jQuery/JavaScript collision detection

How to detect if two <div> elements have collided?

The two divs are simple coloured boxes travelling perpendicular to each other, so no complicated shapes or angles.

var overlaps = (function () {
    function getPositions( elem ) {
        var pos, width, height;
        pos = $( elem ).position();
        width = $( elem ).width();
        height = $( elem ).height();
        return [ [ pos.left, pos.left + width ], [ pos.top, pos.top + height ] ];

    function comparePositions( p1, p2 ) {
        var r1, r2;
        r1 = p1[0] < p2[0] ? p1 : p2;
        r2 = p1[0] < p2[0] ? p2 : p1;
        return r1[1] > r2[0] || r1[0] === r2[0];

    return function ( a, b ) {
        var pos1 = getPositions( a ),
            pos2 = getPositions( b );
        return comparePositions( pos1[0], pos2[0] ) && comparePositions( pos1[1], pos2[1] );

$(function () {
    var area = $( '#area' )[0],
        box = $( '#box0' )[0],
    html = $( area ).children().not( box ).map( function ( i ) {
        return '<p>Red box + Box ' + ( i + 1 ) + ' = ' + overlaps( box, this ) + '</p>';
    }).get().join( '' );

    $( 'body' ).append( html );
body {
    padding: 30px;
    color: #444;
    font-family: Arial, sans-serif;

h1 {
    font-size: 24px;
    margin-bottom: 20px;

#area {
    border: 2px solid gray;
    width: 500px;
    height: 400px;
    position: relative;

#area > div {
    background-color: rgba(122, 122, 122, 0.3);
    position: absolute;
    text-align: center;
    font-size: 50px;
    width: 60px;
    height: 60px;

#box0 {
    background-color: rgba(255, 0, 0, 0.5) !important;
    top: 150px;
    left: 150px;

#box1 {
    top: 260px;
    left: 50px;

#box2 {
    top: 110px;
    left: 160px;

#box3 {
    top: 200px;
    left: 200px;

#box4 {
    top: 50px;
    left: 400px;

p {
    margin: 5px 0;
<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.7.1/jquery.min.js"></script>
<h1>Detect overlapping with JavaScript</h1>
<div id="area">
    <div id="box0"></div>
    <div id="box1">1</div>
    <div id="box2">2</div>
    <div id="box3">3</div>
    <div id="box4">4</div>

General idea - you get the offset and dimension of the boxes and check whether they overlap.

If you want it to update, you can use setInterval:

function detectOverlapping() {
    // code that detects if the box overlaps with a moving box
    setInterval(detectOverlapping, 25);


Also, note that you can optimize the function for your specific example.

  • you don't have to read the box dimensions repeatedly (like I do in my code) since they are fixed. You can read them on page load (into a variable) and then just read the variable

  • the horizontal position of the little box does not change (unless the user resizes the window). The vertical positions of the car boxes does not change. Therefore, those values also do not have to be read repeatedly, but can also be stored into variables.

  • you don't have to test whether the little box overlaps with all car boxes at all times. You can - based on its vertical position - figure out in which lane the box is currently, and test only the specific car box from that lane.

I believe this is the easiest way: http://plugins.jquery.com/project/collidable

Here is another one, in German: http://www.48design.de/news/2009/11/20/kollisionsabfrage-per-jquery-plugin-update-v11-8/

I'd give those a try.


I can't really spend anytime on it right now, but i can when i get home if no one answers but you;d do something like:

            //First step would be to get the offset of item 1 and item 2
            //Second would be to get the width of each
            //Third would be to check if the offset+width ever overlaps
                //the offset+width of the 2nd
            //Fourth would be, if so, do X or set a class...

Its a little late on this but I guess you could use this approach that I tried when I was faced with the similar situation. The advantage here is that there are no additional plugin, or scripts involved and neither do you have to introduce performance hungry polling into it. This technique uses the the built-in methods and events that Jquery's droppable has to offer.

Ok, enough said, here's the solution technique: Say if you have two elements (images in my case) and you don't want them to overlap or detect when they do, make the two elements a droppable and make them to 'accept' each other:



var originatingOffset = null;
    tolerance: "touch",
    activate : function (event, ui) {
        // note the initial position/offset when drag starts
        // will be usedful in drop handler to check if the move
        // occurred and in cae overlap occurred, restore the original positions.
        originatingOffset = ui.offset;
    drop : function (event, ui) {
            // If this callback gets invoked, the overlap has occurred. 
            // Use this method to either generate a custom event etc.

