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"I'll kick your butt in fast-forward! (runs at El Toro, who moves one step to the right and lets Ratso slam into a wall) Gotta work on the brakes."

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 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 Harsh Mistress.

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 a wind chill in the negative hundreds, etc etc.

Examples of Too Fast to Stop include:


Anime and Manga

  • During their B-Rank promotion test in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, 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.
    • An earlier occurrence of this same 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.
  • The first episode of Moldiver had a rather prolonged scene with the main character 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 was pretty much the #2 go-to gag of the series behind crossdressing.
  • Happens to Clare in Claymore 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.
  • 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".
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn, Tsuna suffers from this right off the bat when his gloves updated to Ver. VR. This resulted in zooming past his ridiculously bloodthirsty oponent and running into cement-reinforced walls, therefore resulting in a curb stomp.
  • 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 was behind you. Just make sure you're not in-between or you won't exist any longer.
  • Used in one battle of Mahou Sensei Negima. 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.
  • 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 FlashStepping because of difficulty stopping and turning. This causes him to run into things and is responsible for his death. Earning him the Fan Nickname of "Russian Burger Flash Running Into Trees". Due to his country, remuneration, power, and being Too Fast to Stop.

Comic Books

  • A Calvin and Hobbes strip had 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 wasn'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 provided an action backdrop to avoid "talking heads" in a deeply philosophical discussion... And the inevitable crash at the end provided a nice counterpoint. On a few memorable occasions, the entire discussion was about the impending crash.
  • The Flash has been known to use this in order to defeat rival speedsters. He also falls prey to it himself whenever it's time for him to job for someone who should have no realistic way of beating him, despite his Super Reflexes.
    • Worth noting: running into a wall isn't a problem for the Flash, Depending on the Writer. Thanks to quantum mechanics, he can run through walls without harming them (it's called "tunneling").
  • Mina Mongoose of the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series suffered from this initially, thus forcing her to ask Sonic to help. She also used those moments to try and win his heart.

Fan Fic

Film

  • In the second The Mighty Ducks film, a speed skater was introduced into the team. He was extremely fast and actually quite agile and maneuverable, but he had one slight problem... which was shown when he "stopped" 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.
  • The first Flash movie has the titular protagonist 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 the sea, and the water finally kills his momentum.

Literature

  • The Ambiguous Puzuma of Discworld 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.
  • 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 useable speed - otherwise, the first step he takes, he'd stumble and fall over the equator.
  • One of the Drizzt books had him facing a drow warrior with enchanted bracers that made his arms move impossibly fast. Unfortunately, he'd apparently never really learned to fight with them, so his footwork and other positioning suffered, and his arms moved too fast for him to stop a move he'd started. Drizzt killed him and took the bracers...and after figuring out that even with his training he couldn't overcome the drawbacks, lamenting that a warrior wins with his feet, not his hands. So he put them around his ankles.

Live Action TV

  • The Greatest American Hero had the hero able to fly but he couldn't figure out how to land.
  • The first season episode of Heroes with Nathan landing outside a diner and skidding painfully to a halt.
  • 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...
  • There was an episode of Smallville where Clark's powers started going haywire. 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 an episode of The Flash series, 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 Flash himself had this problem in the pilot episode. He takes off at a dash, panics and puts on the brakes, and finds himself 30 miles from where he started.
  • In an episode of Lois and Clark, Clark was able to pull this off against a nemesis who had just stolen his superpowers by taunting her. Justified in that it was the very first time she ever used her newly acquired speed.

