How to Jump From a Speeding Car

by Brett & Kate McKay on March 28, 2010 · 70 comments

in Manly Skills, Survival

Sometimes when I’m driving, I’ll imagine scenarios that would require me to jump out of my speeding car. I know I can’t be the only one who does this. I do it mainly to pass time while in traffic, but I think there’s also a part of me who wants to be prepared if (in the unlikely instance) I actually have bail out of a moving vehicle to save my life. The scenarios that I usually come up with are 1) my brakes go out and my car is about to fly off a cliff Thelma and Louise style and 2) a criminal organization has put me in the backseat of a car and is transporting me to an abandoned warehouse to beat me with a baseball bat. In both cases, jumping from a speeding car is probably the best option for survival.

Okay, so my scenarios seem unlikely, but when I lived in Tijuana, two of my friends actually did have to jump from a speeding vehicle. True story.

After leaving my apartment one night, these two guys got on a calafia, or bus. Now calafias are pieces of crap. They’re essentially school buses from the 1970s painted different colors to correspond with their route. None of them would pass a vehicle inspection in the U.S. and a lot of the drivers are crackheads.

The area we lived in was super hilly. As the bus was descending one of these steep, long hills, my friends noticed that while the bus driver was repeatedly stepping on the brake pedal, the bus kept going faster and faster. The brakes had gone out on the bus.

My friends had two choices. Stay on the bus and see if they’d survive the impending crash or jump and take their chances with the pavement. They decided to jump. One my buds was a retired Mexican soldier and all around badass. While my American friend was screaming out the window for somebody to help, my Mexican friend took action. He went to the driver to see if there was an emergency brake. There was, but it didn’t work. So he went to the back of the bus and opened up the emergency door.

“Vamos a saltar.” We’re going to jump.

He told my American friend to hold his backpack in front of him to help soften the landing a bit and then to jump at an angle towards the shoulder of the road where there was dirt instead of pavement. His final instruction was to try to land on the shoulder and roll when they hit the ground. They tried to get the bus driver and the other passenger to join them, but they wouldn’t leave their seats.  The two men looked down at the black pavement moving underneath them at 50 MPH, took a big breath, and jumped.

They hit the ground hard and rolled for several feet. Despite landing on soft earth, their clothing was ripped to shreds. They laid there on the side of the Tijuana road, tattered, but alive. A few seconds later they heard a horrendous crash. The bus couldn’t make the sharp turn and ended up running into the side of a canyon wall. The driver and all the other passengers died.

I went to visit them the next day at their place. They were in surprisingly good condition. They had some wicked road rash and one of them had to get their head stapled shut. But that was pretty much it. No broken bones and no internal bleeding. They rested for several  days and were back to work the following week.

Now, these guys were lucky. Really lucky.  Not too many people can walk away after jumping out of a speeding car without a broken bone. In fact, many people have died from jumping from a moving car. But my friends did some things right that increased their chances of surviving.

How to Jump from a Speeding Car

Note: Jumping from a moving car is a last ditch effort. Serious injury and death can occur from jumping from a moving vehicle. Exhaust all other possibilities before you decide to make the leap. Also, before relying on the information in this article, please read our disclaimer.

Open the door completely. You don’t want the door to shut on you while you’re jumping out.

Jump at an angle away from the vehicle. Your body will be moving at the same velocity as the car, so when you jump, your body will continue in the direction of the car. To avoid getting run over by the car you’re jumping from, jump at an angle in the opposite direction the car is moving.

Try to land in a soft area. If possible, try to jump towards a soft place on the side of the road like grass and dirt. Anything is better than pavement.

Avoid obstructions. Time your jump so you don’t run run into a light pole or sign post.

Tuck. Before you hit the ground, tuck your body into a ball. Bring your chin to your chest and bring your arms and legs close to your body. This will prevent your brain canister from hitting the ground and spilling its contents on the pavement. Also, it prepares your body to roll.

Roll. Hit the ground with your shoulder and roll away from traffic. Rolling lessens the impact when hitting the ground.

Put on your shades and walk away from the exploding car like a badass. Just kidding. That’s what usually happens in the movies. In real life, you need to seek immediate medical attention for the bruises, scrapes, and broken bones you’ll likely have from jumping from a speeding vehicle.

Anybody actually ever have to do this? I’d be interested in hearing your story. Share it with us in the comments.

{ 70 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Zack March 28, 2010 at 11:44 pm

Great article. These survival tips, like the “how to escape from a sinking car” article are my favorite things on the site. Please keep them coming!

2 Gabe March 28, 2010 at 11:53 pm

I did once jump from a moving vehicle that an angry ex-gf was driving on the wrong side of the road. When she saw I was jumping, she tried o scare me back into the car by speeding up. She wasn’t going nearly that fast though, probably about 30 mph.

It was all I could do to clear the rear tire as she swearved. I ended up twisting my ankle and loosing some skin off my knee, lower back, and arms.

