By now, everyone knows that millions upon millions of Toyotas are being recalled for having problems with unintended acceleration. Since the recall process takes some time, not everyone whose car is on the recall list has had it fixed yet…and others who have are claiming that the recall hasn’t solved the problem: their cars are still prone to accelerating out of control.
So what should you do to stop unintended acceleration?
The first step to take is a preventive one. Check out your floor mat situation. Make sure that your driver’s side mat is secured to the floor with some sort of hook or fastener. If you use rubber winter mats, don’t lay them on top of the carpet mats that are already there; take the carpet mats out and fix the rubber mats to the floor with the fasteners provided. Only use mats that are specifically designed for your car so that they work with the fasteners in your car. When your mats are in, make sure that there’s no way the gas pedal can get stuck underneath the mat by pressing down on the pedal with your hand. Remove the driver’s side floor mat altogether if you’re nervous about it.
1. If you’re driving a car that starts accelerating by itself, check to make sure the gas pedal isn’t caught on the floor mat. If it is, pull the mat out. Try hooking your foot underneath the gas pedal and pulling up to try to disengage it.
2. If that doesn’t work, put your car in neutral and hit the brakes. This may cause your engine to rev loudly, but it should slow it down.
3. If putting the car in neutral doesn’t stop the acceleration, try turning the engine off. Be aware that this will turn off your car’s power steering and power brakes, which will make it much harder to brake and steer. If you have a key ignition, turn the key to “off” but don’t remove it from the ignition, since this will lock the steering wheel. If you have a button start, you may have to hold the button down steadily for more than three seconds. Check your owner’s manual for how to stop your car if you have a button start.
4. If your car still hasn’t responded to any of these steps, press the brakes hard with both feet. Don’t pump the brakes, since this might make it harder to stop in the long run.
While we all hope that none of us will ever have to use this advice, it’s vital that we all learn and memorize it, just in case we do.