Uncontrolled acceleration

Maybe this has been answered before, but in light of the Toyota recall just announced, is there not some way to stop a car with an accelerator stuck wide open? Could you not put the car in neutral? I guess turning off the key would lock the steering wheel? What should a person do?

With a manual transmission, depress the clutch. With an auto, go for neutral. You can turn the ignition switch to the “off” position – it does not lock the steering wheel. One click too far and you’ve locked the wheel. This may be difficult in an emergency situation.

also, hit the brakes hard – braking power will override engine power in most cars.


twotone, you can’t lock the steering wheel until the transmission is put into PARK, so, either of your recommendations is good. A news report today said as many as 16 people may have been killed by this condition, and 243 injured. What stikes me odd is that no one is talking about how the car got to 120, stuck peddle or not. If a person is driving normally, say, around the speed limit, and the peddle gets stuck, how does the car end up doing 120? (I’m referring to the incident where the trooper and his family were killed.) I’m sure the stuck peddle didn’t accelerate the car to 120. I bet it was a human foot that got the car to 120, not an inanimate accelerator pedal, sticky or otherwise.

My guess is there will be mandatory electronic brake override in the near future. So when you apply the brakes the car will have to return to idle regardless of the gas peddle position.

With fly by throttle this is possible with hardly nothing more then a software programing change, if the PCM can read the brake light switch as a input.

Perhaps a procedure regarding how to handle a stuck wide open throttle should be in every owner’s manual and a part of all driver training programs.

You can move the gear selector to neutral. If the motor keeps reving it could blow up the motor, but at least you are not going to crash. Many new cars restrict the motor from reving in neutral.

Better yet is to shut the motor off by turning the key. Moving the key one click to ACC will shut down the motor and not lock up the steering wheel. Perhaps everyone should practice this in the cars they drive in a large parking lot to build confidence in this emergency action. Since most of the accidents might have been avoided if drivers don’t panic and take the proper action.

You can still brake the car without the motor running and you can steer the car as well. Braking will be normal for a short period of time and then will get harder so it is best to apply the brakes and hold them down steady until the car slows to a safe speed and stops. Pumping the brakes will decrease the braking power quicker.

If you have a very new car with a start “button” these cars can be turned off by pressing the start button and holding it “in” until the motor shuts down. Then it is the same as turning off the motor as cars with a traditional key.

A stuck accelerator is scarey but should not result in a deadly crash if the driver reacts quickly and properly to the emergency.

Who’d Have Thought That Millions Of Car Owners Would Have To Practice Emergency Drills ?

I believe the reason that it is suggested moving the selector to neutral and not shutting off the engine is so that the power steering and brakes, windshield wipers, etcetera, still function normally. During a panic situation nobody needs to be fiddling with the ignition switch.

When the Toyota vehicle is safely stopped in the “breakdowm” lane, the engine can be shut off.


It’s easy to say it now, but we dunno how we’d react in one of those situations if it happens. Most of the time it’s probably just where they’re parking their car and hit something when they lurch forward.
However, with all the posts we see on this board alone about incidents such as this, it’s a wonder no one has campaigned car makers to make the gas pedal and brake pedal a bit further apart, or something to help prevent someone with wide feet from pressing the gas pedal while they’re braking.

Apparently the mechanism is that the pedal gets stuck on the floor. If so, that requires the driver floor it. This is not uncommon when merging onto a crowded highway, especially when other drivers are going 10 MPH to 30 MPH over the speed limit. Around here, that often occurs in the right lane as the perps try to fly under the radar.

So, the foot got the pedal stuck and not necessarily to 120, or even 50. The car did the rest all by itself.

I have never found the need to “floor” the gas pedal in my current vehicle (2004 F-150 4.2). The troopers car was a Lexus,can’t see where flooring this one has its place either.

How about others ,do you routinely “floor” your gas pedal?

Perhaps my habit of “thinking ahead” is what has kept me out of the “floor it club” as that’s all it takes.

In our 2004 prius, your foot would have to be at least 8 inches wide to press both pedals at once. I personally think it was driver error that got that trooper and his family killed. Are these seriously the kind of people that we trust every day to protect us?

No–rarely. But in my old Saturn SL, which did not have much power, I routinely “floored” it just to stay alive at such places as freeway on ramps.

Had this happen twice and not with Toyotas. Both cases were my fault by adding thick rubber mud mats. Should have learned the first time. Stay off the key. It’s too easy to miss or get it wrong in the panic mode . It’s clutch in or shove it to neutral. Do the exercise three or four times while your sitting in the driveway and say the words out loud. Sounds dumb I know. But hearing it, feeling it and seeing it makes it fast and instinctive. You will never forget it. By the way, the same exercise works with all kind of things. Who knew? Worry about not hurting the engine (key off) after taking care of not hurting you.

I will get to this right after my home evacuation drill is finished :0)

“I have never found the need to “floor” the gas pedal…”

I don’t need to in my Accord V6, but I do in my Silhouette. Thinking ahead is great when you get the opportunity. But traffic around here is the heaviest in the USA. Couple that with lots if aggressive drivers, and merging is sometimes only possible if you floor it (lane changes too). I think this would be an issue in any 4-cyl midsize car like a Camry, Malibu or Accord as well.

Many People Aren’t Convinced That This Is A Floor Mat Or Pedal Caused Problem, But Rather A Computer Issue.

See my post in “Afraid to Drive Toyota Camry” NO PROBLEM.

When I was car shopping with my brother (he had just gotten out of college, and was looking for another truck to replace his 1996 F-150 (5.0L 4WD) we test drove a 2004 F-150 4.6L 4WD, and we both felt it was unacceptably underpowered. He eventually settled on a 2003 (previous gen) F-150 5.4L 4WD, which offered better performance. I can only imagine how lethargic the 4.2L V6 is in the 04-08 F-150.

As for me, my daily driver (2003 Mustang GT w/ supercharger) sees a full throttle romp at least once a week. Though you can’t just jump on the gas in 1st or 2nd gear or you just get wheelspin. The way I see it, if I’m not going to give it the beans ever now and then I might as well had gotten a Corolla or Civic.