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I imagine there are more than one other Toyota Prius drivers in Kos-land, and if you are like me, you are a concerned about the possibility that you may some day find yourself riding a missile with a mind of it's own, sort of like Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove.

I think it important to note that in the most recent case of Prius run amok, there was one intervention that was not tried, that perhaps could have avoided the risk of injury or death for many people....

Putting the car in Neutral.

I drive a Prius.  I have removed the floormat, and have never had problems with the car.  But still I worry.

The Prius has a gearshift on the dashboard, to the right of the steering wheel.  You can put the car in drive "D" (or "B" to make the engine behave like a non-hybrid), reverse "R" or neutral "N".  N disengages the engine from the transmission- meaning that no matter how fast the engine is running, it will not be making the wheels go faster.

In the most recent Prius incident, the driver was instructed several times to put the car in neutral:  

During the two 911 calls, [the driver] ignored many of the dispatcher's questions, saying later that he had to put his phone on the seat to keep his hands on the wheel.

Leighann Parks, a 24-year-old dispatcher, repeatedly told him to throw the car into neutral but got no answers.

[The CHP patrolman] told [the driver] after [he] caught up with him to shift to neutral but the driver shook his head no.  [The driver] told reporters he didn't go into neutral because he worried the car would flip.

The driver did not try this because he was afraid the "car would flip".  

This is a misguided concern.  A normal functioning Prius can be put in neutral at any speed from "D", "B" or "R", and it will not cause the car to flip.  It will simply stop the engine from driving the transmission and making the tires go.  Thus, in neutral you can brake the car without the engine and transmission having an opposite effect.

Because I am deep in a loan for my car and need it for my long commute, I am going to continue to drive my Prius.  I am also going to know where my gearshift is and practice putting the car in neutral until it is second nature.

This way, if ever a 911 operator or highway patrolman asks me to put my car in neutral, I will know how and why to do it.


Disclaimer

I did not write this post to criticize drivers of runaway Priuses.  I am not an engineer, and I don't work for Toyota or have any special car-related knowledge.  I am just a dude with some common sense.  I have no idea and make no claims that putting a malfunctioning Prius in neutral can stop an acceleration emergency.  But to me it seems logical that it should, and until Toyota or some other entity solves the problem, this intervention is something I feel I must be prepared to try before I am forced to ram the car into something to stop....

Originally posted to drational on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:07 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  It would be great (9+ / 0-)

      if an engineer from Toyota would tell people whether this is a reasonable thing to try.  So far I haven't heard any other suggestions....

      •  Let me violently agree with you. /nt (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        somnambulist, drational, Via Chicago

        Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
        I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
        -Spike Milligan

        by polecat on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:13:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  its neutral (8+ / 0-)

        why do we need an engineer to confirm ?  All neutral does in a car is disengage the drive gear from the engine, preventing the engine from connecting with the wheels.

        Government for the people, by the people

        by axel000 on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:14:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And with the accelerator stuck down, (8+ / 0-)

          the engine will race, but at least the brakes have a chance of working.

          Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
          I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
          -Spike Milligan

          by polecat on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:16:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  What I meant was (8+ / 0-)

          in these acceleration cases, whether the electronic switch into neutral is possible.  The Prius transmission shifter is a toggle running electronics....

          •  its tested and proven (13+ / 0-)

            I tested the shift-to-neutral procedure at 40, 70, and 90 MPH, while accelerating. Shifting to neutral worked without any problems. Of course I was on a private closed course with no speed limit!

            Why does someone in a runaway Prius take time to call the police, and possibly hold a press conference, but he can't shift into neutral?

            Here is something I posted today on another site, which PriusChat folks might find valuable:

            "I really don't know what is going on in these cars that is giving people trouble, but I am fairly certain that shifting to neutral would solve the problem.

            "I tested shifting to Neutral at both 70 and 90 MPH in my 2004 Prius last night. I kept my foot on the gas pedal and shifted. The car slowed immediately, with no problem at all.

            "I also tested whether the Prius can be powered off while driving. At 40 MPH, with the gas pedal partially down, I pushed and held the Start button. After about 3 seconds (which felt like a long time to wait), my Prius shut down and slowed down. The dashboard lights lit up, and I had to stop the car and shift to Park to restart the car.

            "I am guessing that drivers are simply unfamiliar with the Prius shifter and ignition/power system. The shock of a stuck accelerator pedal could put someone into a severe case of confusion, limiting their ability to think clearly and take proper action.
            I am pretty sure that other cars have stuck throttles at times, but most people know how to put a normal transmission into neutral or turn an ignition key to the left. The Prius has a new interface, which may take a while to get used to."

            http://priuschat.com/...

            Government for the people, by the people

            by axel000 on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:15:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Informative. (4+ / 0-)

              but most people know how to put a normal transmission into neutral

              Except I think most people don't know about neutral.

              ...Achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life... EMK

              by SlackwareGrrl on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:20:47 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  DOT needs to look at the license test (2+ / 0-)

                Regaining control of an accelerating car needs to be added to the theory test.

                Government for the people, by the people

                by axel000 on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:31:08 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  People don't always think clearly (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                historys mysteries, dotsright

                WHEN THEY ARE IN A PANIC.

