50 Dangerous Things: Stick Your Hand Out the Window

Stick Your Hand Out the Window

I had to chuckle when I came across this challenge, as this was one of those things that I specifically remember not being able to do as a child.  My parents were pretty laid back, but for some reason this was a freedom I wasn’t allowed.  I should ask them why, but as with most things related to complaints about my childhood, I simply get waved off with a “Bah. I don’t remember it that way.”  Perhaps it had something to do with an incident involving my older brother, who once got his head stuck out the car window while my dad unknowingly tried to crank it higher to no avail.  All I know is that the windows were almost always up, unless my dad was flicking his cigarette ash out of one.  Ahh, to have grown up in the late 70s/early 80s.

Task:  Experience aerodynamics and experiment with lift and drag by sticking your hand out of a car window while it’s in motion.


  • Moving vehicle (with open window)
  • Open road
Possible Hazards:  
  • Amputation
  • Broken Bones
To avoid these possible hazards, keep hands in on gravel roads.  Make sure (obviously) that your hand won’t hit anything (mailboxes, tree branches, other cars, etc.) when you stick it out the window.

How It All Went Down:


My kids laughed when I told them this was considered A Dangerous Thing.  We do this all the time. This particular time I made a point to talk about lift and drag.  Lift your hand up and down and feel the wind lift the weight of your arm.  What happens when you rotate your hand vertically and horizontally?  Spread your fingers out – does that change how easy or hard it is to lift your hand?  Is the wind stronger around certain parts of the window?  We spent a few minutes discussing, and then we just shut up and enjoyed the breeze and the sweet summer air.  Extra points if you can jam out to “Windows Are Rolled Down” by Amos Lee at the same time.

There are just some days that are meant for windows down and hands out, and these waning days of summer are no exception. You can’t just stick it out there, though, you have to do it with gusto.   So keep your head in and your hands out and you should be just fine.

Want more?  Read about the rest of our experiences with 50 Dangerous Things. Inspired by Gever Tulley’s book 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do).


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