            // Here, i used it to nullify the move and resetting the dragged element's 
            // position back to it's original position/offset
            // (which was captured in the 'activate' handler)
            top: originatingOffset.top + "px",
            left: originatingOffset.left + "px"
        }, 300);

The 'activate' and 'drop' handlers refer to the 'dropactivate' and 'drop' events of "droppable" plugin

Here, the key is the 'drop' callback. Whenever any of the two elements overlap and they are dropped over each other, the 'drop' will be called. This is the place to detect and take actions, may be sending out custom events or calling other actions (I here chose to revert the overlapping element's positions to the initial position when the drag started, which was captured in 'activate' callback).

That's it. No polling, no plugins, just the built-in events.

Well, there can be other optimizations/extensions done to it, this was simply the first shot out of my head that worked :)

You can also use the 'dropover' and 'dropout' events to signal and create a visual feedback to the user that two elements are overlapping, while they may be still on the move.

var CLASS_INVALID = "invalid";
// .invalid { border: 1px solid red; }
   over : function (event, ui) {
        // When an element is over another, it gets detected here;
        // while it may still be moved.
        // the draggable element becomes 'invalid' and so apply the class here
    out : function(event, ui) {               
         // the element has exited the overlapped droppable now
         // So element is valid now and so remove the invalid class from it

Hope this helps!

EDIT: I have written a blog post on my website. Here a link to it. http://area36.nl/2014/12/creating-your-own-collision-detection-function-in-javascript/

Well I had the same problem but thanks to the answer of Oscar Godson I got a function that works. I used Jquery for easy coding and because i'm lazy ;p. I put the function in a other function that is fired every second so keep that in mind.

function collidesWith (element1, element2) {
    var Element1 = {};
    var Element2 = {};

    Element1.top = $(element1).offset().top;
    Element1.left = $(element1).offset().left;
    Element1.right = Number($(element1).offset().left) + Number($(element1).width());
    Element1.bottom = Number($(element1).offset().top) + Number($(element1).height());

    Element2.top = $(element2).offset().top;
    Element2.left = $(element2).offset().left;
    Element2.right = Number($(element2).offset().left) + Number($(element2).width());
    Element2.bottom = Number($(element2).offset().top) + Number($(element2).height());

    if (Element1.right > Element2.left && Element1.left < Element2.right && Element1.top < Element2.bottom && Element1.bottom > Element2.top) {
        // Do your stuff here

What it does is basically it gets all the values of element1 and then get all the values of element2. Then with the help of some calculations it figures out all the values. Then in the if statement it compares the square of element1 to the square of element2. If the values of element1 are between the left, right, top and bottom values of element2. If that is true the code in the bottom is executed.

I ran into this generalized issue myself, so (full disclosure) I made a plugin for it. For simple collision queries about static objects, try this:


Which allows you to get a list of overlapping collision boxes (or none if there's no collision):

hits = $("#collider").collision(".obstacles");

Or to get a collision event during "dragging", use this:


Which gives you a "collision" event to connect to. (Or a "protrusion" event, to see if a div escapes another div that currently contains it.)

   function(event,ui) {

If you are checking collisions during motion other than dragging, just call the original repeatedly, it's pretty quick. Note: the dragging one doesn't play nicely with resizing.

Post is old, May be it help someone...

function CheckDiv()
var ediv1 = document.getElementById('DIV1');
var ediv2 = document.getElementById('DIV2');

 ediv1.top = $(ediv1).offset().top;
 ediv1.left = $(ediv1).offset().left;
 ediv1.right = Number($(ediv1).offset().left) + Number($(ediv1).width());
 ediv1.bottom = Number($(ediv1).offset().top) + Number($(ediv1).height());

 ediv2.top = $(ediv2).offset().top;
 ediv2.left = $(ediv2).offset().left;
 ediv2.right = Number($(ediv2).offset().left) + Number($(ediv2).width());
 ediv2.bottom = Number($(ediv2).offset().top) + Number($(ediv2).height());

if (ediv1.right > ediv2.left && ediv1.left < ediv2.right && ediv1.top < ediv2.bottom && ediv1.bottom > ediv2.top)

if (ediv1.left > ediv2.left && ediv1.top > ediv2.top && ediv1.right < ediv2.right && ediv1.bottom < ediv2.bottom)

You can do this using getBoundingClientRect()

function isOverlapping(div1, div2){
    const div1 = div1.getBoundingClientRect();
    const div2 = div2.getBoundingClientRect();
    return (div1.right > div2.left && 
            div1.left < div2.right && 
            div1.bottom > div2.top && 
            div1.top < div2.bottom)