CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Sticky Gas Pedals

I have not heard anyone mention shifting the car into neutral. Why not? Seems like an obvious thing to do.

There are at least 4 posts going on this and they ALL mention shifting into neutral.

This reinforces my last post that we need a national

– put it in neutral –

campaign.

ALL brands, ALL vehicle types.
Billboards, radio, tv, talk shows, and news programs need to START with those words. Every time.

A news spot I saw just the other day was horrendously remiss in not mentioning “put it in neutral” untill near the end of the spot in the wrap up. And it was the Toyota people giving the show and tell to the news !
They should have STARTED with "put it in neutral.
They should have REPEATED “put it in neutral” many times.

It evidently is not the manufacturer suggestion as in one of the many previous threads it was stated this thread.
http://community.cartalk.com/posts/list/2136282.page
Tom and Ray even started a thread but don’t see it now.

When I saw the news piece about the highway patrolman who crashed and died from not putting it in neutral, I also heard the 911 operator not mention it either.

That brought to mind learning emergency procedures during pilot training ( you learn these things from the start and you practice them in your mind. when the time comes you will NOT have time to stop and think about it. ) and what could possibly be done to train the general public to “put it in neutral”.

In any situation of stuck accelerator ( even when the c.d. case falls down there ) the gut reaction is to step on the brake, but putting it in neutral must be the next automatic action.

And the only way to re-train the masses will be to EMBLAZON their subconcious with the words “put it in neutral”.
This can’t wait for driver’s training.
This can’t wait for owner’s manuals.
This needs to be an ‘in your face’ national movement.

Need to teach emergency handling procedures in driver ed courses. Most of us have never been in such a situation and our responses aren’t always “correct” and we fail to recover properly.

Ken, years ago I worked for a gas utility. We had company cars and had to pass the city’s local Police Test. This was a very tough test to show decision making under difficult situations, including a possible stuck throttle. On one test, in the middle of a busy intersection the instructor pulled the keys out of the ignition a threw them on the floor. You were not supposed to panic, retrieve the keys and proceed without causing an accident.

The patrolman in question obviously was unfit to serve in view of his lack of driving skills.

As a novice pilot, first or second orientation flight, the instructor did something and the engine sputters off.

Eyes as big as pies and “Oh s… what now ?” spewing from my mouth, the instructor calmly pulls out the fuel mixture knob and the engine springs to life.

" You’re going to have to know this stuff in your sleep, down in your core sub-concious " he said. " And we’re going to drill on it every time, no warning, no excuses. “
” For every situation you’re going to snap on three things, at least, to check in quick succession to remedy it, or you’re not going to fly a plane"

Automotive operator training must go near this direction reeeeal soon.
It’s already too late to re-train everyone about every thing ( like driver distrations, vehicle control with a blowout etc. )
But we must start now with the next generation.

Back in the 1970’s when cruise controls weren’t common, my brother was driving a little faster than he should have been driving in his Cadillac. He saw a police cruiser along the side of the road and figured he might get stopped. My brother pulled his Cadillac into the breakdown lane and sure enough, the police cruiser came up behind him with its red lights on. By this time, my brother was shining his flashlight on under the dashboard on the fuse panel. “Something is wrong with my cruise control”, he told the officer. “I’m going to pull the fuse”. The officer recanted problems he had heard about with cruise ontrols and said that they didn’t have them on police cruisers. My brother didn’t get a ticket. Now that is what I call fast thinking.

PRACTICE the emergency situation. Start the simulation at very speed (some people panic at very low stress levels). The passenger would use a long stick and fully depress the gas pedal, while the car is moving slowly. The driver would react normally, and depress the brake. IF brakes control the car, the driver would safely pull over to the side of the road and shut off the engine. If the brakes DON’T control the car, the driver would hold the brake and place the gear shift in NEUTRAL, safely pull over to the side of the road, and shut off the engine. The practice could continue to higher cruise speeds.

I have always believed that car driving should start with manual transmissions and then degraded to automatics. My logic has been to get the drivers involved in how the car functions. I think if this was the case, most of this accidents would have been avoided based on ingrained reflexes.

30 years ago MOST cars were manual…now MOST are automatics. My first car was a manual…drove a stick shift for 30 years. They are getting harder and harder to find…especially in the upper end vehicles.