Rectilinear Motion Examples in Daily Life: Understanding Straight-Line Motions

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The Rectilinear motion refers to the movement of an object along a straight line. Just because of the fact that during this type of motion, an object does not deviate from a straight line trajectory, this type of motion is also known as linear motion.

In addition, if the object is moving with a uniform speed, we call it a uniform rectilinear or uniform linear motion. Similarly, if the object is moving with a variable speed, we call it a non-uniform rectilinear or non-uniform linear motion.

In this exclusive article, I am gonna unearth some of the practical examples of rectilinear motion that we see in our everyday life. So, without wasting any more time, let’s dive right in…!!!

Rectilinear Motion Examples in Daily Life: Understanding Straight-Line Motions

  • Driving a Car
  • Elevator Ride
  • Freefall
  • Pushing a Shopping Cart
  • Rolling a Ball
  • Sliding a Drawer

Driving a Car


The very first one in my list of top 6 linear motion examples in daily life is driving a car. When you accelerate the car, the vehicle tends to move forward in a straight line path exhibiting rectilinear or linear motion.

In other words, one can also say that the rectilinear motion is responsible for the car’s acceleration allowing it to move in the forward or even backward direction. In fact, this principle can also be applied to all the other forms of transportation systems, whether it’s a car, bike, train, or bicycle.

Elevator Ride

Image Courtesy: ThoughtCo

Gone are the days, when you had to go to the next floor, you had to use a staircase. Now just go inside the elevator and click the button, it will automatically take you to the upper or lower floors of your building.

As you step into the elevator, it can move vertically upward and in downward directions between the floors. This motion of the elevator is nothing but rectilinear, transporting you between different floors of the same building.


Image Courtesy: ThoughtCo

Any object that is freely falling under the effect of gravity, they are forced to follow a rectilinear motion vertically in the downward direction. A typical example will be a book dropped from the table or skydiving.

No wonder, after the deployment of the parachute, thanks to air resistance and other factors, the skydiver can follow so many different kinds of paths or trajectories. However, before deploying the parachute, the freely falling motion of the skydiver follows a rectilinear path.

Pushing a Shopping Cart

Image Courtesy: EyeEm

When you push a shopping cart in a supermarket or at the grocery store, it tends to move in a straight line, hence following a rectilinear motion. This motion helps you to navigate the cart smoothly all over the places you go by.

Rolling a Ball

Image Courtesy: The Mirror

Ever been bowling? Well, I haven’t…!!! I am planning for the next weekend. When you roll a ball toward the pins, the ball tends to move in a straight line until it reaches the pins or target.

This straight-line trajectory of the ball is nothing but rectilinear motion unless or until some external forces like friction or air resistance come into play and change its trajectory.

Sliding a Drawer

Image Courtesy: The Spruce

Last but not least on my list of rectilinear motion examples in daily life is sliding a drawer. Sliding a drawer involves rectilinear motion as it follows a straight-line path within its track when being opened or closed.

When you pull a drawer towards you or push it back into its housing, the motion is primarily along a single line, without deviating from a straight trajectory.

Some Other Rectilinear Motion Examples in Daily Life

Apart from the above-mentioned ones, I am also mentioning a few here.

  • Pulling a Luggage Trolley
  • Spacecraft Launch
  • Sliding a Book on a Table
  • Skateboarding on a Straight Path
  • Rowing a Boat
  • Sliding on an Icy Surface
  • Opening and Closing a Door, etc.

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I am a mechanical engineer by profession. Just because of my love for fundamental physics, I switched my career, and therefore I did my postgraduate degree in physics. Right now I am a loner (as ever) and a Physics blogger too. My sole future goal is to do a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, especially in the field of cosmology. Because in my view, every aspect of physics comes within the range of cosmology. And I love traveling, especially the Sole one.

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