The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 219: Road Rage

Premier Date: July 31, 2014

During a car chase, it is very difficult for the pursuing driver to use his car to push his target off the road.


Adam and Jamie set up a theoretical chase course on a runway and began their testing with two cars of equal size. Each man was able to push the other off the road easily during three duels, with two successes for Jamie and one for Adam. Next, they chose cars of unequal weights, a 5,000-pound (2,300 kg) car for Adam and an 8,000-pound (3,600 kg) SUV for Jamie. Using conventional driving methods, Jamie easily pushed Adam off the road, while Adam could not significantly affect Jamie’s path. However, when Adam used a PIT maneuver, he was able to cause Jamie to spin out. Since all the vehicles they tested could be readily incapacitated, they classified the myth as busted.

A Chevrolet Corvette can act as a ramp, enabling a Ford Mustang to do a barrel roll in the air, and both cars can drive away without any issues. (Based on a stunt in the movie Wanted.)


At a runway, the Build Team filmed high-speed footage of cars similar to those used in the movie to determine how braking and acceleration affected the height of their bumpers. They found that they could lower Corvette’s bumper by three inches and raise the Mustang’s by four inches.

After modifying the cars’ suspensions to make those effects permanent, they rigged a pulley system on the runway to collide the cars at high speed. The cars collided and were both destroyed without replicating the movie stunt. The team then modified another pair of cars to have an even greater difference in bumper height, and reran the test. Again, both cars were destroyed by the collision, but Tory pointed out that the wreckage of the Mustang did do a barrel roll.

Having busted the original myth, the team decided to replicate the result by adding a reinforced ramp to the front of the Corvette. A successful test did launch the Mustang into the air intact, but it landed upside down and the Corvette was heavily damaged.

A novice driver can tip a car sideways onto two wheels and maintain balance with ease, similar to some Hollywood films.


Adam and Jamie built a ramp at the Alameda runway and used it to launch a car onto two wheels. After several hours of trying, they could not control its course or maintain the position for more than a few seconds. At this point, they called in veteran stunt driver James Smith for some lessons on tilted driving. They had more success under his supervision, but Jamie suffered a whiplash injury and Adam flipped the car over. Declaring the myth busted, they noted that two-wheel driving is possible but can only be done safely after extensive training.