I’m confident I could do it again (and maybe even more skillfully) if my life depended on it, but all that asphalt ground into the wounds means I’ll never try again if my life doesn’t depend on it.

3 Brian C March 29, 2010 at 12:06 am

Yes, I had to jump out of a car before except it only got up to 30-35 MPH.

I was 18 and just graduated high school so I for some silly reason got a job catching shoplifters (loss prevention). One individual that looked like a meth head walked out the store with a basket of groceries so I followed him to a car. He had a friend inthe car already started. I tried to pull the individual out and couldn’t pull him out so I forced my way into the car which was dumb. My feet were dragging while they tried to drive off and I finally pulled myself in. I tried to get the groceries and ended up fighting with them. The individual driving the car sped up and I saw a concrete barrier coming up and told him to stop.

I opened the door and jumped out. They totaled the car they were in but survived and were arrested. I really only tore up my favorite puma track jacket i was wearing at the time (this was ’98) and had some nice scabs all over my hands that I used to brace for impact.

I really got out of it ok and count my lucky stars.

August 2008 I had a parachute accident that I wasn’t so lucky in. My right foot got caught in my main parachute at about 2000 feet so I was doing the front splits. I couldn’t untangle it from my right ankle. I thought in my head if I landed on my one free left leg that I would shatter my ankle, hip, etc. What I did was tuck my chin to my shoulder and attempt a forward right shoulder roll.

I landed on my lower back and the impact was so hard my pubis symphysis (front of pelvis, right in the middle) opened up internally 4 cm. The drop zone I was at was so far from a hospital that I was put in a stretcher with no painkillers for about 2 hours. Finally brought to a county hospital and after x rays doped up. One time in my life I wish I was knocked out, the pain was truly the worst I ever experienced.

I have a gnarly metal plate with screws that more or less holds my pelvis together in the front. The type of “break” I had is known as an “open book fracture”. I’m thankful I can walk but have been told to expect some fun filled arthritis when I’m a little older.

I guess at least it’s a better story then saying I was hit by a car while riding a moped around?

Contact my email if you want before and after pics, accident reports, etc.
-Brian C

4 Tyler Smith March 29, 2010 at 12:19 am

Out of all the awesome articles on this site, this may be the greatest of them all. Great Work.

5 TedBike3000 March 29, 2010 at 1:28 am

Hitchhiking once (lived in Vegas, visited the Bay area often) got picked up and after awhile the driver said “hey mind if we drop in at a friend of mine? and started to pull off on to a dirt road with a skeevy shack in the distance despite my “I’m on a schedule” answer…..I opened the door and said “I’ll just leave now”…he slowed to a crawl and I grabbed my pack and stepped out at 3-5 mph and walked the 100 or so yards back to 95 and didn’t look back.

6 Andy March 29, 2010 at 1:46 am

Hopefully I’ll never have to do something like this….but if I do I’ll have AoM to thank for my not completley killing myself :)

7 Steve March 29, 2010 at 7:02 am

Didn’t think this article was all that good. I usually keep and file the articles from your website, But this one dosen’t pack the gear. Hope tomorrow’s is better.

8 Motivational Speaker - Craig Harper March 29, 2010 at 7:13 am

Dude, where do you get this material?

9 Jon March 29, 2010 at 8:36 am

I have not had to do it myself. But when I was in seminary I saw a car driving toward some RR tracks and and oncoming train. Just before the car went up to be obliterated by the train, three Korean guys jumped out and ran. I laughed the rest of the day – that visual still brings a chuckle…

10 b March 29, 2010 at 9:59 am

Sorry not one of the better articles.
One way to slow your vehicle down if the brakes fail (which is a pretty rare thing in modern vehicle with dual systems). Is to use anything that can absorb the energy of the moving vehicle
During a summer show I came around a turn to find a five vehicle accident. Applied the brakes but the car started to hydroplane (long dry spell then a sudden rain makes for some real slippery roads). So I eased onto the concrete apron that holds the center guardrail. The added friction slowed me down enough to stop safely.

In the school bus example above all the driver had to do was rub the bus on the hill assuming there were no guardrails.

11 Chris March 29, 2010 at 10:26 am

“Put on your shades and walk away from the exploding car like a badass.”
That right there almost made me want to go out and try it.
Seriously, great article.

12 Adam March 29, 2010 at 10:32 am

I love the the article on proper table manners was followed up with this.

13 Kyle March 29, 2010 at 10:38 am

This was a really good article.

14 Duane March 29, 2010 at 11:38 am

My grandfather used to talk about his hobo days during the depression. Men would ride the rails to find work. (back in the day when men used to do whatever it took to support their families instead of waiting for gov’t assistance). He talked about having to jump from moving trains. They would put on every piece of clothing they had, pull their coat up over their head, look for the softest place they could see and jump from the side door and roll straight out like a rolling pin (instead of a ball). He said their clothes would be torn to pieces but they survived. I think back in those days they didn’t use so much gravel along the rails and the grass grew closer to the rails in some places. Even then alot of guys didn’t make it. The worst thing about riding the rails was the railroad bulls and their clubs.