Video Games

  • Some old DOS games are affected, since the character moves lightning fast on modern systems (because they don't use real-time delays). Of course, enemies feel that it's normal speed, and adapt instantly.
  • Morrowind. Scrolls of Icarian Flight, which allow you to jump extremely long distances, but forebears granting you the Feather Fall status effect. Splat. It's actually possible to survive the landing, but it's really a matter of luck.
    • Though use of these scrolls does allow one to sequence break through the main quest, completing it in less than fifteen minutes, rather than several days.
    • Abusing alchemy can lead to this trope as well. If your speed is too high, a single button press will move you until you meet a wall. That won't kill you. But if there is anything like a ramp ahead, it will get you flying, so you have to be ready for the fall.
    • The game also includes the Boots of Blinding Speed. While wearing them you move incredibly fast... but you also can't see anything. Apparently quite a few previous bearers of these boots ended up on the wrong side of a cliff.
  • In Super Smash Bros Brawl, Fox, Falco, Wolf, Ike, Jigglypuff, Pikachu, Lucario, Squirtle, Sonic, Luigi, the Ice Climbers, and Wario all have special moves where they dash, run, spin, or ride a motorcycle forwards. All of them can easily shoot off of a cliff and be unable to recover, since the forward specials count as the one allowed recovery move.
    • Pikachu, Squirtle, Sonic, Luigi, and Wario's moves in question don't prevent them from using their other moves for recovery afterward, but nonetheless, can send a careless player flying off a cliff.
    • Wario plays the trope extremely straight if you use the bike while he's transformed into Wario-Man, as it moves about four times as fast, and can go flying off the side of the screen before you can jump off or turn if you're on a small level.
    • However, Sonic is the worst. There are only 2 types of players for him; good and bad. Since he is so fast, he tends to run of the ledge and if you do recover with his side-b, then he runs of the other ledge. His Smash-attack is no better and it's completely possible to not hit anyone with how fast he moves. He is easily the hardest character to control as you HAVE to go fast and use that speed, or you'll die.
  • 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.
  • Averted in City of Heroes, where those who take the Superspeed power are able to start, stop, and turn on a dime.
  • 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.
  • In 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • Video Game/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 Dukes of Hazzard moment, using one of light trucks (complete with Dixie horn!).
  • 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 it's stats for handling and drift are awful, so it's like driving on ice (and hitting all the walls in the process).
  • 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).
  • In Zone races in Wipeout HD, your car gradually increases in speed (no brakes!) and continues to do so until you sustain too much damage and crash.
  • In Ratchet and 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 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.
  • A Minecraft glitch can create this. About a minute into this video. [1]
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Speaking of Sonic the Hedgehog, it's actually possible to go fast enough that you could fall into a Bottomless Pits without realizing it right away. This gets even worse in the Sega Genesis games and Sonic Advance Trilogy when the camera often can't keep up.[1]
  • In Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver's Poké Walker, sometimes your Pokémon runs ahead of you before it notices that it went too far from your distance, and will come running back.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • In an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy and 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.
  • 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.
  • Similarly happened in Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Jimmy made himself some frictionless shoes which gave him Super Speed to compete in school races. He ended up not winning because Cindy tricked him at the last second, and then tried to use the speed to play pranks. But the frictionless shoes proved impossible to stop once running for long, and when he tried to get rid of them he ended becoming a piece of glowing purple goo on the floor.
    • Someone failed physics forever, 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 Handwaved by Jimmy saying that the shoes were propulsive, and frictionless, which only makes sense on paper.
      • Since when does Jimmy Neutron ever go anywhere close to real physics?
  • In one Looney Tunes cartoon, Wile E. Coyote tries to catch the Roadrunner using some Acme rocket skates. The predictable happens.
  • 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.
  • 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. Of course, her perceptions were supposed to be sped up to match her speed
  • 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.
  • There's an episode of Teen Titans in 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 the finale of the Project Cadmus arc of Justice League Unlimited, The Flash has to runs so fast to defeat Luthor/Braniac merger that he warps out of reality for a moment. When Hawkgirl pulls him back, he comments that he may never run so fast again, lest he disappears for good.
    • In the first season of Justice League, The Flash was held back a lot by being tripped or clotheslined by objects that he had no excuse for not seeing coming or reacting to.
  • In the cartoon of Young Justice, 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.
  • This seems to happen a lot with Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. It would explain where she got the nickname "Rainbow Crash".

Real Life

  • The Discworld's Puzuma example was probably based on the old urban legend (False, 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!
    • On some kinds of ice, five miles an hour can be too fast to stop. Definitely Truth in Television.
  • 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 even worse for very large ships. While they move relatively slowly, it takes them hours to get rid of all the momentum, because of their ludicrous mass and the fact that water is much worse at slowing someone down than the ground. 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 (but in a way that damages the brakepads) 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.
  • 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.
    • Has happened a few times with Mythbusters experiments. Such as the "Instant Convertible".

Notes

  1. 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.
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