Car Surfing can describe a car-sharing model of car rental where people rent cars for short periods of time, often by the hour. Car surfing is also used to describe an activity in which passengers of moving vehicles perform various stunts (also known as urban surfing or ghost riding). These stunts include hanging out of the car or 'surfing' on the hood (bonnet), trunk (boot), or the roof of the vehicle while it is in motion.
One context of car surfing describes how members move from public transport to a car in a car sharing fleet, effectively "surfing" this transport option on the way to an eventual destination. In another context, car surfing from a moving vehicle has been popularized by the hyphy movement. In this usage, it is similar to ghost riding, except the vehicle remains under the nominal control of another person.
Car surfing is a very dangerous activity. People who fall off during the ride may suffer brain contusions, fractured skulls, neck injuries, broken bones, loss of consciousness, internal bleeding, paralysis, and even death. What might seem like a reasonably safe surf might turn deadly in the presence of an outside influence, like a passing vehicle, a unseen speedbump, or a pole near the road.
Car surfing has caused several people to be killed during the course of such stunts. A 2008 study by the United States Centers for Disease Control identified 58 newspaper reports of car-surfing deaths and 41 reports of nonfatal injury from 1990 through summer 2008. Most reports of injury were found in U.S. Midwest and Southern newspapers (75%), largely involving males (70%) and youths aged 15-19 (69%). A majority (58%) of reported car surfing incidents ended in death.
In Popular Culture
- Student Dies in Car Surfing Accident
- The origins and risks of car surfing (Naval Safety Center)
- 55-year-old CFO Dies While Car Surfing (The Business Journal, Phoenix, 6 December 2004)
- Car surfing: Kevin Ducharme est décédé
- Car surfing: une ado entre la vie et la mort à Drummondville
- GTA blamed for Increase in car surfing deaths.
- Injuries Resulting from Car Surfing --- United States, 1990--2008
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