15 Brent Bonner March 29, 2010 at 11:50 am

Thanks for the great post. I had a buddy who I believe had a similar “occupation” for 2 years in Japan, and while riding a bicycle across a bridge, was struck from behind by a drunk kid on a bullet bike doing almost 100 mph. He was thrown against the chainlink fence on the side of the bridge and basically had himself stripped by it. Miraculously, he survived with only minor injuries. The rider (wearing full leathers) bounced down the road after dumping the bike, and walked away also with only minor injuries. He didn’t walk far though. He may be getting out of jail about now, 22 years later!!! Japan does not take hitting pedestrians, of which bicyclists are a part, lightly. Especially when in an inebriated state. The driver, I mean, not the pedestrian. I hit plenty of drunk pedestrians on my bicycle while in Japan, and never got even 1 ticket :-)

16 Brent Bonner March 29, 2010 at 11:51 am

Never hit one on purpose, though. That would just be mean.

17 eric March 29, 2010 at 12:39 pm

i had a friend do this on the freeway just this summer … killed instantly. he was even in judo so he knew how to roll and tumble well. if there is any other way at that speed especially, take it instead.

18 Denny March 29, 2010 at 12:47 pm

It’s also important that when walking away from the exploding vehicle not to look back. We all know that real men down look at explosions.

19 Esquire March 29, 2010 at 12:49 pm

I had a motorcycle wreck at about 60 mph that was similar to this. I topped a hill and the cars on the other side were at a dead stop. I decided my chances were better off the bike than trying to stop it (older style and not the best stopping capabilities in the world). So I laid it down to the side and did what was described here. I held my knees and ankles together so my legs would not get broken as i rolled. landed on my left side rolling to the outside of the traffic. I held my hands on my biceps so that my arms would come out intact and tucked my chin to my chest to keep it from dribbling on the pavement.

Fortunately I was wearing a padded jacket, gloves and a helmet. I walked away without a visit to the hospital. I did have some extremely painful road rash on my unprotected legs (was only wearing jeans). No broken bones, and since I rolled instead of sliding, I had much less painful/deep road rash than I would have otherwise.

Rolling when hitting the pavement at highspeed is key to survival and minimization of injuries.

20 Luís Guilherme March 29, 2010 at 1:02 pm

A manly and almost “religious” note:

Most of the passengers died because they were afraid of the hurt, of the injuries. Being afraid of suffering ache is a key value in nowadays society. And, in this case, a fatal one.

Art of Manliness encourages us to face pain in a manly way. It’s part of our life. It’s better to live with it than to die. So did these manly men that saved their lives.

21 Richard Miller March 29, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Fun article that could prove helpful someday. (Hopefully not.)

PS. Lighten up people! Wow.

22 Richard Miller March 29, 2010 at 1:43 pm

BTW, one of my acquaintances rode a bus with failed brakes to the end at the expense of his life. His wife also perished with him. He wasn’t afraid of dying but the reason he didn’t bail was to protect the other people on the road. He was in CB radio contact with another bus as it went down. This happened in Honduras.

PS. Kind of weird remembering this in light of the deaths of some other acquaintances this past Friday. Van load of 12 people got his head on by a tractor trailer in Kentucky. Two little boys survived. I have many weeping friends today. Off topic, I know. But…

23 Steve C March 29, 2010 at 1:43 pm

I feel like the following is necessary, given the rash of “unintended acceleration” bits in the newsmedia today:

If the throttle is stuck open, shift to neutral! You should then be able to stop the vehicle normally (despite the engine banging off the rev limiter). If it’s a push button starter, hold down the button until it turns off after you’ve stopped.

If the regular brakes are done, try the e-brake.

If you’re going downhill and need to limit your speed, you can do a few things to help save your brakes. If you’re in a manual, downshift. If you have a manual mode in an auto, do the same. If you have a “regular” auto, see if there’s a 3, 2, or L as a selection. If you’re going over 40, switch to 3 if you have it; over 30, switch to 2; over 20, switch to L. Modern automatics will not allow the engine to overrev. This will put the car into a lower gear, using the engine to slow the car a bit.

24 Titus Andronicus March 29, 2010 at 2:14 pm

If you’re in a manual, downshift.

My grandfather drove an old WWII weapons carrier as his work truck in the ’70s. The brakes on it went out completely after a while, and he said he learned to stop it properly doing nothing but down shifting. So that’s probably the best advice for out-of-control cars.

25 joe March 29, 2010 at 2:17 pm

When I was a seven years old my Granddad’s dog jumped on my chest catching me off-guard and knocking me through the glass window of the garage’s storm door. Luckily I went through kinda sideways but backwards. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, the fall was not so much painful but the cuts were. I did not receive any stitches but then again I was not taken to a Dr. either. Till this day, 27 years later, on my left wrist and right wrist are barely noticeable scarred nicks obtained from the incident.

