Say I’m in a high-speed car chase, what’s the best way to escape the police?

(Asked by Nick from Kent)

In my experience, the weapons cheat usually works a treat. I find that a roadblock is considerably less of an issue if you’re armed with a rocket launcher and twin uzis…

As for the real world, one wonders just why you’re asking me, Nick? (I really don’t want this article popping up as evidence at your trial while I go down for aiding an abetting you). Still, I must answer the questions my editor selects for me, so I’ll give this one a go (but don’t come crying to me if you end up serving several consecutive life sentences, OK?)

These days, law enforcement agencies tend to avoid car chases of any sort. The risks to police, bystanders, motorists and even to the criminal him/herself are simply considered to be too great. There are also the issues of lawsuits and collateral damage to consider.

If the vehicle represents a danger to others on the road, however, then all bets are off and police will act as swiftly as they can to rectify the dangerous situation. The first rule, then, would be don’t drive your getaway car whilst drunk (this rules out committing violent crimes on New Year’s Eve, St. Paddy’s Day, or your birthday).

OK, so let’s assume you’ve actually committed the initial crime and you’re emailing me from the getaway car. What then? 

The police’s general tactic, in most cases, will be to outnumber and outmanoeuvre you. They’ll communicate with each other and co-ordinate their efforts, herding you towards an area full of their colleagues. Also, the longer the chase goes on for, the more units will be dispatched to join in. They’ll simply keep sending cars after you; it’s just a process of wearing you down, really.

In addition, the rozzers are trained for this sort of thing, whereas you likely aren’t (playing GTA IV until 5AM the night before simply doesn’t count). This means that they will have an easier time driving at high speeds and making split second decisions, while you will probably find the process of driving at high speeds mentally and physically exhausting.

If the cops figure out where you’re headed, they’ll close down all possible routes. If you have no destination in mind, they’ll eventually be able to head you off at every conceivable pass anyway. Once the helicopter is dispatched (assuming you last that long), they can track you with thermal imaging technology, even if you leave the car.

They’ll also use a device called the stinger, which lays flat across the road and, quite simply, bursts your tires, making driving impossible. By the time the stingers are laid down, police with dogs are already on their way…

Essentially, once you get in that car, you are on a time limit. The longer you are in the car, the less likely your escape will be. The best thing to do, then, would be to use the car only for a very short period of time, just to get you from one designated place to another. Where possible, changing cars would likely help. If you are going to commit a crime, meticulous planning (together with an awareness of modern police methods), is going to be much more useful to you than a souped-up speed machine that is far more likely to forcibly insert you into a lamp post than it would be to allow you to retire to the Fiji islands and live like a king.

In truth, the vast majority of car chases end spectacularly badly (did you ever see anyone get away cleanly on ‘Police, Camera Action’?) and they endanger innocent lives. Being a paraplegic prisoner for the rest of your life isn’t really a fun thing to think about, neither is ending the day of your first big score as dog food.

I must say though, this is still preferable to living in America, because over there they just shoot you, weapons cheat or no weapons cheat. My advice? Stick to GTA and working for a living, it may not be glamorous, but there’s far less chance of being forcibly sodomized in prison and then ending up as a guest on ‘The Jeremy Kyle Show’ saying something like “I’ve made mistakes, I admit that, innit” as if it exonerates you from all culpability.