                The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                by nextstep on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:31:51 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  While it wouldn't really surprise me if you are (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                heiderose1, dotsright, SlackwareGrrl

                correct:

                Except I think most people don't know about neutral.

                it's still mind-boggling to me. Anytime I'm driving in snow or ice with an automatic transmission, shifting into neutral is on the top of my list of things to do if I lose traction.

                An automatic transmission will always impart energy to the drive wheels when in drive, which will help prevent the wheels from regaining traction. I wouldn't do it when hydroplaning in water, as an abrupt transition back to the tires regaining traction while not revolving at speed can cause problems, but that's generally not a major concern when driving on snow or ice - since if you are at all sentient, you are not driving fast in the first place.

                It's a great help when sliding toward a stop sign and so forth.

                I sure wish my government gave me as much privacy as they demand I give them.

                by Daddy Bartholomew on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:39:03 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, no, no (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  hubcap, dotsright, axel000

                  If you are sliding on ice and put your automatic transmission car into neutral you will totally lose control of the car.

                  What you do instead is, without touching the brakes, downshift (put the car in "2" or "1" or whatever the lower (non automatic) gear is called in your model of car. This will give you a lot more traction and control, and likely stop the sliding.

                  Years and years of experience driving on ice here!!!

                  "We did not come here to fear the future, we came to shape it." --BHO "Grab a mop." --BHO

                  by sillia on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 09:24:32 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  That's useful information, but not definitive (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mochajava13, dotsright, Nailbanger

              I don't know this for a fact, but I've seen several sources that said these controls got to the computer which then directs the functioning of the car.  So if the computer is failing in some way, it's not clear that this would work in the same way it does when the computer is not failing.

              He took a duck in the face at two hundred and fifty knots.

              by jrooth on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:34:00 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  So don't bother trying it? It might not work? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                SlackwareGrrl, axel000

                huh.

                John Boehner thinks of himself as Ceasar. How about we change his name to Orange Julius?

                by second gen on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:35:02 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Where did I say that? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Nailbanger

                  Try every damn thing you can, of course.

                  My point is that the whole trend of comments in this diary - that this is something simple to deal with and the drivers were just idiots, ain't necessarily so.

                  He took a duck in the face at two hundred and fifty knots.

                  by jrooth on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:39:15 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Any driver who is in a position to not be (0+ / 0-)

                    able to stop a car that has a stuck accelerator IS an idiot.

                    If you don't know how to control your car, then don't drive it.

                    Neutral disengages the transmission, keeping it from being able to accelerate.  Anyone who gets behind the wheel of a car should know this. If they don't, they shouldn't be driving.

                    John Boehner thinks of himself as Ceasar. How about we change his name to Orange Julius?

                    by second gen on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:43:55 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Oh for God's sake! (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Nailbanger

                      Did you even read what I wrote, or stop to think about it?

                      You're typing on a computer right now.  Has it never happened to you that the computer you're working on simply stops responding to your commands?  That you were left with no choice but to reboot the damn thing?

                      Now think about it:  what would happen if the computer that controlled every function of the car you are driving did that?  So you shift into neutral with your electronic shift control, but the computer just doesn't do what you're telling it to do.  Then you hold the power switch for three seconds, but again that depends on the computer responding ... and so on.  Are you a fucking idiot at this point (well maybe you are for buying a car that has no mechanical means of driver control, but that still leaves you screwed at the moment.)

                      There's a reason I refuse to drive anything but stick if I can possibly help it.

                      He took a duck in the face at two hundred and fifty knots.

                      by jrooth on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:50:53 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  My Prius controls are buttons, not mechanical (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Nailbanger

                      gears that can be shifted.  Have you driven one?  If the computer fails, I fail.  If you think I am an idiot because my car computer doesn't work right, you are pretty harsh.  These things are electronic.  We have no idea if the driver tried to go into neutral, do we??  We have no idea what happened in that car.  If they say it is the floor mats one more time, I am going to scream.  How stupid do they think we are???

                      •  Small thing... (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        kingyouth, second gen, axel000

                        Actually we do know the driver didn't try neutral.

                        Sikes told reporters he didn't go into neutral because he worried the car would flip.

                        ...Achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life... EMK

                        by SlackwareGrrl on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 09:48:53 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Actually, the driver stated he was AFRAID (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        axel000

                        to put it into neutral. He was afraid it would flip. Probably from stupid ass people on the internet who spell doom and gloom and make this more than it needs to be.

                        Again, if you're in fear of your car doing this. STOP DRIVING THE DAMN THING, YOU'RE PUTTING EVERYONE ELSE IN DANGER.

                        John Boehner thinks of himself as Ceasar. How about we change his name to Orange Julius?

                        by second gen on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 11:01:54 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

              •  hmm, what's the name of the computer? Hal? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                axel000

                Cong. Sherman, say NO to racism.

                by Tom J on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 09:30:54 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  from what I have rwad and heard it is by no (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dotsright, Aquagranny911

            means sure that the problem is that the accelerator is 'stuck' down, or that it is definitely a floormat problem. There have been accusations and denials from Toyota that in fact it is an 'electronics' problem, in other words the computer overides the manual commands to brake, and unless the engineers and designers instruct drivers to take this remedy I think itn is irresponsible to be be advocating putting the car in neutral as a remedy.

            Plus, as I said several times, it is easy to think logically about this sitting at one's keyboard, it is quite another to be in an out of control car, with maybe howling babies, trying to control it, speak on the phone and listen to a highway patrol car yelling instructions driving at 90 miles an hour on a crowded highway.

