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Too Fast to Stop

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Give her a brakeahem—break, it's the first time she tries this.
Brother Speeders
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"Good morning, Nurse!"

So there's this character who can go fast. Really fast. So fast, in fact, that they couldn't quite stop in time. It may be because they're going a lot faster than they usually go. It may be because the speed is due to a recent upgrade. It may be because they suddenly lost control after hitting a rough patch/some turbulence/a wave depending on their mode of transport. It may be because the character only knows how to go fast but never bothered to learn how to brake.

Whatever the reason, the results are the same. Spectators wincing in empathy as the speedster crashes or suffers something just as painful.

When a character invokes Too Fast to Stop to cause someone else to crash, it's the Wronski Feint. This is one of the reasons why the Door Judo works. Some Bullfight Bosses can be like this. Compare with Inertia Is a Cruel Mistress, Coming in Hot, and Go Fast Or Go Boom.

Often a subtrope of Required Secondary Powers; see that trope for other examples of superpowers being trumped by physics. Including the other obvious Super-Speed Required Secondary Powers: the ability to react fast enough to control yourself in super speed, the toughness required to keep your feet from turning into bloody stumps at 250+ MPH, skin that can survive the heat from the air friction, etc., etc.

Also see the closely related Watch Out for That Tree!.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Bleach, Ichigo tries to Flash Step up to the female Sternritters, but misses and crashes into a building, making it collapse. He isn't hurt and laughs it off.
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, Sakura is rollerblading her way to school and dodges some guys moving furniture into a new house. Problem is, she's going so fast that now she can't stop and is in serious danger of crashing into the first person that comes. Said person is Kaho, but she simply extends her hand to grab Sakura's own and allow her to stop a bit more safely.
  • This is basically Takajou's problem in Charlotte. His special ability is Super-Speed, but he can't control his stops very well, leading to him frequently getting injured.
  • Claymore: It happens to Claire after Awakening her legs. In the anime she slows herself down by stabbing her sword into the ground, while in the manga she gains control by Awakening her arms as well.
  • In Darker than Black, a Contractor named Goran has this problem. He has super speed, but moves in short bursts almost to the point of Flash Stepping because of difficulty stopping and turning. This causes him to run into things and is responsible for his death.
  • Dragon Ball Super: Downplayed. Dyspo of the Pride Troopers is the single fastest character in the Tournament of Power, but this same speed makes his movements linear and easy to predict.
  • In the Fullmetal Alchemist manga, Sloth is very easy to set traps for: you just get out of the way when he charges ludicrously fast, and he'll run straight into whatever is behind you. Just make sure you're not in-between or you won't exist any longer. Sloth is a rather interesting example in that he could control his speed if he wanted to, he's just way too lazy to actually learn how.
  • This happens twice to Rosehip of St. Gloriana's in Girls und Panzer der Film: The first is in the opening exhibition match when she loses control of her Crusader when trying to turn a curve. She ends up crashing into Clara's T-34-85, setting off one of her external fuel tanks, and blowing up a store. The second is in the match against the University Team, where she removes the speed governor on her tank engine and propels across a river to destroy a M24 Chaffee, going too fast to stop her tank from embedding itself against a wall, white-flagging herself as well.
  • Lyrical Nanoha: During their B-Rank promotion test in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Teana piggy-backed on Subaru while the latter roller-bladed to the finish line at full speed. Teana then asked the dreaded question on how they were supposed to stop. Cue looks of horror as they headed straight to a barricade. They escape almost unharmed thanks to their examiners/instructors' intervention but fail the test.
  • The first episode of Moldiver has a rather prolonged scene with the main character Mirai running at supersonic speeds, tripping, and skidding along the ground for long enough to more or less destroy an entire race track. Come to think of it, this is pretty much the #2 go-to gag of the series behind crossdressing.
  • Naruto: The title character, in his Kyuubi Chakra Mode, ambushes Kisame so hard that his foot gets stuck in the wall and he wrecks his ankle. Naruto was so fast that Killer B (who's fought actual teleporters) mistook it for teleportation. Naruto himself wasn't used to being this fast (it was literally the first time he'd ever used Kyuubi Chakra Mode) and didn't know when or how to stop. After recovering from his injury and practicing with it, this ceases to be an issue.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Used in one battle. Takahata Takamichi explains that the weakness of the series' version of the Flash Step is that once you enter it, you can't stop until you reach your destination, and proving it by tripping Negi as the kid tries to Flash Step past him.
    • Also stated to be a big weakness of the "Raiten Taisou" lightning-form Negi comes up with in the Magical World: yeah, he can move at the speed of lightning, but his perceptions aren't enhanced, so he can't react quickly enough to change direction mid-flight, making him an easy target for someone skilled enough to guess where he's going. Then Negi reveals "Raiten Taisou 2", which corrects this problem.
  • Captain Kuro of One Piece is an interesting case while using his Shakushi attack. He seems to be perfectly capable of stopping himself whenever he wants (though we never see it because Luffy always manages to stop him first), but the attack makes Kuro too fast to see where he's going or who he's attacking, so he's basically "Too Fast To Know When To Stop". Although in his case, that wasn't much of a problem since he doesn't give a rat's ass about his crew, and intended to erase them anyway so as to Leave No Witnesses.
  • A random trainer in Pokémon: The Series thought it would be smart to enter The Flame Pokemon-athon with an Electrode mount — while the spherical Pokemon is genuinely fast when going downhill, it has no time to brake for any obstacles in its path.
  • An example takes place in Ranma ½'s Martial Arts Ice Skating duel. After tossing Akane into the air and punching Mikado while skating past him, Ranma catches Akane on his back and... continues forward at full speed. He can barely skate as it is, and both Ranma and Akane scream as they're about to smash into the wall. Somehow, he manages to flail his feet upwards and wall-climb a few seconds to kill off the momentum, then flips back on his feet. The horror still frozen on their faces betrays how improbable this recovery was.
  • In Reborn!, Tsuna suffers from this right off the bat when his gloves updated to Ver. VR. This resulted in zooming past his ridiculously bloodthirsty opponent and running into cement-reinforced walls, therefore resulting in a curb stomp.
  • In Smile Pre Cure, when Nao first becomes Cure March, she ends up learning (accidentally) she has super speed... by accidentally racing past Akaoni and slamming face first into a bridge truss. She ends up stepping out of the imprint she left rather unharmed and she was more confused than anything.
  • Happens to Shirley in Strike Witches after her Striker Unit malfunctions (due to Francesca having been tampering with it), leading to an accidental case of Ramming Always Works when she plows headlong into a Neuro.
  • In That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, this is how Gobta lost his tournament fight with Masayuki. Gobta decided to go all-out and perform a Fusion Dance with Ranga, becoming an extremely powerful Wolf Man. Unfortunately, this was the first time he actually used this form in a combat session, and he was completely unprepared for the massive physical boost he got. He tried to rush Masayuki, but he went so fast that before his mind could catch up, he rocketed right past Masayuki and head-first into the reinforced stone of the arena walls, knocking himself out. It's only the fact that Masayuki willingly conceded that he "won" at all. Notably, this Negated Moment of Awesome pissed off Hakurou and Milim Nava so much that the latter grabbed Gobta and Ranga after the fact to put them through the Training from Hell necessary to keep this from becoming a problem again with the former not lifting a finger to help.
  • Undead Unluck: Top Bull Sparx has an interesting version of this. It's not so much that he's too fast to stop, it's rather that he's so fast because he can't stop. Anytime he tries to stop running of his own volition he speeds up instead, which lead to the tragic outcome of him killing two of his friends with his uncontrolled speed. The only way he can stop is through outside means... like crashing into a wall and breaking his arm, for instance.

