The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 211: Car Chase Chaos / Animal Antics

Premier Date: January 25, 2014

In the following three myths, Adam and Jamie investigated car chase clichés seen in movies.

A passenger in a moving car can easily reach over and steer while the driver performs another task with his/her hands.


Adam and Jamie set up a course with various curves on a decommissioned runway. They each drove the course alone to establish an average control time of 62 seconds. Then, they took turns in each role in the cooperative scenario (with the driver doing nothing but operating the pedals) and each run matched or beat the control. However, when they added the multitasking element by having the driver shoot at targets with a paintball gun while also operating the pedals, their times dropped off significantly and neither person was able to shoot the targets accurately. They declared the myth busted and described cooperative driving as much more difficult than movies depict.

A driver and a passenger can switch seats while inside a car moving at speed.


Before proceeding with the next test, Adam and Jamie cut open the top of the test car to allow for a bird’s eye camera view. They swapped seats twice during the course of the run and completing the run in 63 seconds, only 1 second slower than the control. Declaring the myth plausible, they noted that it would be unreasonable and unsafe to try it in a real-world situation with other cars present.

A passenger in a car can dump an incapacitated driver out of the driver-side door and take control while the car is moving at speed.


For this test, Adam and Jamie buckled Buster into the driver’s seat and took turns driving the car from the front passenger’s seat while simultaneously trying to dump Buster out of the car through the driver-side door. The other MythBuster rode in the back seat with an extra set of pedals for safety. Jamie struggled with the task, with Buster getting caught in the seat belt multiple times and only finally getting dumped outside in the final moments of the run, which took significantly longer than the control. However, Adam fared much better, quickly dumping Buster after briefly struggling with the driver’s side door and completing the run just 2 seconds longer than the control. While noting it was not easy, they declared the myth plausible.

In the following myths, the Build Team tested methods for repelling various types of animals.

Bottles filled with water deter cats.


The Build Team set up a cat-friendly area with a planter box and a large cat tower. For the control test, they set four adult cats and four kittens in the area and monitored their behavior remotely for one hour; seven of the eight cats ventured into the planter box and/or climbed the tower. Tory and Grant then set small water bottles around the planter box and on the tower before reintroducing the cats to the environment. Within 15 minutes, the results were the same as the control, with seven of the eight cats venturing into the forbidden areas.

Lion feces deters cats.


Kari spread the lion feces around the perimeter of the planter box and stacked it in cups on each shelf of the tower. Although the cats paused momentarily to investigate, the results eventually matched the control with seven of eight cats in the forbidden areas.

Aluminum foil deters cats.


Despite the planter box being completely covered in foil, all eight cats entered it at least once.

(This myth was cut from the U.S. airing but was shown in the Asia-Pacific region.)

Cat litter and mothballs deter snakes.


For this test, the Build Team constructed an Indiana Jones-themed set with multiple attractions for the snakes (dark areas, heating coils placed underneath the soil floor, and warm-bodied Tory sitting in a corner) on one side of the set. For the control test, the snakes were released on the other side of the set and 18 of the 21 breeds crossed the set to reach the attractive areas. When a barrier of cat litter and mothballs was used to divide the set, the snakes initially appeared agitated but ultimately the same number of snakes crossed the barrier.

Cayenne pepper deters snakes.


The cayenne pepper appeared to make the snakes hesitate briefly, but ultimately 17 of 21 snakes (just one less than the control) crossed the barrier.

Hemp rope deters snakes.


While the snakes were slow to get moving, 19 of 21 snakes (more than the control) eventually crossed the hemp rope barriers.

(This myth was cut from the U.S. airing but was shown online.)

Ammonia-soaked rags deters bears.


A grizzly bear named Baloo was brought in for this experiment. The Build Team placed a minivan with a food-filled cooler in the backseat near a forest enclosure, and set up hot wire perimeter to keep the bear contained. During the control with no deterrents, the bear managed to open the sliding passenger door and remove the cooler without doing much damage to the minivan. With the ammonia-soaked rags in place, the bear showed no signs of being deterred and entered the minivan via the front passenger door.

Cayenne pepper deters bears.


To the Build Team’s astonishment, the bear was so repulsed by the cayenne pepper that rather than go near the minivan, he found his way through the hot wire and tried to walk off into the woods before being corralled by his handler.