Darwin Awards for Car Surfers?

Men and boys are most likely to try this risky activity.


Since I've written before about men's propensity for taking risks and have spent a fair amount of time poring over government statistics that show which types of accidents are most lethal for men, I thought I'd pretty much considered all the bizarre ways we end up offing ourselves.

Then I ran across this release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about car surfing. Yup, you read that right: car surfing, which the CDC defines as a "thrill-seeking activity that involves riding on the exterior of a moving motor vehicle while it is being driven by another person." Men were the victims of car surfing accidents in 70 percent of the cases. The feds, apparently, got the idea of looking into the phenomenon of car surfing after watching clips like this one on video sharing sites.

The concept makes you laugh until you read some of the case reports:

Case 1. In May 2001, a male aged 19 years from Massachusetts fell off the back of a car driven by a friend aged 18 years. Observers told authorities that the boy was kneeling on the trunk of the vehicle in an attempt at car surfing and appeared to lose his grip before sliding off the back. The vehicle was traveling at approximately 15 mph at the time of the fall. The boy had massive head and spinal cord injuries, was hospitalized, and died 3 days later.

Case 2. In August 1996, a male aged 14 years ran and jumped onto the hood of a friend's vehicle to car surf as it was pulling out of a residential driveway in Virginia . Witnesses stated that the vehicle was traveling at a slow speed, estimated at 5 mph, when the car hit a bump in the driveway, causing the boy to slide off of the hood. He fell on his head and had a fatal head injury.

Umm, guys, it shouldn't really be necessary to point out that this isn't a great form of exercise. So I'll leave the nagging up to John Halpin, the study's lead author. "While car surfing may be appealing to teens and others, our recommendation is simple—don't do it! Even a vehicle moving at a slow speed can be deadly," he pleads.