    Comic Books 
  • Played for Drama in The Boys, where Hughie's girlfriend is sideswiped by a speedster "hero" moving by too fast to see what he was doing. Hughie is left standing there with her arms up to the elbows for a while before he realizes what happened.
  • Le Donjon de Naheulbeuk: The Dwarf, after he gains a pair of magical boots of speed, has lots of trouble controlling his moves and crashes a lot against the scenery. And into a fireball-happy wizard.
  • The Flash has been known to use this in order to defeat rival speedsters. He also falls prey to it himself, Depending on the Writer. It's worth noting that running into a wall isn't a problem for the Flash, also Depending on the Writer.
  • Scott Pilgrim: The cause of Lucas Lee's demise when Scott dares him to skateboard grind down a long flight of steps. Lucas accepts the challenge but the speed is too much for him. And he can't dismount in time when he reaches the bottom, exploding as a result. The caption even lampshades it as "Too Fast to Live".
  • In the second issue of Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, the titular hero is flying downwards so quick that she is unable to stop herself from plummeting into the hard soil. As crawling out of the crater she has just caused, Kara grumbles "Must work... on powers of stopping!"
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Mayfly is killed when she tries using her new super-speed to escape from prison and is unable to stop. She runs into a door and leaves behind a bloody mess for the guards. In this case it's an instance of murder since she was given the pill that granted her that speed by her co-conspirators who wanted her dead, and the speed it granted while temporary also didn't come with brakes.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • A strip has Calvin roller-skating down a hill and not knowing how to stop. Of course, taking that suggestion from Hobbes about steering into a gravel driveway isn't all that helpful.
    • Calvin and Hobbes did this sort of thing all the time — with sleds by winter and a red wagon by summer. It usually provides an action backdrop to avoid "talking heads" in a deeply philosophical discussion... And the inevitable crash at the end provides a nice counterpoint. On a few memorable occasions, the entire discussion is about the impending crash.
    • On one occasion, the cart ride would have been a perfect metaphor for their conversation about life... but they don't quite realize it.
  • FoxTrot: Jason Fox and his best friend Marcus have had several sledding adventures similar to Calvin's.
  • One Garfield comic strip goes something like this: Odie is eating his food, when it disappears in the next panel. John is eating his food, when it also disappears in the following panel.
    Garfield: [carrying Jon and Odie's stolen food] You can't stop what you can't see.
    [the final panel shows him smashed face-first onto a wall]

    Fan Works 
  • In Hero Academia D×D, this is how Bakugou and Iida lose their tournament matches: the former gets shot with a net gun while he's flying and ends up flying out of the ring, and the latter slids on an Oil Slick while going very fast.
  • Played for drama in the Pony POV Series. During Cadenza's duel to the death with her sister Amicitia at the Dawn of Time, she rockets towards Amicitia with the force of an extinction-level meteorite, fully intending to kill her. Amicitia creates a fully formed sun in her path, with Cadenza flying straight through it, horribly burning herself in the process and weakening her enough for Amicitia to finish her by impaling her with dozens of black rods.
  • Paul in With Strings Attached. He calls it "cannonballing". Don't stand in his way when he does it: he will bounce up unhurt; you, on the other hand...

