Day 5: Jump from a moving car
I consider myself to a fairly intelligent individual. Maybe not always the brightest, but hey, I went to college, I’m a journalist, I play Cranium, etc.
But no matter how hard I try, Newton’s first law has never sat quite right with me. I have been reciting it backwards, forwards and sideways since the age of eight, but to this day, some minute fraction of my brain, maybe even just a small family of obnoxious, contumacious neurons, still says, “Nope, I don’t buy it.”
Every body remains in a state of rest or uniform motion unless it is acted upon by an external unbalanced force.
I accept it. I know it’s a fact. I also know that it’s the basis of the world’s understanding of motion. But some part of me to this day wants to say, “Newton, come on, dude - every body remains in motion? Really? Every single one? I smell just a dash of embellishment.”
All joking aside, my idea for today’s experience spawned from a idiotic hypothesis I’ve had since I was a kid. For years, I have thought that if I jumped from of a moving car that is going anywhere between 0-25mph, I would land on my feet unharmed and not be dramatically propelled forward in the direction of the vehicle.
I knew deep down this hypothesis was wrong – but those marbles rolling around in my head refused to listen.
- I was sitting on the trunk of a black Honda Accord going south on 8th Street, NE in Washington DC while the car was moving at approximately 17mph.
- The car picked up speed quickly, and I nearly fell off after a second burst of speed around 40ft down the road. The car slowed slightly at 80ft, at which point I jumped off.
- I was hanging my left side slightly out over a small spoiler on the back of the vehicle. I believe my left foot hit the ground first, followed by my right. I tried quickly stepping backward with my right foot while angling my body away from the person filming the event. But I fell backwards after one step.
- I tucked my left shoulder downward and rolled backward diagonally on my left side, folding tightly in a ball. I recall my head, which was protected by a helmet, grazing the ground. The roll, which seemed rather dramatic and slow, left me on my knees facing Northeast.
- I believe I said “That really hurt,” before getting up from my knees, which I rested on for roughly 5 seconds.
- I then called for the person timing the jump to make sure they had stopped the clock.
- I’m pretty sure I said something along the lines of, “I’m not doing that again,” and then walked toward the person with the camera.
What actually happened on Day 5? Find out here.
- I estimate that 12 seconds passed from the time the car started moving to the time I was on my knees.
How long did it take? Find out here.