Safety and Training

Throwback Thursday: How to Ram a Vehicle to Escape a Roadblock

Car Jacking Get-Away Tactics

Carjacking is a nasty crime that happens every day all across the U.S. Below are a few statistics showing why carjackings are so dangerous and why innocent people often end up dead.

  • 77% of the time, a weapon is used during a carjacking.
  • The majority of the time, the weapon used is a gun.
  • 87% of carjackings are committed by men.
  • 54% of carjackings are committed by two or more people.
  • The criminal is most likely a male under 29 years of age.
  • A carjacking is most likely to occur during the evening or at night.

About five years ago, I escaped a carjacking attempt and made it out unharmed, using the driving knowledge that I’m about to share with you.

If you ever find yourself about to be carjacked, the most important thing to remember is: Keep moving! As long as your wheels are turning and you’re moving in some direction, you significantly increase your chances of survival. This is why it’s critical to know how to ram a vehicle and escape a roadblock, because if you get stopped at a roadblock it will likely cost you your life.

Car Jacking Get-Away Tactics
As long as your wheels are turning and you’re moving, you increase your chances of survival during an attempted carjacking — even if other vehicles are in the way.

If you come upon a roadblock overseas—or here in the U.S.—you always want to make it appear that you’re going to stop for it by slowing down. In other words, if you’re driving 50 miles an hour and you come upon the roadblock, you want to slow down until you’re driving between 20 to 25 miles an hour.

You never want to ram another vehicle at a high-speed because it could do too much damage to your vehicle and to you. So remember, 20 to 25 mph is the magic number for ramming a vehicle.

Also, when possible, you always want to ram the rear end of the vehicle blocking you. The front of a car contains the engine, making it heavier and harder to push out-of-the-way. The back of the vehicle has the trunk, which is a lot lighter and easier to drive through.

If you come upon two vehicles blocking your path and you can’t ram either rear end, then you simply ram right in the center of the two vehicles and split them apart. Even if they’re larger vehicles and you’re in a smaller vehicle, you’ll still be able to drive through them if you’re going 20 to 25 miles per hour.

Remember: You must keep your foot on the gas as you’re ramming the blocking vehicle. Human tendency is to lift your foot off the gas as you hit the vehicle, but you want to keep your foot on the pedal so you drive through the vehicles and drive off to safety.

Hopefully, you will never find yourself in a situation where you have to ram a vehicle to save your life, but now you know to go between 20-25 mph and to hit the rear end of the vehicle if you can.

Jason Hanson is a former CIA officer whose training firm has been featured on ABC’s “Shark Tank” and the NBC “TODAY Show.” To see videos of Jason’s Escape & Evasion Driving Experience, visit

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Comments (19)

  1. Another reason for 20-25mph impact is airbag deployment. Most airbag systems deploy @ 25mph or greater impact. Your mileage may vary, check with your manufacturer regarding those speeds.

  2. Your wallet, or your car is not worth your life if he has the drop on you. Get out and let the punk have the car.

  3. I was hoping for some advice about car jackings in an urban setting, where one is sitting in traffic and is confronted by an armed thug who has just broken your side window and put his semi-auto in your face.

    1. That’s easy. You take his gun through various martial arts type twisting motions, then try and hang on to his hand as you drive into another object and squash him.

    2. Appreciate all the helpful guidance from the several responders. I’m a little concerned, Devon, that at my age and with my limited physical strength, I might not be able to deflect the assailant’s hand (or hands, if he’s two-handing it) and keep the gun locked in position as shown in the video. Perhaps the adrenaline would compensate. It’s a great strategy, however, if there’s nothing in front of the car — and he isn’t in a “shoot first” frame of mind.

    3. Yeah, I’m no expert. Without having tried it, you may have luck just pinning the gun and then rolling the window up with your other hand. In this case, power windows would help a lot, and Auto Up windows would really help. Then you could hit the window switch and then use both arms to hold the gun for a couple seconds.

      I think there’s a couple common threads to most of the Krav Maga disarming techniques on youtube. The first thing is to act quickly, because the assailant likely isn’t well trained. Second is to redirect gun away from you, i.e. don’t get shot. Then perform your next action, whether it’s hitting, driving away, ‘break-take’ to steal the gun. I believe there’s a lot to be said for the person focusing on getting the gun back, rather than their original goal of stealing the car.

    4. In that situation, where there is no possible escape due to traffic and a gun pointed at your head, LET THEM HAVE THE CAR! Your survival is far more important than a used (yes, I said USED) car. Give it up. Keep your cell phone on your person, not on the seat or in the console. The car can be replaced. It’s now your insurance company’s problem.

    5. Try to reduce chances with space and situational awareness. It will obviously have to take place when you are stopped, such as at a light. Keep enough room to get around car ahead of you, and try to stay in far lanes, then you have the option of going in the oncoming lane from the left, or up on the curb if your on the right, or hopefully enough shoulder you can just go around. if you are completely boxed in, you can’t go anywhere, but neither can the jacker.

  4. I believe one time I was about to be carjacked in a bad part of downtown. I had left a store and was cutting down an alley when two black guys came out of the bushes, one from each side of the alley, and stood in the alley blocking it. I just kept coming and figured they would make good hood ornaments. They got the idea and moved.

  5. Hey Guy,
    I was taught in motor school when you see that you have to ram, you tuck your chin into your chest. That was back in the “70s”, is that still valid.

    1. Airbags work on deceleration rate. Under 30mph hitting a moveable object is not likely to deploy an air bag.
      When driving, always keep the seatbelt tight and always keep your thumbs laying alongside your hand! Should the airbag deploy, your hands will be pushed off the wheel and less likely to dislocate your thumbs.
      Airbags deflate quickly too. Allow the driver to regain control, albeit with a bag draped out of the steering wheel.

    2. The engine may shut down but check your owners manual. My Tacoma claims it will restart after turning the ignition off then on 3 times. Have not tested it though.

    3. Yes, it will depend on the vehicle. I had a 2003 Taurus, in the event of a crash detected, it will cut off the fuel pump to prevent it from fueling a fire. The only way to reset that car was to press a button on a box, mounted on the sidewall in the trunk. I do not know if it was tied to the AirBag being deployed or if it had it’s own crash sensor. I presume it has it’s own sensor because the car may be rear ended or be hit from the side and damage the fuel system, without deploying the airbags.

    4. Due to the dangerous properties of Airbags, I disconnected all of them in both of my vehicles.

    5. That’s a pretty silly thing to do. Do you also not wear a seatbelt because of the .01% of deaths that a seatbelt caused? What reason could you have for disconnecting them?

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