    Films — Animation 
  • In the Cosgrove Hall adaptation of "The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship", Lightning the runner claims he has to tie one of his legs back, otherwise he runs so fast he has trouble stopping.
  • In Hot Wheels: AcceleRacers, the Emergency Driver Recovery devices were installed in order to teleport drivers out if they were at risk of being unable to get to the exit portal before it closes. Unfortunately, it teleports them out at the same speed their car was going when the activated it. This was solved by putting mat where the portal spits them out
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Legend of Everfree: The first time we see Rainbow Dash using Super-Speed, she bursts into Camp Everfree's mess hall and slams against the opposite wall. She also mentions that she involuntarily ended up in town earlier upon discovering her new power.
  • Averted in Turning Red. Mei's control over the velocity of the smoke associated with her giant red panda transformation means she can fall from about 100m up and yet land with almost no velocity by transforming in the last second before she hits the ground.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • This is Chuck E. Cheese's main issue in Chuck E. Cheese in the Galaxy 5000. The first time he attempts the super fast Vega-2 speed, he finds it too hard to handle and keeps crashing nonstop. He adds later on that when going that fast, it's too blurry for him and he gets scared. After getting some training from Harry the Hermit, his handling improves drastically.
  • In The Hunt for Red October, the submarine USS Dallas is secretly trailing the new Soviet sub the Red October. The experienced American crew is aware of a tactic frequently employed by Soviet submarine commanders to see if anyone is following them (anyone traveling in a submarine's own "bubble trail" is effectively invisible to passive sonar) called "Crazy Ivan". This happens several times, with the sonar technician usually screaming "Conn, sonar! Crazy Ivan!" The counter-tactic is usually to immediately stop the propeller. However, if the pursuing sub is too close or is moving too fast, it will not have enough time to stop and is likely to collide.
  • In the second The Mighty Ducks film, a speed skater (Luis Mendoza) is introduced into the team. He is extremely fast and actually quite agile and maneuverable, but he has one slight problem... which is shown when he "stops" by hitting the boards with a splat.
  • In Spaceballs, Dark Helmet orders that his ship be put to "Ludicrous Speed" to capture the fleeing heroes. However it proves to be too fast and they overtake them. Helmet then orders his right hand man to stop the ship, ignoring all warnings that they need to slow down first. The result is that he gets thrown helmet-first into a computer console. Bonus points for the Emergency Stop lever having a warning below it "Never Use". Even the ship's builders knew that the ship would be going too fast to stop. Something that causes a glare to cross Dark Helmet's face when he sees it in a later playback of the scene.
  • In Titanic, Captain Smith orders the last boilers lit on Bruce Ismay's insistence, so the ship is going full steam ahead when the iceberg is spotted right in its path. The crew throws it into full reverse, but it has far too much momentum to stop and a rudder far too small to turn it in time. The rest is history.
  • This is one of the main plot points in Unstoppable. The locomotive 777 is going so incredibly fast that there is no possible way it will make it around what is called the Stanton Curve. In addition, 777 is going so fast that, coupled with its weight, it completely bashes through derailers designed with the obvious intent of derailing trains. One locomotive is bashed right off the tracks and thrown aside by 777's sheer momentum. In order to stop the train at all, the main crew has to try to slow it down at all, and by the end of the movie it begins picking up speed again. Loosely Based on a True Story.
  • X-Men: The Last Stand:
    • Kitty Pryde is getting Juggernaut to chase her through the walls of the Alcatraz laboratory, right up to the room where Leech is. Since she can't phase anymore, she moves close to the far wall and when Juggernaut comes bursting through the last wall, he runs full steam towards them. Unfortunately for him, Leech's power kicks in and he slams into, not through, the wall with enough force to knock himself out.
    • Kitty also exploits this minutes earlier. When a Mook charges at her, she phases right through him, grabs his shoulders and yanks back, using the man's own momentum to drop him headfirst on the ground before he even realizes what's going on.

  • Saints in A Certain Magical Index can have this problem. They can run faster than the speed of sound, but at this speed it's difficult for them to stop or turn (and their reflexes aren't proportional to their speed either). A few people fighting Saints have exploited this.
  • Discworld:
    • The Ambiguous Puzuma is the fastest animal on the Disc, achieving near light-speed (which isn't too hard, given the low speed of light on the Disc). While they can never be seen, their remains are occasionally found on cliffs and large rocks. These show a black-and-white checked coat and a thin, flat shape.
    • Discworld also has Seven League Boots, which don't lengthen your legs as you move. They barely got it off the student tester in time, and he still wears a special brace around the crotchal area.
    • This happens to a kangaroo when a transportation spell goes wrong at the end of Interesting Times. The wizards have never seen one before, conclude that it's a giant rat and wonder if it's naturally one inch thick and deep-fried.
    • In The Last Continent, Lovable Coward Rincewind is suddenly told he's running towards the danger and tries to stop, but "his method of running was very efficiently based on the idea that stopping was the last thing he'd do."
  • The fairy tales How The Six Made Their Way In The World and The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship both feature a man with superhuman speed as one of the hero's sidekicks, who has to tie one of his legs up because he has trouble controlling his speed.
  • One of The Legend of Drizzt books has him facing a drow warrior with enchanted bracers that make his arms move impossibly fast. Unfortunately, he'd apparently never really learned to fight with them, so his footwork and other positioning suffer, and his arms move too fast for him to stop a move he'd started. Drizzt kills him and takes the bracers... and figures out that even with his training he can't overcome the drawbacks, lamenting that a warrior wins with his feet, not his hands. So he puts them around his ankles.
  • When Sun loses his memory in The Legend of Sun Knight, he winds up working for an adventuring party. After relearning how to cast a speed buff, his first attempt results in his companion crashing into a wall. Even after toning it down, he can't shake the feeling that he did it right the first time, and that there should be someone who can withstand that speed. He is later validated when he casts the buff on Ice Knight, who can control his speed perfectly.
  • From the original Tales of Munchausen, there was a man who was so fast, he had to tie heavy weights to his legs just to run at a usable speed — otherwise, the first step he takes, he'd stumble and fall over the equator.
  • In Tau Zero, the deceleration module on humanity's first interstellar Ram Scoop starship is destroyed by an impact with a nebula at a significant fraction of lightspeed. The crew cannot exit the ship's interior to fix the module due to the lethal levels of radiation outside, and disabling the engines without the module would release the radiation. The ship is forced to continue accelerating, approaching closer and closer to tau zero, where a second inside is an objective outside time of a million years

