Created By: roronoapedro on January 18, 2012 Last Edited By: Arivne on September 14, 2014

Running Over The Plot

Car driver runs over someone who just appeared out of nowhere, which initiates/resumes the plot.

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Trope
Needs a Better Title — The Protagonist or the Victim of the Week is driving their car. Maybe they're talking to the Love Interest about how awesome they are, or maybe they're just doing nothing. The thing is, the driver takes their eyes out of the road for a second. It doesn't matter why. What matters is that hey, suddenly someone appeared right in front of the car.

Maybe it's The Hero and he wants a ride. Maybe it's the Monster of the Week and you're screwed. Most likely there is fog, or it is night. What matters is that the driver will probably run him over.

Note that, if they DON'T run over it, it becomes a Plot Point and the story would not begin if they did run over it. It usually happens on horror stories, or when the makers need to introduce new characters on the story.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Film 
  • At the beginning of The A-Team, Barakus almost runs over Hannibal, which appears to have come out of nowhere from Barakus's view.
  • In Big Trouble in Little China, the main character is introduced to the Big Bad when he runs through him with a semi truck. The villain in question was a walking dream (a ghost, essentially).
  • Ghost Story. As one of the protagonists is driving in a snowstorm, the ghost of a woman he murdered appears before him, causing him to swerve to the side of the road. He is then attacked (and presumably killed) by one of the ghost's accomplices.
  • Ghost in the Shell has a truck driver run over a naked woman on a rainy freeway. It turns out to be Project 2501 escaping in a cyborg body.
  • In Dark Angel: The Ascent, we see this from the victim's point of view. Veronica, a rebellious teenage demon, sneaks out of Hell to take a peek on Earth. Unfortunately, she arrives in the sewer, and when she emerges from a manhole in the middle of a busy street, she's immediately hit.

    Folklore 
  • Many horror stories begin or end like this. One of them is about an old man telling a story about a serial killer that used to kill whoever they saw traveling the 666 Highway. The killer would throw 3 crucifixes at the car and then make the driver get out of the vehicle. Guess what happens at the end.

    Literature 

    Live Action TV 
  • In Supernatural, it happens quite often. It can be at any given moment of the episode if cars or highways are involved, but one particular example comes to mind. A girl just escaped her death and goes to the highway, where's she's almost ran over by the Winchesters.
  • M*A*S*H. Whiplash Wang, who makes a meager living by purposely getting run over by GIs in jeeps, then making them pay him off to keep him from reporting it.
  • Happens in Midsomer Murders to Barnaby's wife. In the end it turns out it was a real woman who disappeared in the secret entrance of a roadside building. However, the show puts in a Real After All moment when Barnaby also barely avoids running over a woman in the same spot... but this time, there is clearly no one there.

    Music 
  • There's the old song from the 1950s about the hitcher girl and the jacket she borrows from the nice boy who stops to give her a ride home.

    Video Games 
  • Happens at the beginning of Deadly Premonition, when Agent York crashes his car, startled by the Raincoat Killer that just appeared out of nowhere on the road.
  • This kickstarts Silent Hill, both the first game and the movie.

Community Feedback Replies: 41
  • January 19, 2012
    randomsurfer
    MASH: Wiplash Wang, who makes a meager living by purposely getting run over by GIs in jeeps, then making them pay him off to keep him from reporting it.
  • January 19, 2012
    AP
    • In Big Trouble In Little China, the main character is introduced to the Big Bad when he runs [[strikeout: over]] through him with a semi truck. The villain in question was a walking dream (a ghost, essentially).
  • January 19, 2012
    Arivne
    Film
    • Ghost Story. As one of the protagonists is driving in a snowstorm, the ghost of a woman he murdered appears before him, causing him to swerve to the side of the road. He is then attacked (and presumably killed) by one of the ghost's accomplices.
  • January 19, 2012
    Chabal2
    Happens in Midsomer Murders to Barnaby's wife. In the end it turns out it was a real woman who disappeared in the secret entrance of a roadside building. However, the show puts in a Real After All moment when Barnaby also barely avoids running over a woman in the same spot... but this time, there is clearly no one there.

