PSA: Beware, this infamous, hilarious Fallout 4 bug can kill you instantly for no reason at all

Fallout 4
(Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

Bethesda's open world RPGs have a reputation for being pretty buggy, and while I'd say vanilla Fallout 4 is considerably more stable than the likes of Skyrim, Fallout 3, or Fallout: New Vegas, it still has its fair share of glitches that range from "silly nonsense" to "annoying af." The one I'm about to warn you about in this article, though, is a bit of both.

The specific bug I'm referring to is the "Fallout 4 car death glitch," which has a small chance of happening whenever you touch one of the many pre-War vehicles scattered across the roads of the Commonwealth. By just bumping into one of these by walking or sprinting, a bizarre physics interaction that instantly kills your character can occur, causing you to keel over in a death ragdoll on the spot.

Bethesda has never fixed this glitch, so it's been a recurring — albeit fairly rare — problem for players since Fallout 4's original 2015 release. As a result, it's been cemented in history as one of the game's most infamous bugs, and it's one you should be aware of if you're one of the many people playing Fallout 4 for the first time after watching Amazon's critically acclaimed Fallout TV show. Here are some hilarious examples of it happening:

Uh uh...I think I got ran over by a car from r/fo4
I got killed by a parked car 💀 from r/fo4
Love how fallout hasn’t changed. from r/fo4
My new survival playtrough, death by high level car in the first hour. This is fun. from r/fo4

As funny as the car death glitch is, it's definitely something that Bethesda should have fixed by now. It may be little more than a chuckle-worthy inconvenience in regular playthroughs, but I'd probably have to resist the urge to smash my PC with a Super Sledge if it happened to me during a Survival Mode run that only lets you save your game when you sleep in a bed. Depending on where you are and what quests you're doing, you may not be able to get back to a friendly settlement for hours.

Therefore, to minimize the chances of this bug happening, most Fallout players have adopted a simple philosophy: don't touch the cars.

"Don't touch the cars, people. We've been over this," wrote u/elchsaaft in reply to a clip of the glitch posted yesterday. "Avoid cars like a plague!" added u/iCake1989. u/jkaoz, though, had the best comment: "Not a single car in this game has worked for 200 years, and yet car accidents are still the leading cause of death."

Steering clear of the abandoned vehicles is pretty much the only thing you can do to save yourself from these spontaneous "car accidents," though if you're playing on Steam or GOG and willing to do a little modding, you can install the Car Physics Death Bug Fix by opt33 on Nexus Mods. It doesn't patch the glitch out, though it does reduce the damage it causes to easily survivable levels. It doesn't affect how much the cars hurt when they explode from gunfire, though, so keep that in mind. 

Fallout 4 is benefitting greatly from the ongoing Fallout player count resurgence, as it's one of the best-selling games right now. It's arguably one of the best Xbox games and best PC games to play if you're checking out the legendary RPG series for the first time, and one of the best titles available on Xbox Game Pass.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.