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrowverse:
    • The Flash (2014): When Barry goes into an alley behind the police station, he unintentionally accelerates and runs headfirst into a police car's rear windshield (and he's perfectly fine afterwards, not even a cut). He then tests out his speed and runs into an open truck, which is, fortunately, full of soft things. When he does a test run at the abandoned Ferris Air airfield, he gets distracted by a memory and, when he snaps back, he's running straight at barrels full of water. He can't stop in time and slams into them, breaking his wrist (which heals in 3 hours).
    • Supergirl (2015): In "World's Finest", Barry uses an experimental device to enhance his speed. He runs fast enough to warp into Supergirl's universe by accident, then when he catches Kara who had been falling out a window, he accidentally runs them into the desert and sets Kara's shirt on fire from friction.
    • Elseworlds (2018): Barry Allen and Oliver Queen swap lives, so Oliver has Flash's powers. Due to his inexperience, Oliver runs past a building he was going to, crashes into a wall when he tries to fight some robbers, and during an argument with Barry, he tries to charge at Barry at super speed, only for Barry to trip him.
    • Superman & Lois: Clark takes his teenaged son Jordan up to the Fortress for flying lessons. Jordan does pretty well with takeoffs, but he has trouble with slowing down. Flying back to the Kent farm in Kansas under his own power, he faceplants in the dirt when he lands whereas Clark lands neatly on his feet.
  • In the first episode of The Boys (2019), Hughie and his girlfriend are talking about moving in together, when A-Train turns her into a bloody pulp. He stops briefly to say he can't stop, and keeps running. The Vought corporation spins the incident so that the media will report it reported as a tragic accident, though in reality A-train had been injecting himself with Compound-V, basically a superhero steroid, and couldn't slow down due to its effects.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Pirate Planet", the Captain's henchmen make use of corridors that cancel out inertia, allowing them to travel long distances very fast and then stop suddenly without any injury. At one point the Doctor and Romana utilize one corridor, with the Captain's mooks on their heels. When they reach the end of the corridor, the Doctor sabotages the inertia neutralizer, sending their pursuers shooting out of the corridor where they land against a far wall hard enough to lose consciousness.
    Doctor: You know, I think the conservation of momentum is a very important law in physics, don't you?
    Romana: Yes.
    Doctor: I don't think anyone should tamper with it, do you?
    Romana: No.
    Doctor: No, nor do I. [THUD] Newton's revenge.
  • The Flash (1990):
    • The Flash himself has this problem in the pilot episode. He find out he has super-speed in a rather unexpected way: he starts chasing after a bus, then overtakes it, and soon enough he's hurtling through the city, unable to stop. He only stops when he hits a lake, and the water finally kills his momentum, 30 miles from where he started.
    • A scientist is trying to create a super-speedster, but his test subjects burn up when they accelerate, indicating that not only do they lack speed-resistant cells of the Flash, but the subjects can't slow down either, as only an idiot keeps running if they are overheating. He solves the problem by cloning the Flash.
  • The first season episode of Heroes as Nathan landing outside a diner and skidding painfully to a halt.
  • In an episode of Lois & Clark, Clark is able to pull this off against a nemesis who has just stolen his superpowers by taunting her. Justified in that it was the very first time she ever used her newly acquired speed.
  • It's happened a few times with MythBusters experiments, such as the "Instant Convertible".
  • Smallville:
    • In "Perry", Clark's powers start going haywire due to solar flares. When his mother calls him in for lunch, he tries to get back in the house, only to find himself at Lake Tahoe. When he tries to run back, he only makes it to Colorado Springs before his powers shut off, forcing him to take the bus home.
    • In "Transference", Clark mentions a time when he was 6. He was playing tag with his friends, but when he tried to run after them, he suddenly found himself all the way in the woods.
  • In the Star Trek franchise, this is implied at least once to be why warp speed is generally discouraged inside a solar system. One miscalculation could cause a starship to warp right into a planet — or, perhaps worse, the star that said planet orbits.
  • Top Gear:
    • Cheap car challenges sometimes involve driving to a given speed and then trying to brake within a certain range. While the obstacle at the end of the lane is sometimes daunting (e.g. a river full of crocodiles), as of Season 13 only James May has failed to stop in time, destroying his own piano as a result.
    • This was also the cause of Black Stig's "death" after he attempted to reach 100 mph and stop on an aircraft carrier. He mistakenly reached 109 before breaking, and plummeted into the ocean, leaving only a single black glove...

