average acceleration of gravity would need to be **11.65 m/s^2. **

So, at least on Earth, that sticker is a lie.

So, okay, it’s a lie, but why stop there? Let’s figure out what an accurate, self-deprecating sticker suggesting that a driver’s own car should plummet off a cliff should be.