What To Do if Your Vehicle's Accelerator is Stuck

YouTube link.

The images in the video are "safe for work," but the audio is of a 911 call with a lethal outcome, so those sensitive to such tragedies might consider leaving the video "under the fold."

Toyota has released some advice re what to do in their vehicles if the accelerator pedal becomes stuck:
• If you need to stop immediately, the vehicle can be controlled by stepping on the brake pedal with both feet using firm and steady pressure. Do not pump the brake pedal as it will deplete the vacuum utilized for the power brake assist.

• Shift the transmission gear selector to the Neutral (N) position and use the brakes to make a controlled stop at the side of the road and turn off the engine.

• If unable to put the vehicle in Neutral, turn the engine OFF. This will not cause loss of steering or braking control, but the power assist to these systems will be lost.

• If the vehicle is equipped with an Engine Start/Stop button, firmly and steadily push the button for at least three seconds to turn off the engine. Do NOT tap the Engine Start/Stop button.

• If the vehicle is equipped with a conventional key-ignition, turn the ignition key to the ACC position to turn off the engine. Do NOT remove the key from the ignition as this will lock the steering wheel.

Another excellent source of advice is an article at Car and Driver about coping with unintended acceleration.

Via Reddit, where there is an informed discussion thread.

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Newest 5 Comments

Crikey. There are some very ignorant people commenting here; I really hope that they aren't allowed to drive, but sadly I suspect that they are.

Putting the car into neutral is a purely mechanical action that decouples the engine from the wheels in either a manual or automatic transmission. Gear to neutral, then brake as normal. Fine, it will sound horrendous until you stop, but so what? It's unlikely to do much damage to the engine if you bring it to a stop inside a minute; and it's certainly better than crashing.

Cars can be lethal; people who aren't competent to drive shouldn't be allowed to do so, for the safety of others. (Think pedestrians and cyclists, nevermind other car drivers.)
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If you were in an airplane and some critical part electronically fails AND you're lucky enough to survive, I'm sure you'd be pretty pissed at the airline for improper maintenance. You TRUST your life that the plane is going to work right. Toyota doesn't get a free pass.

In the event the equipment doesn't work, Pilots are supposed to have hours upon hours of ER training and PRACTICE to be able to handle that...I doubt most are taught what to do in situations like this in driver's ed.

Even if you are experienced, it means little if the computer doesn't respond. Some cars won't even LET you turn off the engine while the car is in gear as a failsafe. Neutral might work but there is something fundamentally wrong with the car's computer if the accelerator is out of control. As was said, some cases have reported neutral not working.

Bottom line is it comes down to knowing your car. If your car has anti-lock brakes, if it will allow you to turn it off in gear etc. However, you never know if you'll be in heavy traffic or open road. So blaming the driver is not only incompassionate, but presumptive when you don't know everything he did to stop the car. In this case, he had little time before an intersection.

Most disturbing to me is how Toyota has simply tried to PR over the problem instead of just recalling everything and stopping sales. But no-they want to continue to sell unsafe cars to the public. Lamely blaming it on floor mats, the shape of the pedal, and making commercials claiming the problem is fixed when they don't even know what it is. "We can find no evidence of electronic malfunction". Unless the cars run like trolleys, it's obviously electronic. Toyota will never have my business...not just b/c of this issue, but how they've treated the public like dumbasses.
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@Tom63: "why people didn't simply turn the engine off" - actually, recently someone whose car accelerated out of control on the I-8 tried to do just that, but couldn't. He also couldn't shift out of drive to neutral, and the car continued to accelerate even after hitting the brakes.
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The reason I got on this site was to find out why people didn't simply turn the engine off. I found it so hard to imagine that people wouldn't think of that, that I Googled it to find out why; it appears they must have simply panicked. I am a commercial pilot, and during training for the rating, have practiced, over and over, every type of emergency scenario. Things can happen very quickly, and panic can set in; that is why pilots are trained this way. I also have a class A CDL, and drive an eighteen-wheeler, and I do agree that (car) drivers should receive more intense training to receive a driver's license. However, I would not call anyone an "idiot," as I was not the one in their situation, and every situation has its own unique circumstances. It is foolish to "assume" what one might do in a hypothetical situation, and worse to condemn someone because their mistake cost them their lives. It may have nothing to do with automobiles or vehicles of any kind, but any one of us could end up in a situation that we might not "intuitively" know how to handle, and that we might just need the grace of God to get out of! Haughtiness, arrogance and pride (among other things) open the door to the devil, which comes to "steal, kill and destroy."
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I'll bet, as a cop who was panicking, he was also thinking of the safety of other drivers on the road. Not only was he calling for help, he more than likely wanted to attempt to keep others out of his way and safe just as he would do if he were on the job and saw a speeding car approaching a potentially dangerous situation.
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