keep hands & arms in the vehicle at all times
February 26, 2011 1:02 PM   Subscribe

Have you ever jumped out of a moving car? What's it like?

Please tell about the time you jumped out of a moving car. Why did you? What happened when you hit the ground? Did you try to roll? Where you hurt? What did it feel like? How did the other passengers react?
posted by Hoenikker to Society & Culture (25 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I didn't jump, but I fell out of a moving vehicle. My dad had an old Duster and the door didn't latch right. One minute I was in the front seat, the next minute I'm sitting in the middle of the road and my sister mentions casually to my dad that I fell out. I didn't even try to roll, just did. Scraped my ankles. My dad freaked out, and my sisters thought it was hilarious.
posted by bolognius maximus at 1:07 PM on February 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

I once jumped off a slowly moving bus. I landed on my feet, but kept moving sideways. I'm sure there's a physics based reason that happened, but it was cool nonetheless. It was sort of like how when you've been spinning in circles, your brain knows on one hand that you're stood still, but it can't work out why you're moving on the other.
posted by Solomon at 1:10 PM on February 26, 2011

A couple of months ago someone in my city jumped from a moving car with an estimated speed 25 mph or less. She died.
posted by something something at 1:14 PM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

I had the same experience as bolo maximus. I was 3. The Belt loop to my tuff skins caught the door, it swung open and I went with it. No Harm, no foul but a hysterical mother. Car Seats are a GOOD Thing people!!!
posted by pearlybob at 1:19 PM on February 26, 2011

I know that a member of the old Mickey Mouse club was permanently paralyzed after doing this. I saw it on E!.
posted by anniecat at 1:36 PM on February 26, 2011

I jumped off the back of a (slowly) moving truck many times in my youth. Not sure if that counts! I learned fast that it's smart to keep your legs moving. :-)
posted by circular at 1:37 PM on February 26, 2011

I jumped off the back of a golf cart going maybe 10mph because I was young and thought I could handle the landing. I jumped off backwards so I was facing in the direction of travel, fell down, and stupidly lashed out to grab the cart and be dragged for a little bit. This ripped a hole in the right knee of the chinos I was wearing at the time, and then scraped up the skin underneath. This was long enough ago that all I have now is a faint scar, and I use those pants when I go rock climbing.

It's important to note I was the only sober person on that golf cart.
posted by cardioid at 1:48 PM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

There's a hitchhiking forum that actually tells you how to do this in a way that minimizes your (still pretty high) risk of injury.

(I have eaten dirt rolling out of the way of a car headed for me; it was unpleasant and I got a few bruises, but I did not jump from the vehicle in question.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 1:55 PM on February 26, 2011

fairytale of los angeles, that demands an explanation! Gangsters trying to break a few bones, or just what the tramp from the Back to the Future movies would call a “crazy drunk driver”?
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 2:03 PM on February 26, 2011

I fell out of a yellow 1979 Ford Cortina estate by the Seacombe Ferry in Wallasey. I was 5.

My mum, two grandma's, sister and I were crammed into the back; we were going to a wedding or something. I was on the far left hand side. My Dad didn't slam the door properly. As we went around the roundabout the latch failed and I tumbled out. We were doing maybe 20 mph at the most.

My only memory is of waking up on my back as a BT van swerved to avoid running me over. I propped myself up on my elbows and saw the yellow Cortina rocking on its springs under braking. All the skin on the left of my torso had been scraped off - I remember that there were little specks of gravel and sand in the wound. I passed out a lot - I don't remember what happens but presumably we went to the hospital. Actually, thinking about it, I can remember getting a lolly off the doctor for being brave - though that could be from something else.

Thirty or so years later, my Dad's eyes fill with tears when he talks about it - or rather, when I talk about it and he tries not to.
posted by Jofus at 2:07 PM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

I once jumped off a slowly moving bus. I landed on my feet, but kept moving sideways. I'm sure there's a physics based reason that happened, but it was cool nonetheless.

Inertia. There's no significant difference between walking off a bus moving 10 miles an hour onto a stationary platform, and walking off of a stationary bus onto a platform moving at 10 miles an hour.
posted by empath at 2:14 PM on February 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

I watched a woman jump out of a car ahead of me on the freeway. The car had been weaving and it pulled over to the right shoulder and started to slow down. The car was moving around 30 mph when the front passenger door opened and a woman dived out. She did not fall butt first -- she lead with her shoulders and torso. She hit the pavement and immediately was dragged fully out of the car. She rolled several times before coming to rest.