            My neighbour has a Prius and pooh poohs the problems as 'hype'. This specific car had been taken to a dealer several weeks ago and told that this model had no problems.  THis is a serious problem and has a negative impact on everyone driving on the highway, not merely Prius or Toyota drivers.

            You think the DOT needs to tell people what to do. Maybe they need to just get these cars off the road until the problem is identified and fixed.

            People who have never been in a situation where a combination of cuircumstances froce split second decisions, to brake or not to brake, to swerve or not to swerve, have no idea how fast things happen and how one needs to operate pretty much by instinct and experience.  Often these events occur not because of anything you have done, but what someone else has done.  In my case it was becaue a pickup truck had lost control and was headed straight for me!!!!

            I have been driving a stick shift for sixty years, in Europe and all over the world.

            •  Oh, Geezus Kriste. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              drational

              and unless the engineers and designers instruct drivers to take this remedy I think itn is irresponsible to be be advocating putting the car in neutral as a remedy.

              What do you recommend? Other than not driving the damn thing until they figure it out? (My choice)

              Just taking the time it seems drivers can muster to get on the damn phone and call all their friends and neighbors? Or putting the damn thing in neutral to disengage the engine?

              I think having this discussion at least gives these drivers the ability to realize there ARE things that can be tried, other than just screaming and standing on the brakes, to no avail, and possibly killing themselves or someone else.

              John Boehner thinks of himself as Ceasar. How about we change his name to Orange Julius?

              by second gen on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:42:04 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't recommend anything, neither did I sleep (0+ / 0-)

                in a Holdiay Inn Express last night. I am NOT that arrogant to think that I kbnow enough to give the public advice that has NOT yet, as far as I know, by the government or the manufacturer.

                Why do people think they klnow better than anyone else?  It is extremely dangerous.

                I would welcome a LINK to any expert opinion in an auto journal or a directive that PROVES this is a safe remedy.  I am NOT advocating not doing it, I am just not advocating taking a bloggers opinions as a safe way to deal with this emergency on the highway.

                OK?

                •  This isn't rocket science. It's Driving 101 (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  drational

                  This is not advice needed by some MIT Engineer.

                  And it's comments like yours that makes drivers like this one we're speaking of to worry that if he put it in neutral, the car would flip.

                  John Boehner thinks of himself as Ceasar. How about we change his name to Orange Julius?

                  by second gen on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:50:10 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  aand its comments like yours that will be to (0+ / 0-)

                    blame if they takew yoru advice and do just that. It is becomeing increasingly possible that this is a software glitch and you have absolutely no knowledge or information that your advice is correct.

                    If it were then I have enough faith in the system that thsi remedy woudl already have been made a prioroity by the DOT and Toyota.

                    Forgive me if I prefer to listen to those who know or don't know.

                    What's your problem? Need to be right at any cost? even at the cost of others lives.

                    If you are right PROVE IT from serious and responsible sources?  If not, stop playing God.

                    •  Cars don't flip because you put them in (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      SlackwareGrrl

                      neutral while driving.

                      I don't play god. she doesn't really exist. You're chastising me for proof, then bring up that old fable?

                      Laughable.

                      John Boehner thinks of himself as Ceasar. How about we change his name to Orange Julius?

                      by second gen on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 10:59:43 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  If cars flipped every time they were in neutral (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        second gen

                        Then stick shift would never have been invented in the first place (which is all there was before automatic transmissions).

                        ...Achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life... EMK

                        by SlackwareGrrl on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 12:37:02 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

            •  Well, except that according to the linked ... (0+ / 0-)

              article, this guy claims the accelerator pedal was stuck all the way down, and that he even reached down with his hand while he was steering it and tried to physically pull it up, and it wouldn't budge.  But then after he came to a stop, both the accelerator pedal and the brake were in the normal neutral position.

              If I were representing Toyota in the inevitable lawsuit, I'd want to take a picture of him demonstrate how he was driving the car with one hand while bending down and trying to pull the accelerator pedal up with the other hand.  It would probably be nearly as entertaining as this one of Nixon secretary Rosemary Woods demonstrating how she "accidentally created the 16 minute gap in the critical Watergate tape.

        •  I think (18+ / 0-)

          People don't know about neutral because nobody knows how to drive a stick anymore. It's all cruise control and automatics.

          ...Achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life... EMK

          by SlackwareGrrl on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:18:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I think Toyota is recommending that you turn the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NYFM

        key off, then back on quickly, one click. This should keep the steering and the car will slow down and you can brake to the side of the road.

        "Don't knock football...it's just like chess but without the dice" - john07801

        by voracious on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:27:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's been REPEATEDLY said by Toyota, federal ... (13+ / 0-)

        authorities, and independent safety authorities, that the thing to do when you've got uncontrollable acceleration, is to shift into neutral.

        I've got to admit that if a driver refuses to do so, even after being told to do it, it kind of makes me wonder whether the acceleration was really "uncontrollable," or whether this might be somebody looking for some quick damages.  I'll be interested to see whether anybody else is able to reproduce the problem in the vehicle.