26 bt March 29, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Great article. Never jumped from a car, but has a kid I had a very small bicycle with no brakes, and it couldn’t coast either–if the bike was moving, the pedals were turning. Oh yeah–and it was a girl’s bike, but the family who gave it to me knew I didn’t want a girl’s bike, so dad took a metal bar and actually bolted it across from the stem to the seat post to convert it to a boy’s bike. How’s that for manly? All the big kids, who were several years older than I, were riding their bikes down the steep hill we lived on so I though I’d try it. It didn’t take long to reach terminal velocity, and my feet could no longer keep up with the pedals so I took them off as the bike started to careen violently back and forth. But there was no question of bailing–too dangerous! Fate and I were about to meet at the surface of the pavement. The wipeout occurred in front of the cute girl’s house I was trying to impress. I was badly scraped but I picked my bike up pretending like I hadn’t even crashed and limped home.

27 Tony March 29, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Heh – most bikers know this.
I’ve dropped my bike a couple of times and survived by rolling (and more than my share of luck !)

28 Helen March 29, 2010 at 10:10 pm

I remember you telling me that story of your friends, but you didn’t tell me how it ended for the rest of the people on the bus.
A friend and her husband bought a brand new car and drove to Colorado for vacation. They went drove up to Pike’s Peak and on their way down the brakes quit working. They both bailed out going about 50 miles, both had several injuries. Can’t remember what the car finally hit, but it was a total loss.

29 Tim Stiffler-Dean March 29, 2010 at 11:23 pm

I’ve got two kinda funny stories.

When I was about 9 I was helping my grandfather push some old kit-car down the road (I forget what it was). We were pushing it along, at about 5 mph, and I hopped on for a sec to be funny and then jumped back off. Fell right on my ass. lol

At around 14 I was trying to be cool and roller blading down a steep hill, probably going 25+ mph (feeling pretty cocky after making a good fund raiser sale at a neighbors house). I hit a tiny pebble about halfway down and was projected into the air. Rolled the rest of the way down the hill. Hands were burned and my knee had a gash down to the bone. Good times.

Didn’t stop me from trying it again a few weeks later. :P

30 Michael March 30, 2010 at 12:26 am

The only vehicle I ever jumped from was from the back of a hay wagon at a pioneer day picnic when I was a teenager. I wanted to be the first one into the lake (which is where the hay wagon was going). It was going slow (5mph, maybe), and I jumped and landed on my feed. I stumbled, but kept my footing.

It’s good that I didn’t roll or fall seeing as I jumped into a patch of poison ivy.

It didn’t affect me too bad though since I went directly to the lake and spent the next few hours in the water. Most of the poison ivy must’ve washed off.

31 Mike March 30, 2010 at 1:19 am

Never jumped from a moving car but I watched a guy jump out of the back of my ambulance one day. He had a mental illness. We were taking him to the hospital for eval. No big deal. He was violent so we did restrain him. Suddenly he got up of the gurney and was out the back door before i could react. We were probably going 40 when he went out. He went head over heels and skidded on the pavement. Almost got run over by the car behind us. He was pretty messed up but lived.

32 Jared March 30, 2010 at 11:54 am

The “roll away from traffic” part deserves some extra attention. A friend of mine working for California Highway Patrol recently told me about a girl who jumped out of a car on the interstate going approx. 60 mph (CHP concluded the girl suspected she was going to be assaulted by the male driver when they arrived at their destination). The girl survived the jump and was able to get to her feet, only to be hit and killed by oncoming traffic. Very unfortunate but it highlights an important point if anyone ever has to actually do this.

33 Sid March 30, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I have a friend who while in the heat of an argument with his girl friend, jumped out of the back of a conversion van she was driving in a residential area at about 35 mph. My friend hit the pavement with his head and spent nearly three weeks in a coma. He then had to deal with memory loss, some loss of voluntary motion, loss of his job and medical bills. He had no health insurance.

Jumping out of a moving vehicle is a really bad idea. Publishing this article was irresponsible.

34 Brett McKay March 30, 2010 at 12:47 pm


As was made very clear in this article, jumping out of a moving vehicle is a last resort measure, something to be done where staying in the vehicle is likely to result in death. Ie, when a bus’s brakes have gone out and it’s about to crash and kill you. In such cases, men should know how to jump in a way that will most increase their chances for living and it is quite responsible to give them information on how to do this.

35 kasy March 30, 2010 at 2:18 pm
Greetings from Poland.
It wasn’t me.

36 Jake Hertenstein March 30, 2010 at 6:47 pm

I’ve never jumped out of a car but I’ve tried to jump into a moving van. As it turns out that isn’t such a great idea or an easy task.
Long story short, the battery died and several of us were pushing the van over a hill. I waited until it was moving just a little too fast before trying to jump in the side door. I didn’t make it in and before I knew it I was at ground level looking right at the rear tire. Luckily I missed where the rubber meets the road and lived to tell the story.
Words of wisdom: never attempt to enter a vehicle moving faster than walking pace (or moving at all).

