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The Jaywalking Dead

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I'm afraid I'll have to fine you for that, sir.

One of the dumbest things a zombie can do when humans are around is jaywalk, since doing so will turn the undead into roadkill, particularly if their head sustains severe damage.

Of course, it's not their fault they end up being easy targets for cars, both on and off the road. After all, they're dead; many of them don't understand the concept of traffic regulations, to say nothing about them probably being visually impaired. If they were half as smart as the zombies from Return of the Living Dead, though, they'd probably look both ways before crossing the road, let alone shambling out in the open at all. If even then they go walking on the roads, well, they probably deserve a special Darwin Award if they get hit.

Sub-Trope of Car Fu. For other ways to kill zombies, see Burn the Undead, Shock and Awe, and the traditional method of Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The protagonists of Zombi 2 run over a zombie while fleeing Menard's house after finding Paola dead and being devoured by zombies, and they end up crashing the car just as quickly.
  • In Zombi 3D, some zombie birds die by ramming blindly into an incoming bus.
  • A fuel truck in South Korea makes zeke roadkill in World War Z.
  • Romero's Dawn of the Dead (1978):
    • Several zombies are easily cast aside when Roger and Peter start using trucks to block the doors of the mall. Later, when locking the doors from the inside, more zombies are taken out as they drive the silver coupe through the mall.
    • In the remake, the survivors' heavily outfitted shuttle buses are surprisingly less effective because the damn zombie horde is an all but literal ocean of bodies outside the mall. It takes a gas cylinder explosion to remove enough zombies to allow the buses to push through.
  • In Romero's Land of the Dead the massive truck Dead Reckoning graphically dispenses with plenty of zombies.
  • In Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror a small caravan of vehicles rips through several zombies, and one unfortunate dog. Also, as a possible subversion of the trope, earlier in the film, El Rey swerves to avoid a man he doesn't know is a zombie, ultimately crashing his car.
  • Not strictly a zombie, but it probably belongs here anyway–towards the end of RoboCop an unlucky goon gets doused in toxic waste, leaving him as a shambling, rotting, but still technically alive mess of a man. Blinded by pain and the toxic waste that caused it, he stumbles into the road only to be promptly split in two by a car.
  • Tallahassee's Establishing Character Moment in Zombieland has him speeding down the highway, giving the Toyota Tripwire to any zombies that get in his way. This establishes him as the kind of zombie hunter that a zombie story needs.
  • Subverted in Diary of the Dead. The first encounter with the undead involves their Winnebago driving over several zombies walking on the road. Thinking she's committed vehicular manslaughter, the driver shoots herself in remorse.
  • Shaun and Ed ends up running over a zombie in Shaun of the Dead, much to their relief (since they weren't sure if the person was dead). "Oh thank God for that."

  • The Zombie Survival Guide includes one account of a driver accidentally running over a slow-moving pedestrian. As soon as he gets out of his car, he notices the victim slowly crawling towards him...
  • In the Jonathan Maberry novel Fall Of Night, the patrons and staff of a Starbucks become zombies. They wander onto a highway in the middle of the worst storm of the century. The resulting pileup becomes a significant focus of the outbreak.

    Video Games 
  • Dead County: Early on in the game, the delivery guy's van hits a zombie that was eating someone on the highway. The impact kills the zombie, but totals the engine.
  • Dead Island and its sequel, Dead Island: Riptide features drivable trucks that are pretty much invulnerable (save for getting stuck on things which might happen a lot,) and provide the safest way to mow down hordes of walkers, infected, and most of the boss zombies, with the sole exception of the Suicider.
  • Half-Life 2: Episode Two offers an achievement, "Hit and Run," for running over twenty enemies with the car. Headcrab zombies are the most frequently available targets by far.
  • Zombie Virus: Running over zombies with your ambulance is literally one of the two main goals; the other is to locate and pick up survivors a la Crazy Taxi. If you're not moving fast enough, though, the zombies can climb on and start wrecking your vehicle instead.
  • In Dead Rising, you can kill zombies by running them over with a car. They're so stupid that they make no real effort to get out of the way. If you're going for any of the "Zombie Genocider" achievements, which require tens of thousands of kills in a single run of the story mode (which has a time limit), then there's a very good chance you'll be spending the entire time repeatedly driving back and forth across the most densely-populated area you can find that is accessible by car, since it's really the only way to rack up kills efficiently enough.
  • Plants vs. Zombies:
    • Averted. While the zombies appear standing right on the road during a day/night level preview, there's no cars around to run them over. Of course, Lawn Mowers and Roof Cleaners are technically wheeled vehicles that run over zombies.
    • Inverted when Dr. Zomboss (in his Zombot, naturally) throws a winnebago onto 6 of your plants, instantly destroying them.
  • The Flash game Road of the Dead is about a guy escaping a Zombie Apocalypse in his car, running over any that get in his way.
  • This happens several times in The Walking Dead (Telltale), but it's always unintentional and it always severely damages the vehicle.
  • In Death Road to Canada zombies will start attacking your car as soon as you get in, even if it means their immediate death once the engine gets going. Zombies also won't bother getting out of the way of a moving car. This isn't necessarily a good thing, as zombies can actually do quite a bit of damage to your car, and keeping your car in good condition is a vital mechanic in the game.
  • In State of Decay, vehicles are arguably the most economical method of mowing the slow, ignorant zombies off the road. Be careful though, as the various cars and trucks WILL eventually take damage (unless you perform a Toyota Tripwire) and catch fire, which makes SUVs one of the best cars to perform mass vehicular manslaughter due to its high durability. This is less recommended for most of the special infected, as they are either hard to hit, or literally more harder to hit.
  • StarCraft II: A non-zombie version: when General Warfield's battlecruiser is shot down above Char, it plows into a single Hydralisk too dumb to get out of the way.
  • Some versions of Carmageddon replace the pedestrians that you are encouraged to run over with zombies.
  • As the name suggests, this is the entire point of Zombie Driver. Well you can use the weapons attached to your car to rip the hordes to shreds or burn them to ashes as well, but your vehicle is the weapon that never runs out of ammo.
  • 7 Days to Die: Can be done with the vehicles (even with a bicycle), but not for the damage dealt. Often it is to stun the zombie with a reliable knockdown, before jumping out and either killing it as it's getting back up, or running into a nearby building point-of-interest (i.e., your destination and that is why you were driving in the first place).
  • The Last Stand: Union City opens with one of these crashing the Player Character's car. Turns out humans are heavy, dead or alive.

    Web Videos 
  • Inverted with Zombie Roadkill, the premise of which involves animals that get struck by vehicles coming back to life for revenge.