  • January 19, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    Film Ghost In The Shell has a truck driver run over a naked woman on a rainy freeway. It turns out to be Project 2501 escaping in a cyborg body.
  • January 19, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • There's the old song from the 1950s about the hitcher girl and the jacket she borrows from the nice boy who stops to give her a ride home.
    • There's SeananMcGuire's Rose Marshall series, about the urban legend of the hitcher girl.
  • January 21, 2012
    AgProv
    Real Life: Blubell Hill, in Essex, England, is said to be haunted by a teenage girl who is forever doomed to re-enact her death by car. Quite a few drivers have reported knocking down a young girl on this hill, only for subsequent investigation to find no trace... (ref. Fortean Times)

  • January 21, 2012
    roronoapedro
    Is there something missing from this trope? Anything we should fix before being published? Aside from any hats at this time, I mean.
  • January 21, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Seems to me you should fix all the formatting which you didn't already copy over from the examples - Wiki Words, text formatting, etc.
  • January 22, 2012
    foxley
    Currently 'phantom apparition appears in front of a car' are included in Beware Of Hitchhiking Ghosts. It contains some examples that can be split off.
  • January 22, 2012
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Not sure if this counts:

    Film:
    • In Dark Angel: The Ascent, we see this from the victim's point of view. Veronica, a rebellious teenage demon, sneaks out of Hell to take a peek on Earth. Unfortunately, she arrives in the sewer, and when she emerges from a manhole in the middle of a busy street, she's immediately hit.
  • January 23, 2012
    roronoapedro
    Would a better name be "Running over the plot"? Also, the formatting is almost 100% right. The "[[folder]]"" thingies are because this page doesn't show folders.
  • January 23, 2012
    Earnest
    This kickstarts Silent Hill, both the first game and the movie.
  • January 23, 2012
    Stratadrake
    The "ghost girl" part is misleading. It makes me think of a non-tangible character out in the middle of the road and watching a vehicle pass completely through them.
  • January 25, 2012
    roronoapedro
    Had some trouble formatting the text, couldn't make the Supernatural and MASH examples get there automatically. Also added more examples and changed the description/title for optimization.
  • January 26, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Use a double set of curly braces, like this: {{Series/MASH}}. Also use ''a double set of single quotes'' in order to italicize titles.

  • February 18, 2012
    Westrim
    This looks like it needs to be cleaned up and launched.
  • February 26, 2012
    Westrim
    bump
  • February 28, 2014
    AgProv
    double-bump
  • February 28, 2014
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    • In most episodes of Action League Now, if anyone goes into the street, they will get run over by a car (or other kind of vehicle on occasion). This has even defeated the Monster Of The Week on a few occasions.
  • February 28, 2014
    Arivne
    • Re-formatted Examples section.
    • Deleted blank lines in Examples section.
    • Namespaced and italicized work names.
    • Added a space between the * and the first word of examples.
    • Moved several examples to more appropriate media sections.
    • Corrected some spelling/punctuation errors.
    • Removed some unnecessary spoiler markup.
    • Blue Linked some trope names.
  • February 28, 2014
    Lyendith
    Wow, this is old...

    Visual Novels:

    • In Rose Guns Days, the 1948 part with Rose hitting a girl who jumped in front of her car, apparently running from procurers. She loses her memories in the process and Rose gives her a temporary name, "Rapunzel". It turns out the girl literally jumped in front of the car so that Rose would "save" her, since her mission was to infiltrate Primavera and get close to Rose.
  • March 1, 2014
    FlipNinten
    Video Games:

    In The Walking Dead, in the first episode of Season 1, Lee Everett, who's being taken to prison in a police car ends up crashing into a Walker due to the police officer who's driving not paying attention to the road which causes him to meet up with Clementine, which starts the whole story.
  • March 1, 2014
    DAN004
  • March 2, 2014
    Lyendith
    Does it really need to be a kill though? It's not very clear in the description actually...
  • March 2, 2014
    DRCEQ
    The Ghost In The Shell example goes under "Anime & Manga", not Film.