    Video Games 
  • Some old DOS games have this problem. Instead of timing animations and moves with a real-time clock, the game simply runs as fast as the processor will allow, which at the time meant minor variations in speed between different computers, but today a single button tap can send your character dashing across the screen. The computer-controlled enemies, of course, don't have this issue. This is why emulators like DOSBox have a throttle key.
  • In any game where a "speed up" or "(insert character name here) moves faster" cheat is discovered and used via a Gameshark, Action Replay or some other cheat device, the result is exactly what it says on the cheat and the character moves to incredible speeds more times than not. However A) some games do this a little too well, leading to the aforementioned example above of characters crashing into walls or leap off platforms to their dooms faster than you realize what the hell you're doing, B) it is kind-of-sort-of-not-really exactly what it says on the cheat where they are faster than normal, but not enough to, say, beat Sonic in a footrace anytime soon, or C) it works well and you can still control the character in most cases, but the code caused everything else in the game to speed up just as much, making it harder than normal or just not worth using in the first place.
    • Spyro the Dragon (1998): The speed cheat code increased Spyro's run speed to the point that charging is less than half as fast. Good luck making it around those narrow ledges.
    • Road Rash 64: Insanity Mode bikes for Player 1 are awesome, right? Not so much in some Big Game modes, or in Be The Cop mode, where if you crash, you lose. Good luck feathering the throttle on bikes that were only made to go in a straight line at 500+ mph.
    • Dakar 2 has an Action Replay code called "make the game fun!". It reverse-scales the gears and makes first gear into this trope. While it can be fun to launch a truck over the entire track, it will usually cause you to lose the race, because you're going to miss a checkpoint. Subverted with the "race down the mountain" track, where the last checkpoint is lined up perfectly with the second-to-last and the finish line. You can pull off an extreme The Dukes of Hazzard moment, using one of light trucks (complete with Dixie horn!).
  • Racing games with extremely fast vehicles can often fall into this because the vehicle moves almost too fast for the player to keep up. Good examples include Burnout and WipEout, which often unlock both the fastest class of vehicle and a new set of tracks the player is completely unfamiliar with at the same time.
    • Conversely, get any new player the fastest car in the game and put them on one of the earliest tracks intended for the slower classes; between the small-scale level design and the sheer speed, they'll be crashing near-constantly.
    • Speaking of Burnout, in the third game a more realistic example is the Event type, which often put you in much faster cars than your current class on tracks you probably haven't raced on yet. The one in Europe in the Formula One car deserves special mention due to it dropping you in literally the fastest car in the game while you're still in the second-slowest class of cars.
    • Many simulation racers teach this lesson in a very harsh manner. If you don't slow down for a turn, you will not only be too fast to take the turn (possibly spinning out or rolling) and too fast to brake in time, even using the emergency brake. This is a good reason why many of these games have the guiding line change color to tell you to accelerate (green), slow down (yellow) or brake (red).
    • In the 4th game of the ChoroQ HG series, there's a mission where the player is tasked with testing a special upgrade that massively increases their speed and acceleration. However, it is quickly discovered that by using it, it cuts off their brakes while the inventor needs 1 minute to shut down the upgrade while going nearly out of control.
  • This is a central mechanic of Clu Clu Land. Once the player starts moving, the player cannot stop moving, only transfer forward momentum into rotary momentum, which is also the only way to change directions. Your enemies have no such limitations, but are not quite as fast. Vs. Clu Clu Land in particular relies on Difficulty by Acceleration.
  • Quick Man in Mega Man 2 is so fast, even his optic sensors can't catch up to him; this flaw causes him to constantly run into walls seconds before he notices, leaving him wide open for a counterattack.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • It's actually possible to go fast enough that you could fall into a bottomless pit without realizing it right away. This gets even worse in the Sega Genesis games and the Sonic Advance Trilogy when the camera often can't keep up. This even triggers a Game-Breaking Bug in the original game where if the camera can't vertically keep up with you if you're falling or otherwise going down really quickly, it will sometimes think you fell into a pit.
    • A more traditional example is that it almost always takes several seconds for Sonic (or any of the other characters, but especially Sonic) to slow down from full speed.
    • A less gameplay-related example would be Metal Sonic. His main weakness is that his speed relies on the engine in his torso. While he's one of the fastest characters in the series, his lack of friction and aerodynamic nature means he crashes into things very easily.
    • In a general sense, a character's Super Mode increases their movement speed to such a degree that it's near impossible to do precision platforming reliably.
  • This was a common problem for Mascot with Attitude characters made in the wake of Sonic's success. Rather than design the game around high speed, the designers would simply take their platforming characters designed for Mario-esque adventures and ratchet up their speed and acceleration, creating games where the main character rockets off at the slightest press and then slams into a hazard and dies one second later. Bubsy is one of the more notorious offenders, due to Bubsy being a One-Hit-Point Wonder who lacks a way to attack enemies from the front; most of a time, his high speed served only to get him killed.
  • Arknights has an enemy type known as the Sarkaz Lancer, which will rush straight towards your base, gradually building up speed as they run, and hit any Operator in their way with a devastating charge attack. The stage that introduces them ends with a group of three appearing on the lower half of the map, where the wind Geo Effects are set to propel them even further. The easiest way to deal with them? Just don't engage them. With no Operators to stop them, they'll be moving too fast to make the turn to your base, and all three of them will go careening over the edge of a Bottomless Pit.
  • Several characters in Atlas Reactor have offensive dashes that travel either a set distance or until it hits something. If the intended target moves out of the way by using a dash of their own, the dash will often carry them way out of position.
  • In Carrie's Order Up!, after spending a whole round running tables and spinning past customers, each round ends with Carrie taking a little while to finally skid to a halt before displaying your score.
  • Averted in City of Heroes, where those who take the Superspeed power are able to start, stop, and turn on a dime.
  • A couple of games in the The Elder Scrolls series include this:
    • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind:
      • The Scrolls of Icarian Flight are a jumping version of the trope. They allow you to leap incredible distances, but wear off after only a few seconds, meaning that by the time you land, you no longer have the ability to land safely. SPLAT. By landing in deep enough water, using a second scroll just before landing (you only get three), or by casting a Levitation/Slowfall spell, you can survive, making them Not Completely Useless. They even enter Lethal Joke Item territory as they are a favorite of speedrunners and (when combined with a few exploits) allow completion of the game in a matter of minutes rather than dozens of hours.
      • Enhancing your Speed attribute or Athletics skill to extreme levels will lead to this. Whether it's through the Alchemy abuse exploit or taking advantage of a Lethal Joke Item like the Boots of Blinding Speed (which let you run incredibly fast, but blind you), you can find yourself moving faster than the game can actually keep up with. A single button press to move can easily send you off a cliff or up against a wall, if not crash the game.
    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: If you use the Whirlwind Sprint dragon shout at the wrong moment, you can run right off the edge of a cliff.
  • In Elite Dangerous, the Generation Ship Atlas suffered a malfunction that prevented it from slowing down at its destination. The chief engineer and captain hatched a plan to stuff all their shuttles and escape pods with the passengers and supplies, then released them during a close flyby of the planet. The engineer stays behind to coordinate the launch as the ship plows on into the void.
  • EVE Online plays with this a bit. Failing to slow down while approaching another ship will usually cause a collision. No damage is taken however.
