Why Do Bumper Cars Not Get Shocked

  • By: Kevinsmak
  • Date: July 20, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.
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I’m sure you have seen the bumper cars at your favorite amusement park. They tend to be getting rarer as time goes on but you can still find them and enjoy the ride.

The question comes up, can you get hurt or even shocked by bumper cars? Well in this article we will break it all down for you and if you still need more information make sure to check out how bumper cars work next!

You don’t get shocked because you have to be part of the circuit. You would need to be touching the ceiling and the floor at the same time with skin contact while the ride is turned on to be able to receive a small voltage shock that your skin may even protect you from. The car itself is made of fiberglass which is an insulator.

Can Bumper Cars Shock You?

There are a lot of different ways that you can get shocked by bumper cars but they are not easy to do. Most of today’s bumper cars have safety measures to avoid the flow of energy.

The basic idea is you are not part of the circuit created by bumper cars. Before we get too deep on this let’s talk about a few other points.

Type of bumper car

The type of bumper car will really determine the information I provide here. First, you must know there are 3 different types of bumper cars that are used, however; you usually only see one of the types.

The three types are:

  • Sky grid bumper car
  • Ground grid bumper car
  • Battery-powered bumper car

Let’s first eliminate talking about the ground grid bumper cars as they are extremely rare in amusement parks. They are talked about a lot online but no one ever sees them, possibly because they are not as safe as the other options.

Next, we can not worry about battery-powered bumper cars as their chance for a shock would be similar to driving a Power Wheels around.

That leaves the sky grid bumper cars. These are the ones that have a pole attached to the back and use ground wire to receive the electrical energy into the motor of the vehicle.

What has to happen for the sky grid bumper car to shock you?

There are a few things that would have to happen to receive a shock. You would have to complete the circuit to start.

That means you would need to be touching the floor and the electrically charged ceiling at the same time. The operator of the ride would also have to have the electricity turned on which they shouldn’t do if you get outside of the car.

If these are all true then you can receive a small voltage shock if your body doesn’t block it and you have no rubber shoes on.

Your skin can also protect you from low voltage shocks and most of these bumper cars are between 12 volts to 48 volts but you will find most of these vehicles are 24 volts or lower.

The cars themself are made out of fiberglass and the attached pole so this provides safety for you. As long as you keep your hands and body parts inside the bumper car you should not experience any sense of danger unless you realize sparks coming from the ceiling.

Can sparks from the ceiling hurt you?

The short answer is yes, the sparks can technically fall on you and cause a burn. The operator should turn the ride off immediately if they notice lots of sparks.

This means the shoe on top of the pole is either worn out or dirty and needs the contacts clean. It could also mean the ceiling as a whole would need to be cleaned.

At this point, the bumper car services should be put on hold till the issue is resolved.

Why Do People Love Bumper Cars

The driving force to why people love bumper cars is related to Newton’s laws. Mainly the third law is that every action can be expected to produce an equal and opposite reaction.

So when the cars are driving around the floor and the bumpers hit each other the fun starts. The driver experiences the bump and at that point will want to hit the other driver back even hard or the opposite can hold true and they will want to avoid the other drivers fearing more collisions.

Keep in mind when bumper cars were developed they were not intended to bump into other cars and they all even went in a single direction to avoid this. Then some cars bumped into each other and the dopamine rush hits and the driver then want more fun and they kind have transformed since then.

They added more of a rubber bumper around the car so it can take more of a collision and absorb the energy hit.

Amusement Park Saftey Features

There are lots of safety features for bumper cars designated by amusement parks. First, the vehicle must travel in the same direction so they can avoid a hit.

If for some reason they don’t have this feature they may put something in the middle of the site like a big sign, object, or island so you can’t gain a lot of speed. Gaining more speed would be a more powerful bump to the other rider once the two cars come into contact.

Reducing the amount of runway for them to pick up this speed does help keep everyone safe from getting jolted too hard.

The operator will also turn the electricity on and off. This is important so no one can get hurt and it forces all the cars to stop at the end of the ride.

The technology behind this is very important as if an operator forgets to do his job the cars will still have power and people can hit the driver that is out of their car causing a horrible collision.

The ride will also be cleaned and checked often to see if the shoe is sending any sparks into the air. This can possibly cause burns and will shut down a ride until the issue is resolved.

Are Bumper Cars Safe?

Yes, they are as long as they are maintained and operated correctly. They will also give you a bump when a collision happens so if you have an underlying condition then you would stay away from them.

For example, if you have bad back problems the last thing you want to do is go crashing around in cars. Before deciding if the bumper cars are for you check to see if you see any sparks coming from the ceiling, it will look like a little fireworks display at the end of the pole.

If you do see these then you should pass and alert the staff so they can fix or clean this issue so no one gets hurt. Other than that keep everything in the ride when it’s turned on and wait till they shut it down to exit.

If you are wet from say water rides you are more susceptible to getting a jolt but as you read earlier on, it is not easy to accomplish getting buzzed by the voltage power.

Final Thoughts

Now you understand the safety features that are put forth by the operator controlling the power from their computer to your skin helping insulate you against lower voltage shocks.

If you want to go even deeper into these check out how bumper cars work.


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