When the driver of a vehicle is shot, otherwise killed, or rendered unconscious and instantly suffers a muscle spasm that extends the driver's leg, pushing the accelerator pedal all the way to the floor. Then instant rigor mortis sets in, keeping it there. Naturally, this causes the vehicle to accelerate to ludicrous speed, putting anyone in the way of this driving dead man at mortal risk.

Common to action movies and driving games. Sometimes justified if the throttle or accelerator is a hand control, and the driver slumps over it, holding it open or down. Subversions may involve the presence of a [[http://tiny.cc/kj0riw deadman's switch]].

If the vehicle is an aircraft, it is DisposablePilot. Related to RunawayTrain.

!!'''As a DeathTrope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.'''
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!!Examples:

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[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* Happens in ''ComicBook/DangerGirl: Trinity'' #2 when Sydney is ambushed while driving through London. She shoots the driver of the SUV, causing him to slump forward on the accelerator; much to the panic and dismay of his partner. An inevitable crash ensues.

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[[folder: Film ]]

* The truck driver in ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk''.
** [[JustifiedTrope Justified examples]]: The pilot in ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'' and the tank driver in ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade''. These are a little different, since in both cases they involve a hand-operated throttle and the driver falling on top of it.
* The Subway in ''Film/SupermanIVTheQuestForPeace''. The fact that there is no preventive measure for such a thing here makes Big Blue's speech about public transportation being the safest way to travel slightly comical.
* The subway train in the film ''Film/{{Speed}}''. The opposite effect of a real deadman's switch, which would stop the train.
** Inverted when the original bus driver gets shot. Not only doesn't he die, but they have to get a new driver in the seat and keep her from going below 50 (and Keanu hasn't told 'em there's a bomb on the bus yet).
* Coke, the El Train driver in ''TheFrenchConnection''.
** Justified in the same way as Indiana Jones, since it's hand operated.
* Variant occurs in the movie ''AgentForHARM'' (featured on ''MST3K'') where Agent Chance shoots the driver, the car continues to drive... into the ocean. A henchmen jumps into the passenger seat but doesn't make any attempt to drive, the dead guy just keeps it going.
* ''Film/LiveAndLetDie''. Film/JamesBond's driver gets shot with a dart that causes exactly this reaction. Of course, it presumably was a kind of poison with specific plot-related symptoms.
** Something similar happens with the BigBad and a boat in ''Film/{{Thunderball}}''.
* Happens to the limo driver during the Florida Keys action sequence in ''Film/TrueLies''.
* ''Film/{{District 9}}.'' Wikus, in full PoweredArmour, manages a [[BoomHeadshot headshot]] on the mercenary driver of a car charging towards him. Somehow, having his [[YourHeadAsplode head liberally splattered all over the car's interior]] doesn't stop the Mercenary from putting all of his remaining weight on the pedal, resulting in Wikus getting knocked over by the speeding car.
* In the ''HeyArnold'' movie, this happens to the bus driver near the end.
* In ''Warlords of the 21st Century'', a.k.a. ''Battletruck'', the BigBad kills his driver in a fit of anger, and attempts to take the wheel himself, only to be incapacitated by the main protagonist. The Battletruck ultimately meets its [[EveryCarIsAPinto obvious end]].
* In ''Film/ForkliftDriverKlaus'' Klaus ends up decapitated by chainsaw, with his forklift still going, and ends up impaling another man, ending with his corpse driving off into the sunset with two impaled screaming workers.
* Played with in ''LethalWeapon''. [=McAllister=] and his driver escape in a car through an alley, only for the driver to be shot dead by Murtagh. [=McAllister=] desperately attempts to take the wheel, but is thwarted when the car is hit by a bus and ultimately destroyed by a live grenade in the back seat.
* ''NewPoliceStory'' had a driver that, when killed, not only slammed on the gas but certainly swerved to maximize damage and drama.
* It's not detailed whether he died or not, but in ''{{Salt}}'' Evelyn repeatedly tasers a driver to achieve this same effect.
* Happens near the beginning of the film version of ''Film/TheFugitive''.
* A variation occurs in ''Film/{{Maverick}}''. Maverick, Annabelle, and Coop are riding a stagecoach, when the driver dies, and the horses, left without input keep running at full speed, straight toward a cliff. The others make Maverick climb up on top to stop the horses, which, since the reins are dragging on the ground, he has to do by jumping onto the team's lead pair and pull back on them.