  • Similar to the above comment about cheat devices, games with speed power-ups can result in this problem if you collect too many. The Gradius games are a prime example — in fact, later games in the series and spin-offs include a Speed Down power-up that is not a Poison Mushroom, particularly if the random power-up has thrown speed boosts at you too many times (or you foolishly activated it too many times).
  • Justin invokes this during the train escape from the Garlyle Forces in Grandia. When he accidently breaks the train's brake lever, he comes up with a plan B by loading the firebox with coal, then lures the three Sergeants of the Garlyle forces onto the engine. He then uncouples the rest of the train from the engine, and the sergeants are trapped because they can't stop the train (no brake lever) and the train's going too fast for them to jump off.
  • This is the bane of many a Halo multiplayer game. Attempts to take out opponents with certain vehicles can lead to players missing their target and going over an edge or hitting their target and going over anyway.
  • In Fleeing the Complex from the Henry Stickmin Series, one of the options gives Henry Sonic's shoes. This cause him to run so fast that he crashes into the end of the hallway.
    Fail Screen: 2 fast 4 you
  • Jumpman allows you to set your speed at the beginning of each stage. from 1-9, with 1 being the fastest. While 3 is usually the best speed, and 2 is at least possible, 1 usually ends up being this trope, with the title character running off girders left and right (not to mention that the enemies and bullets in the stage are equally sped up).
  • This trope is something every Kerbal Space Program player learns about early on.
  • The 300cc and above cheat codes in Mario Kart DS are exactly like this, to the point it's pretty hard to turn, and power slides actually slow you down... You also seem to take off when you hit a ramp while using it, which is never a good way to stay away from bottomless pits. There's also the Aero Glider, which has the effects of this trope not purely due to speed, but because its stats for handling and drift are awful, so it's like driving on ice (and hitting all the walls in the process).
  • Micro Machines series has a few stages using high speed buggies and sport cars. Considering the speed and the top-view camera, they turn some stages into That One Level since it's too late to stop and take at turn when you realize there's a corner or a pitfall up ahead.
  • A Minecraft glitch can create this. About a minute into this video here.
  • Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate: Valstrax is an Elder Dragon that can use its wings like jet turbines to fly at supersonic speed. The problem, however, is that whatever is in Valstrax' path can't react in time (or rather, Valstrax can't, due to not having the faster information processing that one would need with Super-Speed.
  • Hyper Mode in both Mortal Kombat 9 and Mortal Kombat X Test Your Luck modes. Not only are you insanely faster, so is your opponent and the clock. Adding with things like Everything Is Trying to Kill You, Tilting World, and No Timer can lead to A-Grade headaches as you try to win.
  • In Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver's PokéWalker, sometimes your Pokémon runs ahead of you before it notices that it went too far from your distance, and will come running back.
  • In Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, you can't stop or steer at all for the first couple of seconds after you activate the Charge Boots, making it easy to fly off a cliff it there's one anywhere nearby. Later games had you regain control sooner, but there's still a risk.
  • In Resident Evil 5 Mercenaries minigame, Wesker has the ability to run forward at incredible speed, but since the arenas are generally small and cramped, it's rather easy to run him into a wall or turn or just shoot across the entire arena and waste valuable time.
  • Due to the small planet size in Spore's Galactic Adventures expansion, it is completely possible to go fast enough to send your captain into sustained orbit with a high enough elevation and clever use of jump pads. Several player-made levels use even this as a game mechanic.
  • Since the Skate or Die franchise has you on a skateboard, turning around or even stopping is dependent on forward momentum or lack of it, and it takes about 2 seconds to go from full speed to a stop. Bad 'N Rad exploits this with disappearing platforms, suddenly-appearing enemies, and pits at the end of ramps to the point where a normal playthrough is closer to a rhythm game than a standard platformer.
  • Star Fox 64: The boss of Macbeth constantly steps on the gas of his train to stay ahead of Fox, but by shooting the 8 junction switches and then the track switcher, the train is rerouted to send the train speeding toward the conductor's own fuel bunker. When the conductor realizes this, he frantically tries to hit the brakes, but the train is moving too fast and breaks through numerous barriers before slamming into the bunker and causing it, the train, and himself to explode.
  • Star Trek Online has a special set of boots given out during the Q's Winter Wonderland event which allows you to move much faster than you are now, but because they're special snow boots, they cause you to slip, slide and usually miss your destination.
  • In Star Wars:Dark Forces II - Jedi Knight, running into a wall while Force Speed is active can have this effect. It was reduced and eventually eliminated in subsequent Jedi Knight games.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl:
    • Numerous characters have special moves that will cause them to quickly move forward in any of a number of ways, whether it be a Flash Step for the Star Fox trio, a flying headbutt for Luigi and Pikachu, or a motorcycle for Wario. These can easily send you off the side of the screen or the stage if you aren't careful, and in the latter case, you may not be able to get back on, due to said specials removing your ability to take any further actions until you touch the ground in the case of some characters.
    • Wario plays the trope even straighter if you use the bike while he's transformed into Wario-Man, as it moves about four times as fast (But causes a proportionally higher amount of damage).
    • Sonic in general can suffer from this, thanks to his ridiculous running speed as well the speed of both his side B and down B specials, all three of which are essential to using him effectively. Thankfully, he also has a superb recovery special to get him back on the stage in the all too likely event he accidentally runs off.
    • Bunny Hood wearers in general can suffer from this, especially if they're one of the faster members of the cast like Fox, Captain Falcon, or the aforementioned Sonic.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • Speed-boosting accessories have this hazard, especially for Scouts, who are already the fastests units in game. Woe betide anyone who gets blasted into the air while running at ludicrous speed (usually sentries), as they are then stuck helplessly flailing in the air until they die.
    • Demomen equipped with shields in place of a Sticky Bomb Launcher can make a Dash Attack to close the gap with enemies and crash into them for Collision Damage. However, if the enemy dies, dodges, or is otherwise not there when the charging Demoman gets there, he is essentialy stuck charging until he either runs out of energy or hits a wall... or goes sailing off a cliff and into a Bottomless Pit. note 
  • In Touhou Chireiden ~ Subterranean Animism, ReimuC's ability is to move really fast whenever you aren't focused or shooting. Owing to the genre it's in however, the ability to move fast tends to send you into a bullet because you move too much.
  • Tribes: Ascend Revolves around moving really, really fast while essentially frictionless to avoid ending up dead when grabbing the enemy's flagnote . One of the Doombringer's most powerful defensive weapons is their forcefields - not only does it absorb weapon fire, if an unfortunate or unaware enemy comes at your flag from the wrong angle, they can slam into the barrier hard enough to kill themselves.
  • In the Konami Shoot 'Em Up TwinBee, collecting blue bells will increase your ship's speed. There is no maximum speed, so collecting too many will make your ship fall into this trope.
  • Gauss from Warframe weaponizes this with his first ability Mach Rush, where he simply starts sprinting really fast in one direction with very little turning control. The trope comes into play because slamming face first into a wall is the desired outcome, as it creates an explosion at the point of impact while also charging up Gauss' kinetic batteries to power his other abilities.
  • In Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine your Marine Character in full Powered Armor needs a good 10 feet to stop when running at full speed. Handy when you're rushing to an enemy, not so handy when trying to round a corner.
  • In Zone races in WipEout, your ship gradually increases in speed (no brakes!) and continues to do so until you sustain too much damage and crash.
  • In World of Warcraft riding a steed with the right talents can have you moving at 220% of your normal speed. Now ride it along thin bridges without railings over a 500 foot drop. Now lose your internet connection for a second. Enjoy the fall, you'll have some time to think. It's even more funny with the passenger mounts if one is a Paladin, Druid, Engineer, Mage, or Priest. Jump off a cliff with a passenger, dismount and bubble/slow fall/levitate/parachute cloak/flight form.

