A local news story has a Lexus with a faulty floor mat sliding forward and pushing the accelerator to the floor. The driver applied the brakes so hard that flames were reported coming off all four tires before the car flew off the road and crashed. I asked my husband what should have been done in this situation, thinking I would have tried to shove the transmission into a lower gear, and he looked at me like I was nuts and said, Duh … “You turn off the ignition.” My question is, is this right? If the problems coming from a stuck accelerator can be alleviated in such a simple move, why are there so many horrible accidents attributed to this cause? Why did the 911 call from inside the car in trouble before the fatal crash, “Our accelerator is stuck!!!” not get an immediate response “Turn your key off.” Why do media reports of these situations not tell us to turn off our ignition? Why is this not common knowledge? I won’t ask why I felt so stupid.
No, don’t turn the key off, as you will lose power steering and (after one good press) power brakes.
The correct answer is to shift to neutral. You will have full control to stop then.
Don’t believe these exaggerated stories.
In the unlikely event of a stuck accelerator it’s foolish to try fighting the engine with the brakes. The correct move is to push the shift lever into neutral. This will prevent the engine from driving the car but will still allow the driver to steer and brake. The engine may be racing, but the car won’t be.
Shutting off the ignition will disable the power steering and brakes, which will make driving the car much more difficult, although it’s still better than trying to control a run-away vehicle.
The driver applied the brakes so hard that flames were reported coming off all four tires before the car flew off the road and crashed.
Sorry but that statement proves the story is a myth. First you are not going to get flames coming off a braking tyre. Smoke maybe. If you did get all four tyres stopped by the brakes, then the engine would not be driving the car any faster so it would not have crashed.
In hindsight kick the floormat back would work, but when it happens I doubt I would think of that. It may be a hoax but discussion to be prepared for such an event is good. I would do neutral as other suggested, but when the engine redlines turn it off and deal with the lost steering assist and potential loss of braking.
Every year, there are scores of accidents that result from drivers who claim that they could not stop their vehicle. Last year, my friend’s Accord was broadsided and destroyed by a crazy woman in a Lexus SUV. Luckily, neither of us was badly hurt in the crash.
I heard the woman being questioned by the cops after the accident, and she stated, “The harder I pushed the brake, the faster the car went”. The cop looked at us, then looked back at her, and told her that her vehicle would be impounded in order to verify the condition of her vehicle.
Yup! As you probably guessed, the brakes turned out to be in perfect working order.
The “brake” pedal that made her car go faster and faster was actually the accelerator.
So, evalynette, you should not feel stupid for asking the question.
The ones who should feel stupid are the folks who don’t know the difference between the gas pedal and the brake pedal–and believe me, those people are out there on the road.
And, whether one thinks that the floor mat has jammed the gas pedal, or the brake is magically making the car go faster, or the gas pedal is stuck, or…whatever one thinks is causing the engine to race, the correct course of action–as mcparadise stated–is to simply move the shift lever to neutral while you brake the car.
Wrong Wrong Wrong. I instructed my wife to turn the key 1 click counterclockwise, and I demonstrated it at 75 mph. As long as the car was moving (and clutch not depressed), the engine continues turning, and both the power brakes and power stering continue to work.
We are told: "Simply brake with 2 feet, put the car into neutral then turn the engine off."
MAY NOT BE SO SIMPLE! Watch these video clips:
TESTIMONY OF TOYOTA DRIVER WHO ‘LOST ALL CONTROL’
(after putting car in neutral and unable to turn off engine!!!)
"IS TOYOTA’S SOFTWARE TO BLAME FOR SAFETY PROBLEMS"
and the CA crash:
“911 Call Released from Crash that Prompted Initial Toyota/Lexus Floor Mat Recall”
(with California Highway Patrolman driving unable to stop vehicle)
"Witnesses saw flames coming from the front and rear tires of the speeding 2009 Lexus ES 350 before it crashed Aug. 28 in Santee, suggesting ?long, constant heavy braking,? said Sgt. Scott Hill, the lead sheriff’s investigator. "
"Toyota Recalls Spur Worries"