        I'm not saying that's the case, but it certainly arouses some suspicion in my mind.  I don't think it happens a lot, but people have been known to do things like putting foreign substances into their own food, and with all the publicity about this problem, it would surprise me if somebody didn't get the idea to use the publicity to try to get some money.  I'm not saying that's what DID happen, but the failure to simply shift into neutral after being told to do so several times just seems very odd -- especially with the stuff about being afraid of flipping the car.

      •  It's been said. Many times. Those who need it (0+ / 0-)

        aren't listening.

        John Boehner thinks of himself as Ceasar. How about we change his name to Orange Julius?

        by second gen on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:06:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I've read about another suggestion (0+ / 0-)

        confirmed by Toyota engineers to hold the start button for 3 seconds to stop the engine.  You will not lose steering ability by doing so.

        I drive a Camry hybrid and wanted to know what the options were.  

        Coalition does not equal unholy alliance--Deoliver47

        by glynis on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:08:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The prius (0+ / 0-)

        doesn't have a transmission; "shifting" is handled electronically... the hybrid synergy drive is called a transmission because it serves that function but it is not.

        If the acceleration issue is an electronic failure then  attempting to shift to neutral to disengage probably wont work.

        •  REally? I have a friend who bought a new Ford (0+ / 0-)

          that has a shiftless 'transmission' if that what you want to call it as well. She had problems with hers when the car was 6 months old and the went round and round with the dealership because her warranty expired days before the breakdown. It was a nightmare and she swore she'd never buy some trumped up new technology again. I'm with her...give a good old fashioned engine part any old day!

    •  Sudden acceleration isn't a new problem (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sillia, profh, kingyouth, SlackwareGrrl

      ... and isn't limited to Toyotas. Thousands of people died from sudden acceleration incidents in US-made cars in the 1980s and 1990s [PDF File], and there was barely a peep about the issue in the US media, while there have been 6 deaths reported with the Toyotas. With that history in mind, it's hard to believe that the current breathless 24/7 coverage of the Toyota issue is anything but another propaganda campaign, designed to improve the sagging fortunes of US manufacturers.

      At the same time, I'm very glad you've called attention to this simple step that can keep people safe if their car malfunctions. It's worth reiterating:

      If your car is accelerating out of control, shift into neutral.

      Another safety tip: if your brakes fail, DOWNSHIFT, carefully but quickly.

      In most cars, there is Drive, possibly Overdrive, and then one or two lower gears. Overdrive is the "highest" gear, followed by Drive, followed by L2, then L1 (or whatever your manufacturer labeled them - check the owner's manual. For example, L1 could be labeled "s" for "snow").

      If your brakes fail, shift down one gear at a time to let the engine slow the car. You still may not stop completely, and you may wreck your transmission, but you will at least reach a slower speed and reduce any impact, possibly saving lives in the process.

      •  The "B" position in the Prius is like 2nd gear (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mataliandy

        It will slow the car and increase the torque to the (re)generator. In normal driving, using the "B" position as often as possible to brake the car (except when a hard stop is called for) will store more kinetic energy in your batteries and extend your mpg. Using the pedal brake when not necessary just wastes this "free" kinetic energy.

    •  Several Random Thoughts. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SoCaliana

      One of the problems with the "Put it in neutral" advice is that people who drive automatics have no idea what neutral is for. Think of it, when driving an automatic you go from P to R to D, then ultimately back to P. The only time you put the car in N is when you're working on the engine, and who does their own engine work theses days? This is not a dis, it's just a observation. "Neutral" is not programmed into the muscle memory of people who only drive automatics the way is for people who at least occasionally drive stick, and in a panic situation muscle memory is often all you have.

      Turning off the ignition will not, in any car I'm familiar with, lock the steering wheel. It takes a second motion. E.g. In the last Rabbit I owned, the steering lock did not engage until you physically removed the key from the lock. On my Nissan (recently stolen by some low life) and in my new Ford you have to push a button and rotate the key past the "off" posiition to engage the steering lock. Everybody should practice turning off the engine w/o removing the key, since stuck throttles can happen to any car: all it takes IME is a worn throttle cable. Now, If you do shut off the engine, you will lose steering and brake assist, but you will still be able to steer and brake, it just takes more effort.

      The Prius (and other hybrids) are basically "fly by wire". In a older car, when you step on the accelerator, it pulls on a rod or cable that is directly connected to the carburetor or fuel injection. Similarly for the transmission. On hybrids, and more and more non-hybrid cars when you step on the accelerator, or move the shifter, all that happens is a signal is sent to the controller that then signals the various engine components. This does imply that if the problems were caused by an electronics problem (which Toyota vigorously denies), putting the car in neutral might have no effect at all.

  •  When your Prius does go wild..... (8+ / 0-)

    do the right thing.  Stop it by running into another Prius.

  •  Are you sure that headshake meant "NO" as opposed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the fan man

    to "It Didn't Work" ??

    For that matter, isn't it reasonable that when using a combination of BOTH THE BRAKE AND THE EMERGENCY BRAKE, the accelerator was PHYSICALLY still stuck down and the gentleman in question hurt his shoulder trying to pull it up?

    Also, most people don't know that if you hold down the power button for (according to the manual) more than 3 seconds (which probably seems like YEARS under those circumstances) the entire car is supposed to turn off.  Nice maneuver, btw, at 94 miles per hour.

    There is a lot of information NOT PRESENTED in that story, either to the negative or the affirmative and it is rather silly to say that you know all the answers when you don't even have the data.