37 Chris R March 30, 2010 at 10:47 pm

Since I was a teenager I’ve wondered what would be the best bail scenario for a moving vehicle. This is a great article! Nice work-

38 Gerrit March 31, 2010 at 9:07 am

Great piece of advice on a scenario that indeed often pops up in my brain.
I feel however, that there is one additional course of action that could be taken to minimize the amount of damage received when jumping from a moving vehicle.

Since that amount depends on (your velocity relative to to the road)^squared, even a small decrease in this relative velocity can seriously increase your chance of survival, and/or lessen your injuries.

To do this, I suggest, when you jump at an angle in the opposite direction the car is moving towards the shoulder of the road, to jump as forcefully backwards as possible. Think diving in the water. Make sure however, that you do roll up in a ball before impact.

39 Rob Schottman March 31, 2010 at 5:07 pm

I had to bail off of a moving motorcycle. I was speeding around a car on a country road. My friend, on his motorcycle, was speeding around the same car on the other side. Yes, we were stupid. Just after we got past the car, about the time I would have shifted from 3rd to 4th gear, at about 100 miles per hour on a 1985 Honda Shadow ( I know..I know..a wannabe ), we went over some washboard in the road, I heard a crackle from the little piece of alluminum allow between my forks, and I went into a high speed wabble. I could not recover from the wabble. Once I realized that I was not going to be able to recover from the wabble, I layed on the back brakes for as long as I could hold on. The handlebars were really whipping back and forth by this time, from the wabble. I knew from experience that at some point the bike was going to take it’s last wabble, with the front wheel coming down so hard and at such an angle that the bike would literally jump out from underneath me. I figure I got it slowed down to about 50 or 55 mph before this happened. As the front wheel bit in, I could feel the seat coming up, so I jumped to the left as hard as I could jump. The people in the car behind us say that I must have went 20 ft. up in the air, along with the bike. I guess I waited on split second too late to jump. At any rate, the bike landed just before I did, in the middle of the road, with me landing on the left shoulder on my heels, butt, and hands. To this day I do not know what possessed me to put my hands down…bad idea. From that “sitting” position I then bounced forwards into the ditch. Thankfully, there were no signs, culverts, etc. in this ditch and the telephone poles were between the edge of the field and the ditch…so, I avoided hitting anyting. I bounced and rolled about 160 feet to a stop. I say 160 ft. because my friend went back to the accident site later on and “heel to toed” his size twelves 160 times from where my motorcycle made it’s first gash in the road to where I ended up laying in the ditch. I didn’t break a bone. I had blades of grass stuck in my legs, though — sliced in sideways. My hands were torn up from that first bounce. My shoes had about 3/4″ of rubber burned off their soles from that 1st bounce. I had internal injuries to my stomach and kidneys. I ended up black and blue from head to toe. The doctors described it to me by saying that I should imagine dropping a tomato from only about 2 ft high. From the outside, the tomato appears to be OK other than some minor bruising. But…from the inside, it can be all squished up. I healed, though. I am very thankful for my many dirtbike wrecks such that I knew, at least a little bit, about what to do.

40 Toyota April 5, 2010 at 4:44 am

Thank you, we will include this in our instruction manuals.

41 Steve April 5, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Great article and comments! My abdominal area is cramping from laughing so much!

42 kesey April 5, 2010 at 11:10 pm

dude with the pubis symphasis dysplasia…. sack up. Know how many pregnant women get that for MONTHS?? :-)

43 riley hall April 6, 2010 at 12:46 am

i’m an equestrian eventer, and we learn and practice (at a canter) how to bail tuck&roll style from a runaway horse. in some situations, it is far better to bail than stay on… in november, i had to do this from a bolting ex-racehorse at a full gallop at a corner jump (4′ high) with a slipping saddle.. wont bore you with the technical details, but i know if i had tried to keep my seat i would be much worse off today. i broke my leg majorly and five months out, the bone still hasnt healed and is held together in 8 fragments by 2 4″ metal plates and 14 screws. the dr.s say i’m lucky to be walking and will likely be riding in the future. it’s hard to get these things right in real life crisis situations so you should really be sure its the best course of action.

44 Mr. Deal April 6, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Not really a bailout story, but one time I had just backed out of my parking spot and started driving when this guy jumped on the back of my car. I hit the brake hard and the guy just slid all the way from the back and over the front and rolled… Pretty embarrassing for him. He thought I was a buddy of his… Big mistake. haha. I laughed over it and he walked away fine just a seriously bruised ego.

45 Thinkerer April 6, 2010 at 2:49 pm

A colleague of mine had to jump from the trunk of a moving car in rural Brazil, after he’d been locked in by a couple of kidnappers. After he jumped, they shot him in the pelvis – he survived but with the bad medical care he recieved he’s going to have problems the rest of his life. Think before you leap.