    And speaking of which...

    Is This A Zombie starts off with our protagonist Ayumu walking home from school, going about a normal day of his life. A cat runs out into the street as a truck comes barreling through, and Ayumu dashes out to rescue the cat. Moments before he gets hit, he shows a big dopey grin on his face to the camera right before getting sent flying through the air and losing his clothes. Yep, just a normal day of his life.
    Don't worry, I'm a zombie!
  • March 2, 2014
    TonyG
  • March 2, 2014
    DRCEQ
    • Parodied in the American Dad episode "Irregarding Steve". Steve and Roger head to New York City, and the episode shows a brief montage of the city's bustling activity. It ends with a bus coming right at the camera before revealing Roger looking outside the window of his hotel room.
      Roger: Oh, my God! You missed it, some cameraman was just creamed by a bus!
      Steve: Oh, my God!
      Roger: I know! [smiles] Lunch?
  • March 2, 2014
    AP
    • This was a bit of a running gag in Thor. Jane meets Thor after hitting him with a car and later, after he escapes form the hospital, hits him again just when she needs information from him.
  • March 2, 2014
    paycheckgurl
    The main plot of I Know What You Did Last Summer involves the antagonist knowing the main characters were involved in a hit had run the previous summer, running over a fisherman and killing him. The hit and run is how the film begins.
  • March 2, 2014
    randomsurfer
    • Pulp Fiction: While Butch is on the run from Marsellus' hitmen, who does he see while driving but Marsellus himself walking down the street? Butch runs him over with the car.
    • The Benny Hill Show: Benny as an old homeless person gets run over by a car full of young women. They take him home, clean him up, buy him new clothes, and bring him to a party. But it turns out it's All Just A Dream of his. Then he really does get run over by a car full of young women. They take one look at him, see it's just an old homeless bum, and drive off.
  • March 4, 2014
    Polarbear2217
    In the Twilight Zone episode "You Drive", Ollie Pope runs over a kid before the opening narration, and the story revolves around his guilt making his car a Sentient Vehicle.
  • March 13, 2014
    randomsurfer
    • Doctor Who
      • In "Father's Day" the Doctor takes Rose back in time to the day her father was killed by a motorist. She stops the death but then the Clock Roaches come out. It turns out the only way to stop the destruction of the universe is for him to get hit by a car and die.
      • In "Turn Left" an alternate reality version of Donna keeps her main universe version on the correct path by running in front of a lorry, getting killed in an accident but creating a traffic jam so Main!Donna goes the other direction instead.
  • March 26, 2014
    Westrim
    RIIIISE, YKTTW, RIIISE!
  • March 26, 2014
    foxley
    The plot of I Know What You Did Last Summer starts when a carload of teens runs down a fisherman who appears in front of them.
  • September 12, 2014
    Westrim
    Aside from integrating examples, is there anything this needs to be launched?
  • September 12, 2014
    HeroGal2347
    I don't know about what it needs to be launched, but you could pothole Beware Of Hitchhiking Ghosts into the music example.
  • September 14, 2014
    Chabal2
    The Agatha Christie novel Murder Is Easy has an old lady share her fear of a murderer with a young man on the train. A few days later, the guy learns of her death in an autombile accident and investigates. It turns out that while the driver himself had nothing to do with the story, the murderess pushed the old lady in the way and gave the wrong licence number to frame another character.
  • September 14, 2014
    NESBoy
    • Another Simpsons example: Bart Gets Hit by a Car courtesy of Mr. Burns.
    • "Goobacks" from South Park begins with a person from the future emerging in the middle of traffic and getting knocked over by one of the cars. This was later covered by the news, which reveals he has come to look for a job in our time.
  • September 14, 2014
    TheHandle
    • Furi Kuri begins with an inversion: the main character is run over by the Vespa-riding plot. Also a subversion, as theirs wasn't a chance encounter.
  • September 14, 2014
    Chabal2
    Subverted in one Fox Trot arc: Roger panics when he hears Jason's been hit by a car due to a misunderstanding.
    Andy: Are you familiar with the "Hot Wheels" line of vehicles?

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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