    BTW, I've got an '08 Prius, too, and it has scared the daylights out of Mrs. Polecat.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    -Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:12:59 AM PST

  •  Its bizarre so few people think of just (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Mama, SlackwareGrrl

    turning off the engine or putting it in neutral. Engine off / neutral is a harmless action, nothing like putting a car in park or reverse... I wonder why this misconception is so rampant.

    Government for the people, by the people

    by axel000 on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:13:27 AM PST

    •  Turning off engine (7+ / 0-)

      locks the steering wheel in mine.

      •  Are you sure (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NYFM, axel000

        it would do that if the car was in neutral or drive?

      •  Which won't be a problem on a staight. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RustyCannon

        Drive until you hit a straight road, cut the ignition (i.e turn the engine off, and hit the breaks gently. If you are still travelling when you come to a curve, switch the key on, but don't start the engine. then the steering lock is off, but the motor is still not running, particulalrrly if you have shifted into neutral.

        My bags are packed, I'm ready to go. I'm standing here outside the door.

        by senilebiker on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:43:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What kind of car do you have? (0+ / 0-)

        Andy by "turning off" do you really mean removing the key?

      •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

        Here in Germany cars usually have 3 positions for the key. Do some US cars only have 2 positions?

        Position 1:
        Only for inserting / removing key.
        Engine and electricity is off. Steering wheel is locked.

        Position 2:
        Engine is off. Electricity is on (for example radio works). Steering wheel is unlocked.

        Position 3:
        Normal position when driving. That´s the position the key settles in after starting the engine.

        Turning the key from position 3 to 2 will only switch off the engine, nothing else.

        •  The Prius doesn't have a key (0+ / 0-)

          It has a start button.  But you can do the same thing by pushing and quickly releasing the button.  That gives you essentially the equivalent of the "accessory" position on conventional engines -- the radio works, the power windows work, etc., but the engine is disengaged and off and everything is being powered by the battery.

    •  Engine off is not harmless when you lose power (9+ / 0-)

      steering and power brakes.

      About Neutral -- I agree with you.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:15:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  in most cars the steering lock is tied to park (0+ / 0-)

        not the key position, but I don't recommend checking...these are life or death situations I'd recommend this action, when you have a few hundred feet of straight road ahead.

        Government for the people, by the people

        by axel000 on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:29:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What "Key Position" is there in a Prius? (0+ / 0-)

          There isn't a "car is on but the engine is off" position.

          Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
          I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
          -Spike Milligan

          by polecat on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:50:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  How to stop a runaway Prius (0+ / 0-)

            http://priuschat.com/...

            I tested the shift-to-neutral procedure at 40, 70, and 90 MPH, while accelerating. Shifting to neutral worked without any problems. Of course I was on a private closed course with no speed limit!

            Why does someone in a runaway Prius take time to call the police, and possibly hold a press conference, but he can't shift into neutral?

            Here is something I posted today on another site, which PriusChat folks might find valuable:

            "I really don't know what is going on in these cars that is giving people trouble, but I am fairly certain that shifting to neutral would solve the problem.

            "I tested shifting to Neutral at both 70 and 90 MPH in my 2004 Prius last night. I kept my foot on the gas pedal and shifted. The car slowed immediately, with no problem at all.

            "I also tested whether the Prius can be powered off while driving. At 40 MPH, with the gas pedal partially down, I pushed and held the Start button. After about 3 seconds (which felt like a long time to wait), my Prius shut down and slowed down. The dashboard lights lit up, and I had to stop the car and shift to Park to restart the car.

            "I am guessing that drivers are simply unfamiliar with the Prius shifter and ignition/power system. The shock of a stuck accelerator pedal could put someone into a severe case of confusion, limiting their ability to think clearly and take proper action.
            I am pretty sure that other cars have stuck throttles at times, but most people know how to put a normal transmission into neutral or turn an ignition key to the left. The Prius has a new interface, which may take a while to get used to."

            Government for the people, by the people

            by axel000 on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:09:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  yes there is (0+ / 0-)

            If you press the start button when your foot is not on brake you turn the car on but don't start the engine.

            Coalition does not equal unholy alliance--Deoliver47

            by glynis on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:22:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  How do I get into that mode once the engine is (0+ / 0-)

              running?

              Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
              I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
              -Spike Milligan

              by polecat on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:33:15 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  by holding the button in for 3 seconds (0+ / 0-)

                if you turn the car to acc mode with a key ignition you lose your power assist but not your steering or braking.  Same thing with holding the button in for 3 seconds.

                Coalition does not equal unholy alliance--Deoliver47

                by glynis on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:43:42 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I thought that turned it all the way off. (0+ / 0-)

                  I'd told Mrs. Polecat to do that in a pinch (the 3 second thing), but had warned her that it may be very hard to steer.  The diarist thought that his steering locked up completely under those circumstances, but now I think I need a large section of open road to actually test it out.

                  Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
                  I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
                  -Spike Milligan

                  by polecat on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 09:45:50 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  its not taught in drivers ed anymore (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drational, RustyCannon

      that's why

      ...Achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life... EMK

      by SlackwareGrrl on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:19:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  In this case, the road was very winding. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yellowdog, NYFM, Book of Hearts

      So anything that risked locking the steering would be bad; the guy said in an interview that he didn't want to risk that at that speed. For the same reason I think he might have been hesitant to give up power totally by putting it into neutral. There was a lot of traffic, it was hilly, and it could be almost as dangerous to have no way to get out of the traffic. Besides, in California a lot of times at 85 you are just barely keeping up with the flow of traffic, so going 94 might actually be less dangerous than going 50 or something.

      Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

      by billmosby on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:26:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's why you practice now (4+ / 0-)

        to know that in your Prius, putting in neutral does not alter the steering.

        •  Good point, pick an empty parking lot (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          yella dawg

          and try it at 5mph.  You can always shift back to D if you get a surprise.

          Government for the people, by the people

          by axel000 on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:30:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  For neutral, I was more concerned about.. (0+ / 0-)

          .. getting run over under heavy traffic conditions. Steering would be more of a concern with a total shutdown.

          Reminds me of what happened to a friend on a mountain road around the time locking steering systems came into use. His wife, as a prank, turned the engine off and threw the key into the back of  the car while they were driving downhill on a pretty long straight in the mountains with a curve at the bottom. She fogot that the steering would lock. It was a mad scramble to find the key before coming to the curve, or drifting off the side beforehand. And of course the loss of power brakes at that point didn't help.

          Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

          by billmosby on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:36:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I think many people base the assumptions (0+ / 0-)

      of what to do on old car technology or rather logistics since technology came into the picture later. In reality, the cars built now do not always follow the logic of what an older car would do under similar circumstances because they make them to 'think' for the driver so they don't have to worry about manual anything. However, when you do as in this case, it isn't always clear if the maneuver will 'work' like the old days when the typical neutral or shut-off mechanism was possible with a key or gear shaft. The whole 'brain' in the car thing isn't for me. I don't even buy digital appliances if i can help it because the non-digital last much longer with regular gears than the little chips that are supposed to 'think' for me to get that load of laundry done. I've had dryers last 20 years, where digital seems to last maybe 5 if you're lucky! Same with cars.

    •  I don't think you should judge people who (0+ / 0-)

      don't think of the right thing to do in a crisis situation. My roommate in college had her car start accelerating on it's own. This was back around 1968 and the car was a '57 or '58 Chevy (yeah, nice car) so it was a stick and without all the current electronics. Neither her or her passenger (both good drivers and very level headed people) were immediately able to think of just turning off the engine. They did eventually, but it took a while and no one was hurt.

      I've driven a stick-put 100,000 miles on one, and I wouldn't think to put it neutral. I would be afraid of losing control of the car, which is probably what the guy meant when he said he was afraid it would flip.

      None of these suggestions would have helped the woman in NY who was reportedly backing out of her driveway when the acceleration went wild. She hit a wall on the other side of the street; fortunately there were no cars driving by at the time.

      You fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is "Never get involved in a land war in Asia".

      by yellowdog on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 09:16:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  So (6+ / 0-)

    So you drive a Pius?  Does it create a lot of smug?

    •  Mine does, especially all over people in SUV's.nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:15:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I like my Forester (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greatdarkspot, billmosby, KroneckerD

        gets 26 mph and NEVER runs away with me

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:24:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  At "26 mph", how could it "run"? lol (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          exlrrp, 2020adam, hpchicago

          Sorry, couldn't resist. I know what you meant.

          Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

          by billmosby on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:27:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Neither does my Prius! (0+ / 0-)

          And it gets 50 mpg highway if I put the cruise control on 60.

          •  at 60 mph on a freeway (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            greatdarkspot, darthstar, billmosby

            one is usually impeding the flow of traffic, unless the freeway is crowded, in which case one should not be in cruise anyway...

            Out here in the intermountain West, anyway.

            don't always believe what you think...

            by claude on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:38:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I set it on 70 when I was out there. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              side pocket, darthstar, billmosby

              Still got over 40 mpg.

              •  At 70 mph, in California, one is usually (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                billmosby

                impeding traffic as well.  Hell, my wife goes 85 in our Smart car (which, by the way, gets 42mpg).  Then again, a Honda Fit ($14,000 like the Smart) has 4 doors and gets about 40 mpg.  But for the extra 10 grand you get to drive a big chunk of ugly and an extra 10mpg.  That'll pay for itself in 20 years.

                Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

                by darthstar on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:02:58 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  out here I routinely set cruise at 85 or so (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  darthstar

                  and run 50 miles without coming off cruise. And I get passed often. Cops don't seem to mind as long as we keep it under 90. I get about 24mpg cruising like that.

                  I choose to do this in a Volvo wagon rather than an econobox, for the durability and safety. We drive our cars 150k - 250k miles, and we always buy used Volvos. Over a million miles worth in this family over 30+years. A good used Volvo with under 100k miles on it, +/- 8 years old, if it has been maintained to spec  as Volvos generally are, is one of the best transpo investments you can make. Depending on model, vehicle cost (initial plus repairs, but not oil, gas, tires or insurance, because these are more or less equal for any car (not fuel, I know)) over long service range from 8 to 15 cents a mile, and I'm driving a Volvo.

                  I'm a gear head, I know machines, I drive fast and have driven about 45 years and I don't think I can beat a Volvo for the money, and there is hardly anything on the road that feels so solid and right and utterly controllable.