46 Hans April 6, 2010 at 9:47 pm

When I was a kid I was riding in the back of a trailer that one of the older kids jumped out of. We were going a decent speed on a gravel road and he just jumped out without warning. He landed on his shoulder, rolled a few times, stood up then sprinted off into the distance. The driver didn’t even notice. Later we saw him, he was fine but for a nasty flesh wound on his arm with bits of rock stick into it.

47 DeathBoy April 8, 2010 at 4:20 pm

I didn’t jump, but I once fell from a car when I was a kid.

I was about 12, on the way to a wedding with my parents and it seems I didn’t close the car door properly.

This was in the days before it was mandatory to wear seat-belts (or indeed have them) in the back of the car, so I wasn’t secured in any way.

Apparently, I leant on the door and immediately fell out and into the road. My parents think we were only doing about 20-25mph (thankfully).

Amazingly, I’m told that I ‘rolled like a stuntman’, and came out of it with nothing worse than a LOT of cuts and bruises (and torn up clothing).

I guess kids really are made out of rubber. Not something I’m in a hurry to repeat.

48 Callum April 8, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Haven’t done it from a car but in the NZ Army we were trained to jump from the back of a moving truck using much the same process as the article. Came in handy a couple of years go when I was towing a trailer of firewood down a step hill on our quad. The ball-joint connecting the trailer to the quad broke and the trailer tail-gated the quad flipping it. I dived and rolled to the side and watched the trailer go one way into a fence and the quad flip several times down the hill. Would have been thrown and possibly hit and injured had I not bailed when I did. Funny thing was that the quad only suffered minor damage.

49 Tedd April 14, 2010 at 3:54 pm

I agree with some of the comments above: a much more useful article would be one describing some of the many things you could do instead of jumping from a moving vehicle. Apart from the kidnapping scenario it’s hard to think of a situation where jumping would be the smartest thing, and that includes the “off a cliff” scenario and the runaway bus scenario. (The best thing to have done in the runaway bus scenario was probably to yard the incompetent driver out of the seat and take over, thereby saving everybody.)

50 SteveO April 15, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Didn’t actually jump from a speeding car. I lived in the sticks and was getting a ‘ride’ from a buddy on a county road. It was doing about forty-five and I was holding on wearing rollerblades. I was holding onto the open passenger door and when I heard my wheels squealing I shouted at the driver to “SLOW DOWN” and what does he do? Hit’s the brakes.

I was already bracing a bit but my feet started to glide under the open door and I knew it was over for me. Somehow my left arm pushed on the body of the car so that I didn’t get wedged under the tires and I did a spread eagle on my butt to keep from rolling into the open door. Slid to a stop some distance later in the ditch. LOTS of road rash on the back of my legs, upper hips, triceps, and upper back. The best part is that the kid panicked, pulled a u-turn (about six inches from my arm) and sped off to home.

About a year later my cousin is in the a car with the same kid driving. They decide to do some car surfing on a dirt road and my cousin is on top. The kid doesn’t remember how fast he was going but the passengers say he was around 45-50 when the driver decided to spice up my cousin’s surfing career by making a fast pull to the side. My cousin falls to the roof of the car and holds on, laughing. So the kid dose a couple more pulls and my cousin falls on the road. I wasn’t there, so I didn’t see what happened, but when I saw my cousin in the hospital later that night he had a massive concussion complete with brain swelling, no memory of that entire day, and only about half of the skin left on his body. I’m also told they couldn’t give him pain meds when cleaning out the wounds since his brain was swelling.

Did I mention that this d-bag driver didn’t want to get in trouble so in stead of calling 911 they brought him back to his uncles house to see if he’d be okay before dumping him on the front steps of our home?!

51 Lizzie April 19, 2010 at 1:09 am

Awesome! I totally wonder what situations I will have to get out of as well, only I usually wonder about the car going into a lake or river and imagine how to get out before it sinks. :)

52 Steven April 20, 2010 at 12:24 pm

I didn’t jump from a moving vehicle but I have ran up and over a moving vehicle headed straight for me. I’m like Jackie Chan.

No great story, just a bunch of young kids with a parent’s car.

In other news: I want to hear more of Tijuana. Go to any Jai Alai matches?

53 Gavin May 13, 2010 at 5:33 pm

now i didn’t jump, i fell, but, it was a ute (pickup) going at around 50km/h on a gravel road and he took a sharp swerve and i fell off the back, cut my back up pretty badly and mild concussion, but all good.