    Web Animation 
  • In DEATH BATTLE!, this is how Master Roshi defeats Jiraiya. Master Roshi dashes at Jiraya Sage Mode, ready to punch him. However, Jiraiya traps his soul in another dimension and prepares to torture him. Doing this, though, doesn't stop the speeding bullet that is Roshi, whose fist tears the pervy sage in half.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Summertime Shorts: Happens again to Rainbow Dash in the Music Video "Monday Blues", where she's running late for school at super speed because of the rain, ending up slamming into the lockers at CHS.


    Western Animation 
  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Jimmy makes himself some frictionless shoes which gave him Super-Speed to compete in school races. He ends up not winning because Cindy tricks him at the last second, and then tries to use the speed to play pranks. But the frictionless shoes prove impossible to stop once running for long, and when he tries to get rid of them he ends becoming a piece of glowing purple goo on the floor. Someone failed physics, since friction is what generates traction to begin with. Frictionless shoes would make it impossible for him to travel, he would either run in place or slip and fall with the first step. This is Hand Waved by Jimmy saying that the shoes are propulsive, and frictionless, which only makes sense on paper.
  • There was one episode of Dexter's Laboratory where Dexter tried to give himself various superpowers but ended up with unintended side effects. When he gave himself super speed, he could run around the world in an instant, but when he tried to stop he ended up skidding all the way around the world again.
  • Parodied in the Futurama episode "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back", as a bureaucrat on an ultra-slow scooter can't stop from rolling into a stack of boxes and jostling them slightly.
  • In an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy an out-of-shape Billy wants to pass the President's Fitness Challenge, and convinces Nergal Jr. to become a pair of pants that make him run super fast. Nergal Jr. gets stuck in that form and Billy can't stop running, with the implication he runs for all eternity.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: Frequently happens to users of the Rabbit Talisman, which grants super-speed but not super-reflexes.
  • Justice League:
    • In the first season, the Flash is held back a lot by being tripped or clotheslined by objects that he has no excuse for not seeing coming or reacting to.
    • In "Divided We Fall", the Flash has to run so fast to defeat the Luthor/Brainiac merger that he warps out of reality for a moment. When Hawkgirl pulls him back, he comments that if he ever runs so fast again, he may disappear for good.
  • Kim Possible: Kim uses a pair of shoes that can move at hyperspeed to fight the Bebe robots, but when she's done and she tries to go to her school dance, she keeps overshooting. This doesn't really make sense, as every other scene has her perceptions speed up along with her movement.
  • Looney Tunes: It's not uncommon for Wile E. Coyote to use Acme rocket-powered vehicles (such as skis, rollerskates, and even a unicycle) to pursue the Road Runner. He's also used roller-skis and axle grease. The predictable happens.
  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (2023): Instantanegirl is a brief speedster supervillainess introduced in "Run the Rink", who tries to take down Moon Girl in a straight bull rush. Unfortunately for Instantanegirl's chances, Moon Girl simply moved to the side, allowing the incoming wall to take Instantanegirl out.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • This seems to happen a lot with Rainbow Dash. It would explain where she got the nickname "Rainbow Crash". Inverted by the Sonic Rainboom, which seems to allow her to turn on a dime at over Mach 1.
    • Derpy Hooves is another pegasus that has trouble with decelerating before landing, as seen in "To Where and Back Again – Part 1". It's part of The Klutz package.
    • In "Twilight's Kingdom – Part 2", after Twilight Sparkle receives the power of four alicorns, her flying speed puts Rainbow Dash's to shame, but she has a hard time controlling it. Stopping involves leaving long gouges in the earth with all four hooves, in one instance ending up with a bump against Big Bad Tirek's legs. Whoops.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Run, Candace, Run", the title characters invent supersonic shoes, and Candace decides to use a pair of those to be able to be at two places at practically the same time. Unfortunately, hers are "unstable prototypes", and she crashes on the memorial her boyfriend's family erected to a Long-Lost Relative. Twice. Fortunately, she accidentally finds the relative on the way to the second crash, and the Johnsons are too happy to be upset.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987): Michelangelo once beat a speedster mutant by dropping a bureau in his way mid-dash, leading to the Fragile Speedster crashing through it.
  • In one episode of Teen Titans (2003), which Kid Flash is running away from Madam Rouge and ends up smashing into a brick wall at top speed. He acts dizzy and out of it for a few seconds until she catches up to him. In most cases, he's perfectly capable of stopping on a dime. This was mostly just him panicking because nothing he's doing is even slowing Madam Rouge down, and for some reason, she's perfectly able to keep up with a person who has ridiculous Super-Speed.
  • Thomas & Friends:
    • Truth in Television is at play here, as many accidents on the show happen as a result of the heavy trains not being able to slow down from the momentum they already have before they hit whatever is in their way or go off the tracks. A common narration before such an accident occurs is: "[Engine]'s driver applied the brakes...but it was too late."
    • In an example unrelated to accidents we have "Thomas the Jet Engine". Thomas must deliver a jet engine to Dryaw Airfield, and he gets impatient with Cranky the Crane at the docks as Cranky is loading Thomas's train up. Cranky loses his temper and swings around...accidentally bumping the jet engine's controls with his hook and turning it on. A wild ride around Sodor ensues as Thomas is sent blasting down his branch line at a ludicrous speed, with his drivers unable to do anything to slow Thomas down except wait for the jet engine to run out of fuel.
  • Happens to Bumblebee in Transformers: Animated when he gets a massive speed upgrade; fortunately, Optimus Prime is able to save him from driving off a cliff, but it ends up being his fault that the villain gets away.
  • Work It Out Wombats!: In "Special Delivery," while going to Sammy's house, Malik slides down a big sloping branch. However, he goes so fast, he almost crashes into Mr. E and is unable to stop.
  • Young Justice (2010): Kid Flash has this problem, running into a metal door because he didn't have enough space to stop. Though this might just have been because he was in a hallway. Luckily for him, his suit is visibly padded for sudden impacts.

