How to Calculate Distance, Rate, and Time

One of the most frequently used equations in algebra involves distance, rate, and time. This is one of the few equations that we learn in school that we actually use later in life, much unlike many of the other equations. Before you learn how to calculate these algebra problems, let's look at an explanation of each factor. Rate is the speed at which something travels in a given amount of time. Time refers how long it takes to travel a certain distance moving at a certain speed. Distance is how far something travels going a certain speed in a certain amount of time. Now let's learn how to easily calculate distance, rate, and time.

Instructions

    • 1

      The primary element to learn is the main formula. This equation is:

      Distance = Rate X Time

      To simplify, if we are given the rate at which someone is traveling and the time it takes to travel, we can then calculate the total distance traveled.

    • 2

      Consider the following. A car travels at 60mph and drives for 2 hours. We need to calculate the distance the car traveled.

      Distance = Rate X Time
      Distance = 60mph X 2 hours
      Distance = 120 miles

    • 3

      Now, lets say that we want to know how long it will take us to travel 120 miles at a rate of 60mph.

      We know that Distance = Rate X Time, but we want to calculate Time. We need to rearrange the formula. We need to have Time on one side of the equation by itself, so we must divide both sides of the equation by the Rate. The new formula will look like this.

      Time = Distance/Rate
      Time = 120miles/60mph
      Time = 2 hours

    • 4

      We have learned how to calculate both distance and time using this formula, so let's look at how to figure the Rate. We will use the same example. A car has driven for 2 hours and traveled 120 miles. What rate of speed was the car traveling?

      We know that Distance = Rate X Time, but we want to calculate Rate. Again, we need to rearrange the formula. We now want to have the Rate on one side of the equation by itself, so we must divide both sides of the equation by the Time. The new formula will look like this.

      Rate = Distance/Time
      Rate = 120 miles/2 hours
      Rate = 60mph

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