54 thatcoolboarder May 13, 2010 at 6:07 pm

one time when i was longboarding i went to push after a hill but instead stepped on my wheel, i was flung and slid on my hands and toes and then back. pretty sure i scarred part of my back and left elbow. my wrist also kind of hurts

55 Stephen Smith May 18, 2010 at 11:51 pm

A few years back I jumped out of a moving vehicle by choice rather than necessity. My church youth leader was a young, fun loving guy and he liked to see how far we could push ourselves as men. After a milk-chugging contest we were driving the 16 passenger van around dropping everyone off at home. I’m the dumbest, so when my ‘stop’ came he slowed down to maybe 5 or 8 miles per hour. Nothing lethal. And after some peer pressure from him and my classmates, I leaped out. I knew the procedure ‘how to’ because Batman comics told me how, but I didn’t follow them very well. As a result I had a nasty bruise on the back of my head and told my mother I got it while getting out of the church van.

56 Jester July 6, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Sid, obviously you don’t get the point of this article. It’s for last-ditch emergencies, when the alternative is to die, not when you’ve had a spat with your girlfriend and want to leave.

57 Ed July 8, 2010 at 10:01 pm

I never jumped from a car, but we use to ride or hitch the trains that went by my house. They ran past a shopping mall we used to hang out at when we were kids. One time on the way home (I just purchased a 45 RPM record Good loven by the young rascals) a freight was slowing down so I hitched on it for my ride. Before I knew it it picked up speed and felt like it was going 90mph (probably was 30mph)anyway I was by my house and didn’t want to take it into the rail yard and get busted so got ready to jump.I held the record in my teeth and jumped. After rolling I jumped up and was looking for my record. I found it with a nice bite mark taken out! I didn’t have the piece in my mouth and never felt doing it. Needless to say the tucking thing is a good Idea, PS get a mouth piece.

58 Ed July 8, 2010 at 10:04 pm

PS that picture at the beginning of the post is from its a mad mad mad world! Jimmy Durante didn’t make it!

59 Mike July 19, 2010 at 8:28 pm

while ive never jumped from a car, back when i was a kid i built a gokart with my dad and many hours of fun were had with it. One time racing down the hill (this thing went FAST) i could see one of the screws holding the steering cable pulley was about to snap -luckily i was close to the grassy edge on the road so i bailed and rolled just as it snapped. I was fine but the gokart flattened a neighbours rose bush.

60 Manchester July 26, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I was standing in the bed of a 59 Chevy Apache trying to reach into the cab through the drivers side window. We turned and, naturally, I was flung from the truck. It was quite surreal and perhaps it was because it happened so fast that I didn’t have time to react, but I made a complete flip and rolled head over heels from the road into the grass. Besides tucking my head for the impact, I was mostly limp and my momentum did all of the work. I immediately stood up surprised, but unscathed.

61 Alex August 19, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I jumped out of a moving car once. I was a freshman in highschool and a buddy of mine was givin me a ride home with a few other friends. They said they weren’t gonna slow down for my house, so going about 40 mph I bailed out. I was younger so i didnt think about the decision much and just jumped feet first. that was a dumb idea. I felt like my arm was broken a bit afterwords but everything ended up fine. Had some cool lookin roadrash and funny story in the end of it.

62 Peter July 14, 2013 at 11:32 pm


You are grouping things. It would be grossly irresponsible to suggest anything like what your friend did.

It is not irresponsible in any way shape or form to suggest it as an alternative to being propelled inexorably to one’s death at high speed.

63 Farrell July 20, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Someone mentioned in the comments about how a small reduction in velocity can increase your chance of survival, traveling around i’ve met some characters. One Italian guy I met had been traveling through various countries, he would ride trains as close to the border as he could get and jump off just before the check point, his method which I can’t say works or I have ever seen but he claims has had great success, he takes his pack (similar to an ILBE) ties it to him, throws it out first and then jumps. He explained that since the bag hits first it is already beginning the deceleration process enabling your body to decelerate quicker and safer. He also said he looked for dirt berms to help him stop. He claimed to only have a few minor scrapes after doing this.

64 Michael July 24, 2013 at 8:48 am

I’ve never had to bail out of a car, but I’ll make sure to keep some sunglasses on me at all times whilst traveling.

65 Abbass (Steve) August 2, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Back in 1986 after a day of pub crawling with a couple of mates on a Melbourne Cup day and when I lived in Karratha I jumped, fell or flew (only possibilities I can think of) from the back of a light truck with a 1.8 metre cage around it. Going at 60-80kph, hard to be sure because I was very drunk and don’t remember any of that part. Only awakening to consciousness as I fell face first into a prickle bush. Like a brittle kind of razor wire ball with spines that stick into your flesh up to an inch and break off.

I was in agony but otherwise barely conscious then but knew enough to recognise the lights of the Whim Creek Hotel in the otherwise dark expanse of a Pilbara Night Sky. I staggered back in that direction for probably a kilometre and that’s how I was able to triangulate the point at which I’d exited the mail truck and the likley speed when we got back together a week later. My mates were driving to Port Hedland to deliver the mail and I was along for the ride as still really part of the day of drinking I mentioned. They apparently threw me into the back when I passed out after getting beaten up by a couple of truckies and drove off after our session ended at the Whim Creek Hotel which was owned by a great legend of a man called Pat. Blind as a bat but could beat any man at pool.

