I've checked major online dictionaries to get this clarified but have had no luck so far.

What does to "pit a car" mean?

Example sentence: Pitting a car in a residential area is really dangerous.


I've been provided with English subtitles that I'm now translating to my mother tongue.

Above sentence is from a really brief dialogue between policemen. Not much further context.

  • 2
    Some context, like where did you find it? Feb 28, 2017 at 21:25
  • 2
    Petrolheads the world over will confirm that a race car will "pit" to take on fuel, change the tyres and/or change drivers, etc. Feb 28, 2017 at 22:34
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    @Peter That one I was aware of. That's an intransitive verb, unlike the usage I'm asking about, thoroughly answered below, where the verb appears in a transitive mode...
    – m.a.a.
    Feb 28, 2017 at 22:44

2 Answers 2


Since it was policemen talking, they were referring to the Pursuit Intervention Technique, colloquially known (among law enforcement) as the PIT maneuver, and apparently from your example, is now being used as a verb. As far as I know, the term is occasionally heard on police drama TV shows and some news reports, but is not really widely used outside of the police community.

The tactic is used when a suspect is attempting to flee in a motor vehicle, and police officers are chasing in their own vehicles. One of the chase vehicles approaches the suspect's from the rear quarter, then turns rapidly into it, causing the suspects vehicle to spin and loose control.

It is a risky thing to do, since the final position and direction of travel of the suspect's vehicle cannot be predicted. Thus, it makes a lot of sense that one officer would claim that doing so "in a residential area is really dangerous."

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    Also known as the pursuit immobilization technique, precision immobilization technique, parallel immobilization technique, and precision intervention tactic. Feb 28, 2017 at 21:48
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    Surprise Remodeling of a Living Room.
    – Yorik
    Feb 28, 2017 at 21:55

From Wikipedia:

The PIT maneuver, or precision immobilization technique, is a pursuit tactic by which a pursuing car can force a fleeing car to abruptly turn sideways, causing the driver to lose control and stop. It was developed and named by the Fairfax County Police Department of Virginia, United States. Other interpretations of the acronym "PIT" include pursuit immobilization technique, pursuit intervention technique, push it tough, parallel immobilization technique, and precision intervention tactic. The technique is also known as tactical car intervention, tactical ramming, legal intervention, and fishtailing. The technique is typically used by law enforcement officers as a safer alternative with which to bring car chases to a conclusion.

Attempting the PIT maneuver against a motorcyclist is extremely dangerous and prohibited in most countries.

Here is a YouTube video.


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