With all the current news regarding Toyota's accelerator problems many people now wonder what to do if your accelerator decides to stick? The immediate response for most people is to try and unjam the accelerator when the proper reaction is in fact to try and stop the car.
For most people the place where they are driving fastest is on the motorway. "Imagine you're driving down the inside lane of the M4 at 70 mph," says Stephen Mead, assistant chief examiner at the Institute of Advanced Motoring. "The car ahead brakes, so you take your foot off the pedal but nothing happens. What should you do?" It's easier said than done but Mead insists that by following a few simple steps you can quickly bring the car to a stop, saving your own and other people's lives.
If the accelerator is stuck, you should first firmly depress the foot brake, he says. This will override the accelerator. It must be the footbrake and not the handbrake, which could cause the brake pads to burn out and potentially put the car into a spin. Next, the driver needs to depress the clutch, effectively stopping the engine from powering the car. The equivalent in an automatic car is to put the gearstick into neutral. Continue braking and keep an eye out, forward and back, for an "escape route" to the hard shoulder. Do not try to steer straight across in one quick swerve this could be dangerous, and destabilise the vehicle at such a speed. In a short time perhaps 10 seconds you can bring the car to a halt, he says. The most important thing to remember if your accelerator sticks is not to try and free the accelerator pedal.