I had to stagger and crawl through more prickle bushes in the dark, though my eyes soon adjusted so I could avoid most of them, and two barbed wire fences before I reached the back of the hotel where Pat who was 90% blind started shooting at me with a .22 thinking I was some blackfella come to pilfer from the back of the pub as they were sometimes inclined to do. Since I was nearly dead already and so parched I could only croak “Paaaart paaarat” communicating to him it was I Steve who fixed his cash registers sometimes and drank at his bar. Thankfully we managed to communicate enough and he realised who it was before he shot me. He gave me a bed until a passing truckie agreed to cart me back to Karratha to the hospital a few hours later.

A couple of broken ribs and a lot of painful scrapes everywhere and festering bits of prickle bush coming out of me everywhere for a few weeks was the worst I had to pay. A set of denim clothes and a leather jacket shredded and one boot which went somewhere in the hour or so I made my journey into the Pilbara desert before waking up as described and headed back again.

Not bad really for having gotten over a 1.8 metre fence around a truck already a metre off the ground moving at 80 kph onto a hard gravel and bitumin surface and the journey through hell it entailed in getting home again. I don’t reccomend it though and wouldn’t have attempted it if I’d not consumed enough Jack Daniels that day to kill me three times over just from alcohol poisoning if I tried it today.

Disclaimer, I don’t even drink today I converted to Islam and give thanks to Allah that I am free of that poison. Not preaching, you men can do what you want but I’d never reccomend this particular way to exit a vehicle.

But if you want to jump from 3 metres off a truck moving at 80kph the following are what I learned from doing it.
Try to be conscious so you can at least control how and where you land.
Try to choose something softer than bitumin and gravel on the shoulder of most national highways in Australia.
Do it in the daylight so that if it does knock you uncscious doing it, you can more easily and comfortably navigate home again when you do regain consciousness and find you’re a long way from home. After 50 years it still ranks as the nastiest thing I ever had to do to myself.

Great blog.

Cheers and Allah Hafiz.

66 Abbass (Steve) August 2, 2013 at 10:45 pm

I just realised I capitalised Pilbara Night Sky when I had already hit the send button and was just reading as it went. I guess there is some Jungian interpretation of that. I still think of The Pilbara and Kimberley and words like Night and Sky, Rivers and Wildlife and even People as archetypes. After twenty years I still can’t get used to cities where the only things worth being capitalised are company logos.

67 Andy Bates August 20, 2013 at 7:10 am

Not quite the same but I was once struck by a bus travelling at about 30 mph. The impact with the bus was relatively soft but all I can remember thinking, whilst quite literally flying through the air is, “Roll! And don’t go under the wheels!” I hit the road with my right hand and rolled across my right shoulder to left hip aikido stylee, came to my feet on the pavement (clear of the bus), then collapsed, unable to speak, with concussion. When I came back to the real world about 3 hours later, I’d escaped with a badly bruised elbow and a few scratches. I later saw the CCTV footage which, in retrospect, was hilarious: impact; ‘flight’; professional roll out; collapse into gibbering semi consciousness like a puppet with its strings cut. :)

68 Stephanie September 4, 2013 at 3:16 am

July 2013 while driving on the freeway with my ex boyfriend who was in the passanger seat I had to jump out of my car traveling at 60 mph to save my life. my ex boyfriend and I had gotten into a heated argument while I was driving he then decited to pull out a gun on me (45 Magnum) I tried to exit the freeway but was forced to stay on and to keep going. at that point I new I had to get away from him or I was going to be shot. I didnt think twice I opend the car door and while holding it open I put both feet out thinking I could just stand but couldnt so as my feet were draging I pushed off with the steering wheel making the car veer away from me I hit the ground landing on my right side, and I slid as I roll on my back and on to my left side. I never thought of how bad I was going to get hurt or that I could of killed my self. all I new is that I was not going to be shot point blank in the head leaving my kids with no mother. I suffered 1st, 2nd & 3rd degree burns from road rash across my back shoulders, forearms, elbows, right side upper leg and hip, upper part of my butt, and from letting my feet drag I suffered damage to the outter part of my right foot and toes. lets say I was lucky!

69 Conor October 24, 2013 at 11:37 am

I have done this several times, there was no particular need for it and I did it onto pavement. The first few times were just fine and an amazing adrenaline rush. The last time however I messed up my landing and put too much shoulder into the ground effectively breaking my clavicle. It didn’t hurt, it just made it hard to move, I was recovered in a month, and I’ve decided that the next time I jump out of a moving vehicle it’s going to be a necessity.

70 renea January 21, 2014 at 1:44 pm

i jumped from a car as it was travelling about 70 mph to escape (i was kidnapped) i had minimal injuries 3 broken ribs, broken nose, broken elbow and road rash

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