I pulled over along with three or four other cars to help, and I called 911. She was lying on the ground in shock, but surprisingly, she did not seem seriously physically hurt. The left side of her jeans were torn and bloody, as that was the surface that first struck the ground. I don't recall if her torso or arms were also hurt. I think her left hip and thigh took the brunt of the force. She was not run over by the car and she didn't seem to have serious injuries, and she was able to get up and walk -- with help -- back to the car.

We got her into the passenger seat and crouched next to her, talking to her and reassuring her as she sobbed. I assume that she and the driver (a male) had been fighting, or that something was seriously wrong inside the car to make her jump, so I don't know what of her reaction was from the fall and what was an existing mental state. The driver of the car never got out.

Then suddenly a minivan full of FBI agents pulled up. (The freeway in question is between Washington DC and Dulles airport, so it's not out of the question that FBI guys would just happen by.) I and the rest of the bystanders stepped back as the FBI guys quickly and competently took charge.

I was watching from a spot in front of the car when I heard the driver start the engine. I heard the FBI agents raise their voices a bit as they told the woman and the driver that the best thing would be to stay put and wait for the ambulance. I had a flash of intuition that standing in front of the car was not a safe place to be, so I stepped aside. The woman suddenly pulled her door shut and the driver floored it, peeling away onto the freeway. The FBI guys dashed back to the minivan and took off in hot pursuit.

The rest of us innocent bystanders looked at each other and shrugged. One by one they got in their cars and left. I, having called 911, felt compelled to wait for the police car, ambulance, and two fire trucks that showed up about three minutes later. I gave them a description of the car and its license plate and tried to explain what had happened only minutes earlier, of which there was now no trace.

I never found out what happened. My only consolation is that I got to tell the police "Federal agents are in pursuit" with a totally straight face.
posted by woot at 2:40 PM on February 26, 2011 [35 favorites]

Classmate of my daughter's jumped out of a slowly moving car. He landed on his head, had a bad concussion and multiple seizures. Not good.
posted by leslies at 3:10 PM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

My cousin jumped out of the family minivan as it was pulling into the driveway and broke his arm. He said it was like stepping onto the moving sidewalk at the airport when you weren't expecting to.
posted by TooFewShoes at 3:14 PM on February 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

I've never jumped out of a moving car but I have two broadly similar things. I once climbed up onto a slowly moving train and then jumped off the other side. I did shoulder roll and then went on my way with no injuries.

I've also been knocked off my my bicycle, in a race, at 30mph. I went down on my right side and basically scraped my entire right side and lots of my left side. I remember a sort of tumbling sensation that seemed to go on for a very long time. Eventually I slid to a stop on my stomach. My friend Mark who was behind me had, at some point, stopped his front wheel on my armpit, which caused him to catapult off his bike and break his collarbone and arm. I didn't break any bones but it did severely damage my bike.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 3:26 PM on February 26, 2011

When I was 17, I jumped backwards out of the back seat of a 4-door Chevette that was sliding down an icy hill towards a river. I landed on my shoulders and did a reverse somersault. 2 of the other 3 in the car followed my lead and then we managed to grab the open doors and turn it sideways before it stopped on the rough shoulder.

The one of us wearing ice-boots broke both wrists hanging on. One of us had a tire cross their leg-no breakage-nice imprint. I had stiff shoulders for a few days and a cracked rib or two from one of the car doors whacking me as it spun around.

Thanks for making me remember feeling invulnerable. Good times.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 3:42 PM on February 26, 2011

I was screwing around and standing on the side step of my friend's Blazer and hanging onto the roofrack. He started moving, and then gunned the engine and I let go. We couldn't have been going more than a few MPH, but damn, it sure seems fast when the ground is coming up at you. Did not get hurt, thankfully, but it taught me a very important lesson about kinetic energy.

Sort of like my friend who was steadying a log for a tree trimming crew. The log started to fall in a non-expected way, and the foreman said "let go!". My friend did not, because he is "strong enough". He popped into the air and then lost half the skin on his fingers on the way back down the rope.