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* In Creator/IanFleming's ''Literature/JamesBond'' short story "[[Literature/ForYourEyesOnly Risico]]" (used fairly faithfully for the bulk of the movie ''Film/ForYourEyesOnly''), Bond shoots Kristatos as he's making his getaway after his operation is destroyed... with the Lancia's wheels in the road ruts guiding it and his dead foot on the gas pedal, the car hurtles out of sight into the distance.

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[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* The driver of a car is disabled by an object falling off of a truck in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgKMK_t1S1M this episode]] of ''{{Rescue 911}}'' and his car continues driving.
* A space example of this happens to Racetrack in ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|Reimagined}}''.
* ''Series/{{House}}'' frequently approaches this trope, although the characters usually have become unconscious or lost muscle control. In season 2, for example, two consecutive episodes ("Need to Know" and "Distractions") started with the main patient driving a vehicle and dramatically hitting the accelerator at a key moment from their illnesses.
* ''{{Psych}}'' pulls this once with the victim being gassed to death. Luckily, the car is on a dynamometer and is literally going nowhere fast.
* The first episode of ''FlashForward'' did this on the largest scale yet. When the blackout occurs, ''every driver on the planet'' falls victim. (Granted, they only fall unconscious for a couple of minutes, but some do not survive the resulting crashes.)
* Sorta happens in ''OneThousandWaysToDie''. In case #412 ("Re-Tried"), an old man died behind the wheel of his classic Chevy, during his daily ritual of sitting in the driver's seat and reminiscing about his life. The car went on driverless and hit a bank robber, killing him.


[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* In ''Warhammer40K'', the Orks have a table you roll on when a Trukk is destroyed with results ranging from "keeps going for a ways before toppling over" to "zooms off a ways and explodes".

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Happens in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV'' if the driver of a car is killed.
** Though subverted in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas'', albeit still a lateral move in terms of realism: killing a driver will cause the car to immediately brake to a screechy stop before ejecting the corpse.
* Happens in ''VideoGame/JFKReloaded'' if you kill the limo driver. Sometimes he manages to turn the steering wheel a little bit too, most often resulting in [[VideogameCrueltyPotential the presidential limo crashing into the side of a building, killing everyone else in the vehicle and tossing their bodies out onto the sidewalk and street.]]
* ''CallOfDuty'': ''ModernWarfare2'' has your character briefly steering a car from the passenger seat because the driver was shot and apparently [[RagdollPhysics ragdolled]] onto the accelerator.
** Likewise, in ''Call Of Duty Classic'', ''VideoGame/SoldierOfFortune II'', and other games on the id Tech 3 engine, vehicles whose driver has been killed keep driving until they run off the road and crash, or have their engine destroyed.
* How Detective Rindge dies in ''VideoGame/GhostTrick'', which then causes Lynne's fourth death of the night. Don't worry, you fix it.
* Used in ''MetalSlug 2'' and ''X'' (its remake) during the train level where some enemies in motorboats fire missiles at you. Even if you kill the driver, they just slump over on the controls and the attack persists. It isn't until you destroy the boat you get em off your back.
* In ''CompanyOfHeroes'', this is what happens to all "killed" vehicles that don't blow up outright, instead going "Out of Control" and aimlessly barging forwards before exploding on contact with the first obstacle. This can lead to an amusing sight of reversing vehicles instantly jerking into forward motion at full speed without as much as a slowdown, as if they bounced off something invisible.
* Averted in ''SilentScope'''s highway level, where shooting a driver immediately causes the vehicle to spin out and crash.

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[[folder: Webcomic ]]

* Invoked in ''Webcomic/{{Jack|DavidHopkins}}'', where a woman trapped in her car with a serial killer speeds up, daring her captor to shoot her and chance a crash

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''SamuraiJack'' Episode 7: "Jack and the Three Blind Archers". The archers take out a tank with a robot driver, who collapses onto the control causing the tank to rampage and shoot at the other robots.

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[[folder: Real Life ]]

* A tragic real-life example occurred at the 1977 South African [[FormulaOne Grand Prix]] where driver Tom Pryce was killed instantly in a collision with a track marshal and his car continued on driverless for a whole straight before crashing.
** And a version in the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, with Felipe Massa. He didn't die, but he kept going after the spring had hit him and left him unconscious. Of course since he had been going quite fast before the accident...
* Trains these days usually have a dead man's switch that has to be ''toggled'' periodically. Falling unconscious on one doesn't work.
* The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterfall_train_disaster Waterfall rail accident]] near Sydney, Australia in 2003. The driver suffered a heart attack, and was heavy enough that his foot kept the deadman switch on the floor depressed.

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