“You’d need the best equipment, and you’d need everything to go right, like landing in the exact right spot, but there’s no reason a car couldn’t parachute down and keep right on driving,” Kleban said.

The parachute would have to be designed with the highest degree of strength and size (a parachute will slow down a heavy object in direct proportion to the parachute’s area). And of course, the car would still be coming in hard even with an open parachute. But it would be able to “flare up” in the last seconds, converting its high amount of vertical speed to horizontal speed, sufficiently slowing its drop.

(The normal human form of skydiving includes this maneuver too, though people have to be careful not to convert vertical speed into so much horizontal speed they can’t run fast enough to keep up when they land; a car has no such issue.)

In fact, a long pre-parachute freak-out by someone inside the car, as happens in the film, wouldn’t even be likely, Kleban added, because after a number of seconds of free fall the car would reach its terminal velocity of between 200 and 300 miles per hour — and feel to the person inside as if they were not moving at all.