Here's How to Actually Jump a Car
Team O’Neil Rally School teaches you how to properly jump a car.
You’ve seen it done in movies. You’ve seen it done on TV shows. You may have even seen your best friend do it over a raised set of railroad tracks. But have you ever wondered what the correct way is to jump a car? And how not to end up in a piled-up mess alongside the road? Look no further as Team O’Neil Rally School is here to educate you in the fine art of automotive aerobatics.
Jumping a car isn’t exactly the straightforward method purported in The Dukes of Hazzard, Fast and the Furious, or Gymkhana series. You can't just strap in, aim straight, and bury the accelerator until you feel that brilliant sensation of negative g-force. If you do, things aren’t likely to go your or the car’s way. It’s best to understand the dynamics that go into properly jumping a car ala the late, great Colin McRae—there’s a reason he has his own WRC jump.
Before we give you a short run-down of best practices for jumping a car, you should very much only do this on a closed course, a trail, and with the proper safety equipment. Got it? Good.
The biggest takeaway from Team O’Neil’s tutorial video is to not brake or lift off the throttle right before the jump’s crest. This will cause the nose of the car to dive and you to have a bad, and more than likely expensive, day. What happens when you lift or brake before the crest is that the car’s momentum pendulums forward as you lose speed. The car’s nose pitches downward and outcomes can range from “ouch, that hurt my neck,” to “how did I end up on the roof?”
Steady throttle pressure, according to the Team O’Neil instruction, is your best friend, but it's also helpful to try it out a few times at slower speeds so as to gain confidence and an understanding of how a flying car feels. There aren't many analogs in your daily commute. Like any form of motorsport or technical driving, it takes some time to learn the skill, but with practice and some helpful coaching, you too can be living out your movie chase fantasies.
Though there’s quite a bit more instruction in the video below, we highly recommend you take a few classes, maybe even at Team O’Neil which has an excellent rally program. It’s truly a skill best learned with the helping tutelage of professionals in a safe environment. Happy jumping.