Have you ever wondered what it is like to be locked inside the trunk of a car?

Sounds like peace!

Remember how much you’ve always wanted your own little space? Well, here is it.

You’ve got more than a space; your own world only that it’s at the back of a car.

Hate to imagine but for the most part of your stay in that ‘little world’, it’s going to be HOT! Yeah, notice the CAPS. However, one question that strikes the heart is; can you breathe in a car trunk? Or do you just get killed by boredom?

Car trunks are designed to keep things safe from the outside in, but they aren’t really “closed” in the sense of being airtight. Pretty much every commercially available car has adequate air exchange to allow you to breathe comfortably. If you’re trapped in a car that’s not underwater, suffocation won’t kill you.

Do you have that one ‘crazy’ friend who is ever ready to lock you in a car trunk and will gladly give you a hand in this kind of adventurous situation? Well, before you play ‘the mummy’ in your own car trunk, let’s find out if it is safe to try it at home.

Is it safe to ride in the trunk of a car?

Getting a ride in the trunk of a car might sound like fun, but when forced to do it, then it definitely isn’t.


These kids are probably having the best time of their life riding in the trunk; so tell me, Is it a bad idea for someone to ride inside the trunk of a car?

Well, It depends on the car.

If you have a vehicle like an SUV, there’s plenty of backspace to add a couple of tweaks that’ll let you carry passengers in the trunk. But if you’re not in for the customization or you have a car with little cargo space, then it is a bad idea.

What movie does this remind you of?


Typically, a car trunk is designed as the primary storage area for cargo or luggage.

Is it illegal to ride in the trunk of a car?

Yes, it is against the law to have a person ride in your trunk

The trunk is one of several locations on or in a vehicle where it is unlawful to permit your passengers to ride and there are separate violations for allowing someone to ride in the trunk and for the person riding in the trunk.

An extract from the vehicle code states:

  • A person shall not ride on a vehicle or upon a portion of a vehicle not designed or intended for the use of passengers.
  • A person driving a motor vehicle shall not knowingly permit a person to ride in the trunk of that motor vehicle.
  • A person shall not ride in the trunk of a motor vehicle.

According to “death experts”, these are some reasons why riding in the trunk of a car is dangerous.

  • Unlike the interior of a car where there is a seat belt and airbag, the trunk lacks protection.  In the event of an accident, where so ever is in the trunk gets tossed. You hate to be the one in, cos you’d certainly get hurt.
  • The trunk also serves as a crush zone that is intended to protect passengers in case of an accident. You’d be directly lying on top of the gas tank. That’s a problem!

Getting locked inside a trunk is possible, that’s why there are some release mechanisms, but if no one is aware that the individual was there, they could be trapped.

Do all cars have emergency trunk release?

Thanks to the new Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) No. 401; Internal trunk release, all new passenger cars with trunks are required to have a release latch inside the trunk compartment

This mandate required all cars to feature a standard glow-in-the-dark trunk-release lever, which opens the trunk from the inside in the event of an emergency.

Are car trunks ventilated? Can you suffocate in the trunk of a car?

We know that car trunks are made to be secure from the outside in, but come to think of it; are they as protective from the inside as well?

You’d probably laugh to this joke, have a read.

Volkswagen quality control would check the quality of their car’s weathering by locking a cat inside the car and checking back in a week. If the cat had died, the car would pass.

Fiat employees tried to do the same experiment on a Fiat Panda. They locked a cat in the car. When they came back after a few hours, the cat just wasn’t in the car anymore.

The first thing to keep in mind when you’re flung into a trunk is that you will not run out of air in the trunk.

With the exception of very few specifically designed vehicles, no car is truly “closed” in the sense of being airtight. Pretty much every commercially available vehicle allowed enough air exchange for you to breathe. If you’re trapped in a car that’s not underwater, suffocation won’t kill you.

Also, many cars have foldable rear seats, so there is enough leakage to provide sufficient air. However, if the car is in the hot sun then whoever or whatever is in the trunk will die of heatstroke.

How long can a person survive in the trunk of a car?

Remember the survival rule of 3’s? You can survive

  • 3 weeks without food
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 hours with temperature controlling shelter and
  • 3 minutes without air.

So long as the air isn’t contaminated with Carbon dioxide (CO2) from the exhaust, they could survive indefinably in the trunk of a car. Your only concern should be the temperature as trunks are neither cooled nor heated and so it would quickly hit the extreme of either range.

Unless someone has gone out of his way to seal the trunk very carefully, a person will not suffocate.

How do you pop a trunk from inside?

In case of emergency its great you know how to break out of a car’s trunk

Recent model cars have an emergency trunk release – a pull-to-release handle in the trunk that glows in the dark. With just a pull, it unlocks the trunk from inside.


Now you know you can breathe in a car trunk poping the boot open shouldn’t be a problem whenever you find yourself in one.

Have you ever gotten stuck in a car trunk? How long were you in it? Share with us in the comments.


About the Author

Larry Cruise


I know a lot about cars, man. I can look at any car's headlights and tell you exactly which way it's coming.

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