    Real Life 
  • The Discworld's Puzuma example was probably based on the old urban legend (Busted, but still funny) about a car mounted with JATO-rockets embedded in a cliff-face somewhere in Arizona.
  • This is the cause of many car accidents, not to mention the yellow / amber lights on traffic signals: it's a warning that you will be required to be out of the intersection soon. If you are going too fast to stop, it is acceptable (indeed, preferable!) that you keep going, instead of trying to stop and merely blocking up traffic. Usually, the solid lines approaching the intersection are measured to provide a guide; if the light turns yellow and you haven't reached the solid lines, you should be able to stop in time, otherwise, consider yourself too far along to stop and keep going. This is one of the reasons why drivers in California are infamous for their "beating the yellow light before it turns red" type of behavior, who have turned it into an art form.
  • On some kinds of ice, five miles an hour can be too fast to stop. Definitely Truth in Television.
    • This trope is why figure skaters, while warming up and practicing before competition at a venue, has right of way if their music are playing over the sound systems. With the number of skaters competing on any given day, it's impractical for skaters to get on and off the ice one by one, so they are divided into groups, and everyone gets out of the way of whoever is running through their routine at the time. Skaters essentially move very fast on knife shoes, and crashes can be catastrophic regardless of whether both parties were in motion. Cutting in someone else's path can very easily result in a Career-Ending Injury.
  • Trains are very heavy, can go very fast, and their particular method of locomotion results in little friction. The end result is that they can take a mile or more to stop. This is why Racing the Train is such an extraordinarily bad idea and Railroad Tracks of Doom and Chained to a Railway exist as tropes.
  • Large ships have a similar problem. While they move relatively slowly, it may take quite a distance to get rid of all the momentum, because of their ludicrous mass, their limited methods of movement, and the fact that water is much worse at slowing someone down than the ground; the only way to stop one (relatively) quickly is to reverse the engines; coasting to a stop will take a long time. And because of all that mass, a big freighter hitting a pier at only a few knots can crush in the bow by twenty feet.
  • Anyone who has learned to skateboard has encountered this problem.
  • As does anyone on a bike coasting downhill fast enough that the choices are 1) hope you miss the trees (or car) at the bottom, 2) slowly apply the brakes a little at a time as they grind but don't quite grab, or 3) hit the brakes fully or flip to one side, and don't quite stay in the sweet spot of possibility 2 while scratching the hell out of your brakepads, or melting them if they're rubber brakes.
  • Skiers and Snowboarders have a rather serious case of this. Snow isn't exactly what one would call high-friction, unlike skateboards or bikes, there's no jumping off, it's practically attached to your feet. Your options are either A: Fall over backwards, which for a skier might force you to do splits and make it very hard to get the things off without help, B: Split your legs to try and turn your skis into a snowplough, to make things slower, C) Pull a 90 degree turn fast enough that you don't switch your momentum and just go off flying sideways, which is the way most people are taught later or D) Pull off your board or skis and fall.
  • Thanks to Newton's Laws, this can even be a problem when running unassisted. While you're unlikely to go flying off a ledge, it does take a few feet for the body to "backpedal" enough to come to a stop. Everyone has run into at least one wall because they stopped or turned too late. Something a lot of sports teach players is avoiding this trope. It's usually much better to be fast and maneuverable than too fast and stopping to turn.
  • This is a major issue with heavier than air aircraft; as air friction is sharply limited, a quick stop with such craft while traveling at high speeds is impossible. Worse still are airplanes; if they lack vertical takeoff and landing capabilities (as most do), they literally CANNOT stop while in the air; if they were to try, they would start falling, resulting in velocity in a different direction. Even when landing (where you can come to a complete stop, because the ground is supporting your weight, and where you have your wheelbrakes to help you slow down), it still takes a while to stop, especially if the runway is wet or icy. Runways at commercial airports need to be about two miles long in order for those big bulky passenger jets carrying hundreds of people to safely slow to a stop.
  • Spacecraft have it even worse in some respects, as "relative to what" becomes a major issue. Spacecraft speeds are often extremely high relative to other objects and as such have a difficult time braking, especially given that the only thing they can use is their own thrusters — space is essentially a vacuum, and entering an atmosphere at orbital speeds is suicidal.
  • Tachyons are hypothetical particles that are always superluminal. Since they have imaginary mass, they lose speed as they gain energy, and it would require an infinite amount of energy for one to slow down to the speed of light, let alone stop.


Video Example(s):


Lucas Lee's Grind Speed

Scott challenges Lucas Lee to perform a grind down some stairs, causing him to go fast enough without being able to stop.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / TooFastToStop

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