                  Plus I have NEVER been responsible for buying a new car in my life, only recycled, so despite the lower mileage, the environment isn't being depleted to provide me with a new car, which has got to be worth something in the carbon reduction arena.

                  don't always believe what you think...

                  by claude on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 02:14:04 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  My wife is driving a Prius today from the work (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat, OHdog, drational

    car pool, she called to let me know where the life insurance policy was. I told her to relax, but check the emergency brake before getting on the road.

  •  the DOT needs to put out a PSA on this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drational

    "Important Publis Service Announcement for all Toyota drivers"

    "There are serious concerns about the potential for your vehicle to accelerate on its own accord and go out of control.  

    If you experience this control failure, immediately shift into neutral, turn off your engine and pull over once you have braked to a safe speed to exit traffic."

    Government for the people, by the people

    by axel000 on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:17:18 AM PST

    •  Kos Media could do it, along with a googlebomb.. (0+ / 0-)

      Could plug the NTHSB while we're at it -- See, government actually makes a difference!

      (Ahem, Jed...)

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:18:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think it is easy to sit at one's keyboard and (3+ / 0-)

    ytype 'put the car in neitral'. It is somethign else again to be driving along a winding highway with steep drops on either side at 90 miles an hour trying desperately to slow an out of control car. I drive a stick shift, I would hesitate to take any radical move at that speed, disengaging the engine or cutting the power which causes one to lose any control of the steering. At that speed one is not thinking logically one is in full survival mode.

    Cars flip amazingly easily. I flipped a Jeep at 40 miles on black ice by just tapping the brake to avoid a head on collision and went into an out of control slide/spin and ended in a snowbank upside down.

    •  I have practiced (9+ / 0-)

      Putting in neutral does not alter my Prius's steering, it simply stops the transmission from making the wheels spin faster.  And in "D" in a Prius there is minimal engine braking, so neutral feels similar to removing your foot from the pedal.

      I am practicing so that I don't have to think logically at 90 miles an hour.  I just want my "motor memory" to be able to come through and do it, sort of like how firemen practice getting out of dangerous situations....

    •  putting your car in neutral (7+ / 0-)

      doesn't do anything to the handling!  it just stops you from being able to accelerate.  Then you just coast to the side of the road, applying the brakes as needed.  It's hardly a radical move - you can shift in and out of neutral on the highway without a problem.  how do you think stick shifts get from one gear to another?

      •  You wonder why we're not hearing much about (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RustyCannon, SlackwareGrrl, mali muso

        killer Toyotas from Europe? Because over there, people know how to drive stick shifts and would know how to stop their runaway Toyota, whether it was manual or auto.

        Economics: The science of explaining tomorrow why the predictions you made yesterday didn't come true today

        by yg17 on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:39:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I wish I could rec you a dozen times. nt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RustyCannon

        ...Achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life... EMK

        by SlackwareGrrl on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:52:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  well, it may surprise you to know that I know (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        yellowdog

        how a stick shift gets from one gear to the other. What kind of snotty comment is that?

        My point is that in that kind of situation it is extremely difficult to think rationally. Excuse me for daring to enter such an educated debate from people who obviously have been in this kind of situation and are able to keep a clear mond and control their actions.

        Have a great day. May your Prius slow safely.

        •  Well (0+ / 0-)

          It happened to me years ago, long before the Toyota scare, when I had a car with a clutch. I pushed the clutch in. That was no big deal.

          The time I lost my brakes in the mountains because of a fluid leak in a university vehicle was a bigger problem but I'm here to write about it.

          look for my DK Greenroots diary series Wednesday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

          by FishOutofWater on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:34:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I once lost my brakes descending the Sierra (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            yellowdog, FishOutofWater

            Madre Occidental in Mexico. On one side a 2000 foot drop, on the other a cliff.  Hairy? you betcha.  Thank God for gears and hand brake. Never neglect your hand brake.

            The only point I am trying to make is that the tone of this diary inferred the driver had acted poorly, my point is that under these circumstances maximum exposure needs to be given to the public regarding the potenntial hazards of such a situation and that needs to come from the manufacturer and the government. I don't see enough seriousness yet in what is potentially a danger to the general public.

      •  Actually, that's not true, (0+ / 0-)

        although 90% of drivers wouldn't know it.

        Cars handle much different, and much better, when there is some power going through the drive wheels. One can also tighten or widen one's line through a corner with judicious applications of the throttle.

        It's called "throttle steering" for a reason.

        Your car will handle significantly worse in neutral. Of course, if the throttle is stuck open, that's more serious than slightly woozy and imprecise handling.

        --Shannon

        "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
        "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

        by Leftie Gunner on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 10:27:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  jeep = inherently unstable n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NYFM, RustyCannon

      Electronic media creates reality - Meatball Fulton

      by zeke7237 on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:38:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Note my experience in the 2nd paragraph (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lefty Mama, sillia, KroneckerD

      of my comment here.

      Skidding on ice is completely different - especially if you get the wheels locked up because then you've lost all ability to steer. As long as your wheels are turning, you have some ability to steer. I have avoided accidents by taking my foot off of the brake to get the front wheels to turn, allowing me to turn the vehicle to avoid a collision. I've done this on ice as well as dry pavement. It is very hard to pull your foot off the brake when you are skidding towards a collision, but if you know how a car handles, it is a logical thing to do, just as shifting into neutral is logical when your engine has taken on a mind of its own.

      You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake. Jeannette Rankin

      by RustyCannon on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:58:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Totally true. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RustyCannon, KroneckerD, mali muso

        Also, if a person is driving in very icy conditions with a stick shift you have more control, because you're already driving in a lower gear anyway.

