Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dark Arts for Good Guys: Break on Through to the other side

One of the best weapons for getting out of a crisis isn't necessarily a gun. A decent size vehicle, even one that may not run so fantastic has more versatility and overall practical use than a pistol...not that you can't have both of course.

Faced with breaching a road block made from stationary vehicles a car makes a very serviceable battering ram. But like everything, there is a right way and a wrong way. Do it the right way and you not only surprise everyone, but you may also disable a few of the bad guys cars along the way. It just won't won't be in show room condition afterwards.

Do it wrong and you're gonna have a bad case of whiplash from the impact and a bloody nose from the airbag for the next thirty seconds until someone rearranges your school girl beauty with a magazine full of copper.

So first things first: Hands on the wheel. Just like the old man said, hands at ten and two or at nine and three.


Should the airbag deploy while you ram through the barricade your hands are going to be knocked away from the steering wheel in approximately 60-80 milliseconds after the first moment of vehicle contact. When your hands are at 10/2 or 9/3 they get knocked back and out of the way, but not into you. This allows you to quickly recover and get back on the wheel.

If you hands are in the 12 O'clock position when the airbag is you're going to break your nose, probably some fingers and maybe your face altogether. Why? Your hand is between the rapidly deploying airbag and your face. And airbags impact with some 200lbs of force, so instead of getting a face full of polyester goodness you get your own fist flying at you like Mike Tyson.

This applies on the beltway just as much as an evac out of Panama.

Your Fist+Your Face+Physics=Not good.

Ram through a barricade correctly and there is little likelihood that your airbag will actually deploy. Airbags are designed to open in frontal and near-frontal collisions that are of a severe nature. Think striking a parked car of similar size across the full front of each vehicle.

So how fast do you need to be going when you hit the bad guys cars to break through?

Between 35-45 mph is best when you make initial impact. Once you ram keep on the accelerator to force your car through and push the barricading cars to the side.But what keeps the airbags from going off?

If you try to ram the center of a broad sided car for example you displace too much force over too wide an area (essentially fighting the entire weight and body of the other car). This is where the airbag sensors read as you essentially hitting something akin to a brick wall and deploy.

The other car will move, but not out of the way. And along with deploying the airbags, it may also disable your engine temporarily or permanently. Preventing you from getting out of the kill zone and leaving you at its door step.

However you can force barricading vehicles out of your way, you just have to aim for the right targets.

General rule of thumb: Aim your car's headlight for the center of the tire of the car in front of you.

The reason it's unlikely airbags deploy here is because while it may look like you are trying to move two cars out of the way, you are actually only forcing away 1/2 of each car, and thus they are movable.

In most cases the people who set up road blocks are not use to having them breached, so they tend to park cars front to rear. Generally, its the rear of cars that are the lighter half and they will move first and farther out of your way.

As you approach a barricade at around 50 or so feet out brake and drop your speed to around 40 mph but no lower!!! At the moment right before impact floor it and stay on it, even though your mind is going to want to brake at the moment of impact. I can not stress this enough..... Don't!

You need every bit of inertia to force your way through and keep going.

At impact the other cars will start moving out of the way. Since these vehicles are stationary there will be resistance, hence the holding down of the accelerator. Tires are going to be squealing (yours) and metal crunching and grinding (everyones), but they will move out of your way.

As you force your way through the cars may try to momentarily drag along side. This won't last more than a split second. If you are fortunate and these are the bad guys only vehicles you may luck out and blow out one or two of their tires in the process.

You are creating an open wound the barricade that allows you and anyone else behind you to follow.Push on through and get out of the kill zone.

Your car may cough an sputter but, as long as its moving you keep moving until it quits or you are a safe enough distance away to abandon it.

The key things to remember:
  • Hands are ten and two or nine and three.
  • Headlight is your front sight, center of the tire is your target.
  • Approach at about 50-55mph
  • Brake to 40ish mph at about 50 feet out
  • Accelerate right before impact and all the way through
  • Do not brake
  • Do not brake
  • Pray
Special thanks to Matchbox for their five pack for $5.00 in making this posting possible.


Matthew said...

Blogger armed_and_christian said...

Good stuff, as always! Thanks.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 8:38:00 AM
Anonymous aczarnowski said...

Thanks for the matchbox pictures. Worth 1000 words.

The additional words in the post were also very, very interesting. Thanks for those to!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 9:21:00 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd guess hitting the back ends of two cars parked back to back would be even better since those ends would be lighter to move, but perhaps makers of roadblocks know that and make a point of not parking that way. What about hitting the back of one car and front of the next. I'd guess that would work, that the imbalance wouldn't be a big issue.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 9:47:00 AM
Anonymous Rick in NY said...

Matt, excellent info. Especially the last line, it never hurts to have Him helping. Thanks.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 11:05:00 AM
Anonymous threadbndr said...

I can attest to the airbags with hands at 10 and 2. The Marine!Goth was approaching a stop light. He had the green and was going straight, so he had the right of way, but the oncoming idiot was not paying attention (on the cell phone) and started to turn right in front of him.

MG locked it down, but slid into the guy anyway and the airbag went off. His back seat passenger was fine, the cadet riding shotgun had a bruise across her chest from the seatbelt locking. The MG had a bloody nose and bruises from wrist to elbow - all from the airbag.

And oh, btw, it is VERY difficult to get that powdery stuff in the airbag out of dress blues........

I would also note that if there is any clearance to make an end run around the blockade, that would be the best option? Up on the sidewalk, over the curb, whatever?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 4:32:00 PM

Anonymous said...

A continued thanks for the writing you do here. Phenomenal reading.

Anonymous said...

wow nice use of the matchbox cars! very inventive.

Maybe at some point you could write a post filling in some of the details about yourself and your background. I think all of your readers would like to hear more.

Keith said...

Again good stuff. So the key to a proper hasty roadblock would be parking the cars so that they overlap?

Anonymous said...

Would be the best way to construct a road block be something like this: |\\\| With the cars parked at an 45 degree angle down the road, overlapping slightly?

Anonymous said...

Boy they didn't teach that at Boy Scout Camp!

Armed Texan said...

If you have the time while acquiring the escape vehicle, it might be a good idea to pull the cover on the fuse panel and remove the fuse for the airbag. I haven't seen a car yet that didn't have a fuse for the airbag and the panel is almost always near the driver's seat.

James R. Rummel said...

Good post.

Anonymous said...

Good post. They do teach us to hit a car at the rear rather then the front as the (usually) lighter rear-end will tend to pivot around the (usually)heavier front end. 'Course that only works if you have room to slip past the rear end after you smack it.

Anonymous said...

What about vehicles with fuel impact cutoff switches as many Fords have?

staghounds said...

Excelent presentation! Especially with the toy cars. So I offer, for your toy car wreck pleasure, crash bonsai.

Hard Shell said...

Good Approach

Noneedtobemean said...

Good info.
Quick thought. What about backing through the blockage if possible? Won't trigger the airbags and might do less disabling damage.

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