Lesson: fast and heavy are faster and heavier than common sense would have us think.
posted by gjc at 3:45 PM on February 26, 2011

I've never jumped out of a car, but I was bumped by a car while riding my motorcycle and hit the ground at about 25 MPH. (I was lanesplitting, and the car changed lanes into me.) It happened too quickly to make any conscious decision about whether to roll or not (although as I started to crash I thought "this isn't right..."). I hit the ground with my left side; I hurt my ankle, my riding pants were chewed through above the knee (and I still have a scar on that knee from roadrash), the palms of my gloves were trashed, and I scraped the chinbar of my helmet on the ground. If I hadn't been wearing full gear, I would have been in substantially worse shape.
posted by asterix at 4:31 PM on February 26, 2011

When I was 17 I jumped out of my Civic while I was driving (I was alone in the car). The jumping out part was totally fine (actually really exhilarating - ah, to be 17 again), but the jumping back in part was TERRIBLE.

I was driving down a well-lit, but not busy residential street. I undid my seatbelt, opened the door, hopped out of the driver's seat, ran along beside it, and then jumped back in.

Like I said above, the jumping out part was wonderful - I felt like an action hero, but I basically gave myself a concussion jumping back in - I whacked my head SO HARD against the frame of the car and spent the next few minutes sobbing over the pain. I was kind of a total moron when I was in high school. I'm not sure why I did it, I guess to feel like a badass (it worked).
posted by vakker at 4:46 PM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

I fell out of a friend's moving car as it went around a corner when I was around 11 or 12 (the seatbelts were cut off because "stupid government can't tell me what to do"). Same memory as bolognius maximus - I was in the car, and then I was on the side of the road with a bunch of scrapes and raw skin on my hands and knees. I have less memory of the actual fall than I have of my friend's dad laughing at me while I was terrified to even get back in.
posted by Mchelly at 4:48 PM on February 26, 2011

I jumped out of a moving car that was slowing down from perhaps 25 mph-15 mph. I had been planning the jump, so I was expecting to roll - and I did. I banged up my left side but was largely unharmed. I don't recommend it, but since I had some advance notice that it was going to happen, I was able to plan for it. I was only seventeen at the time, which probably helped.
Just to expand on this theme somewhat, I have also jumped out of the back of a speedboat. THAT was just plain stupid. I am amazed that I walked (or swam) away from that idiocy with my brainstem intact. Water impacts are HARD and they HURT, and I got my bell rung so goddamn bad, it took me a few moments to figure which way was up. Drugs may have been involved.
posted by msali at 6:31 PM on February 26, 2011

I jumped out of the driver's seat of my truck once. This was on a giant flat dry lakebed where people regularly drove landsailing rigs. So, it seemed like a good idea at the time....I think I put the truck in neutral and just jumped out. My girlfriend, at the time, in the passenger seat was not amused. It hurt like fuck. Like far, far more than I would have expected and I was going really slow (like maybe 10 mph or less). I think I got pretty bruised up.
posted by fieldtrip at 7:14 PM on February 26, 2011

I jumped out of a car on prom night (not in my dress, this was afterwards), just for the sake of saying I had done it. My boyfriend at the time pleaded with me not to do this, but I had gotten it in my head that I wanted to tuck-and-roll. He went into a parking lot so I could do this, and I imagine we were going slowly (10mph maybe). I wasn't hurt at all when I hit the ground, and I did roll, I couldn't control the rolling. That night, going to sleep, I kept playing the scene over and over in my head and thinking about how easily I could have been hit by the car after jumping out, and it gave me an anxiety attack. I still feel anxious when I remember doing it.
posted by srrh at 8:16 PM on February 26, 2011

I'm not terribly surprised that so many people have falling/jumping-out-of-cars stories; I grew up hearing that my father and most of his siblings had fallen out of the car at one time or another (there were 8 kids). Some of those gravel county roads in Kansas are banked pretty steeply, and car door latches did not used to be nearly as effective. They tell it for laughs now, and I don't think anybody ever got seriously hurt, but it must've been kind of worrisome for my grandparents.

When I was younger and stupider, I gunned my car up the driveway with both of my sisters sitting on the trunk. H jumped off; CA fell. I got to drive her to the hospital to get her busted arm looked at. Some day I may stop feeling like a total asshole about this.
posted by brennen at 8:59 PM on February 26, 2011

I've jumped into slowly moving cars a number of times, but never out of one.
posted by yohko at 2:30 AM on March 7, 2011

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