The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 210: Hollywood Car Crash Clichés

Premier Date: January 18, 2014

If a car crashes through a sheet of glass being carried by two workers, it will destroy the glass without injuring the workers.


To represent the humans holding the glass, Adam built two tall cylinders covered in foam rubber and plastic sheeting, with red liquid inside to simulate blood. He and Jamie decided to test three types of glass: tempered, laminated, and ordinary plate glass, each 0.25 inches (6.4 mm) thick.

Each sheet of glass was held vertically between the two human analogs as the MythBusters drove into it at 30 miles per hour (48 km/h). The plate glass shattered into shards that inflicted a small number of slash wounds on just one analog. The laminated glass crumpled into several large pieces and did not inflict any injuries. The tempered glass broke into many tiny pieces that surprisingly caused multiple puncture wounds to both analogs. Given these results, Adam and Jamie classified the myth as busted.

A sport utility vehicle will flip over if it is hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.


At the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, the Build Team fired an RPG at the front of a stationary SUV. The projectile burrowed into the engine block, but the vehicle did not flip or even move significantly. Next, the team fired an RPG at a second SUV as it rolled downhill along a track, and the results were the same. The team declared the myth busted at this point and Grant noted that RPGs are designed to penetrate armor, not flip vehicles.

To achieve a flip by any means necessary, they mounted a high-pressure nitrogen piston in the engine compartment of an SUV, oriented to launch the vehicle upward. A dummy RPG and gasoline rigged to burn where synchronized with the piston to produce a Hollywood-style effect. The cannon eventually worked, causing the SUV to flip partway backward in a large ball of fire.

A large truck driving at high speed can plow through two lanes of stopped traffic and continue forward without stopping.


This Myth called for another appearance of “the Beast”, a dump truck previously seen in the JATO Rocket Car 3 and Crash Cushion. Adam and Jamie welded a very heavy steel bumper to its front, then set up 10 cars in two rows to simulate a traffic jam. When they drove the Beast into the cars at 40 miles per hour (64 km/h), they were able to push through only about half of the cars before coming to a stop among the wreckage, busting the myth.

Undeterred, Adam and Jamie decided to modify the Beast to make it more effective at splitting the traffic. They built a large semi-conical plow out of thick steel and attached it to the front of the truck. This time they set up 16 cars and again drove at 40 miles per hour (64 km/h). The plow succeeded in lifting and separating all of the cars and they were able to continue driving without losing much speed.