        ...Achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life... EMK

        by SlackwareGrrl on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:03:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you followed the link to my other comment, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SlackwareGrrl, mali muso

          I share an experience with a run away accelerator on a 12 ton diesel motorhome while descending a very steep, winding highway near Dillon, CO and how I brought that beast safely to a stop. It had a selectable gear automatic transmission and I was already in a lower gear to keep my speed down. I'm here to tell you, however, that in that situation, my sphincter muscle was strained (extreme butt pucker). But I agree that driving a stick shift makes the whole thing less mysterious and understandable.

          You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake. Jeannette Rankin

          by RustyCannon on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:16:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Better yet, (6+ / 0-)

    drive a '68 Ford Falcon.

    Why don't you try reading the rules, Shankopotamus?

    by bugscuffle on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:25:28 AM PST

  •  If I owned any vehicle with the potential (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drational, SlackwareGrrl

    to accelerate on its own, I'd install a kill switch between the battery and the starter relay.

    I had a van years ago, equipped with an after-market cruise control, that accelerated in traffic one morning. Scared the hell out of me. I shifted into neutral coasted to the side of the street and disconnected it on the spot.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:26:05 AM PST

  •  May not come naturally to some people (16+ / 0-)

    But at 94mph sure seems easier and more natural than dialing 911 on your cell phone.

    There may be, um, more to this story.

  •  Assuming there was a problem with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCaliana

    the electronics that might not work . . . but in this case, you're right, it seems logical.

  •  Good thing they're not super powerful. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM

    We have a 2010 Prius, and I like it a lot. If it ran away with me on I-15, though, i'd just move a couple of lanes to the left and blend in with the normal traffic which generally moves about 95 mph. Seemingly.  If it had more power, that probably wouldn't work as well.

    Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

    by billmosby on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:30:42 AM PST

  •  Toyota needs to weigh in on this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, SlackwareGrrl

    and give safe instructions on what to do in this situation.

    •  Toyota (5+ / 0-)

      has given instructions and there have been reports in print and broadcast media instructing what to do but people continue to miss it or in a panic, can't remember.  

      Toyota's instructions per their website:

      What if you experience a sticking accelerator pedal while driving?
      Each circumstance may vary, and drivers must use their best judgment, but Toyota recommends taking the following actions:
      • 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.
           o 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.  
           o 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.

      Similar instructions were included in letter Toyota sent to owners (sample)

      •  Thank you, good information. (0+ / 0-)

        Now, if we could only turn off that incessant beeping as we back up the car, move away while the car is on carrying the key, or try to drive without a seat belt on!

        And could we shut off the maintenance light?  I know it needs service.  Jeeze.

        Thinking Is Beautiful

        by SoCaliana on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:41:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  My Honda Accord... (0+ / 0-)

    Has several 'zones' in the shifter (it's an automatic).  You have to push the button to move between 'zones' but you don't have to push the button if you are in a zone.  The first zone has park only.  the second has reverse.  The third has neutral, drive (with overdrive) and drive without overdrive.  The other two zones are for the two low gears.  If you are in the third zone, you can move from drive to neutral without pressing the shifter button.  This means you have no way of putting the car into reverse without hitting the button.

    I think in the heat of the moment, the driver probably got 'park' and 'neutral' confused.  He probably thought that if you slam the car into 'park' the transmission would stop and the car would seize and possibly flip.  Everyone needs to get acquainted with 'neutral' and how you can shift into it while driving.

    To the WH: "It's your job to f*ck-up power; it's Fox's job to f*ck-up truth.' - Jon Stewart

    by RichM on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:32:20 AM PST

  •  I was just talking about this last night... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RichM, yella dawg, SlackwareGrrl

    I was saying, "Why don't people just put it into neutral?"

    This seems obvious but I guess some people just don't think about it.

  •  I was reading a skeptic's blogsite (5+ / 0-)

    that discussed this particular incident.

    At least one poster suggests this is a attempt to garner attention or money.

    Others discussed placing the car in 'neutral' and effect on power steering ability of the car if the ignition is turned to off.

    I'm surprised mostly that the driver was able to dial 911 and talk to the dispatcher while trying to control the car going 90mph.

    I'm just glad no one was hurt.

    skeptic blog thread ie; runaway Prius

    YES WE DID! November 4th, 2008

    by Esjaydee on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:33:08 AM PST

  •  Duh (10+ / 0-)

    Putting the car in Neutral.

    I am having trouble believing this story. I heard the breathless reportage on "speeds up to 90mph!!!".

    90 mph in a modern auto just isn't that big a deal unless the guy was just a total noobie driver.

    This reeks of a smear campaign against Toyota, but I'll admit I have a funny nose...

    don't always believe what you think...

    by claude on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:33:53 AM PST

    •  You have the same nose I do! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      claude, side pocket, corvo

      I was suspicious of this story when I first heard it, and am much more suspicious after learning about the driver's refusal to shift into neutral.

    •  90mph where? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      claude, jrooth, yella dawg

      Geez, claude, it depends a lot on where you are and how much traffic there is.

      •  New Mexico, joan (0+ / 0-)

        few people, much space wide open.

        One is called upon to keep a quality vehicle in proper maintenance form and be an alert driver if one wishes to drive like that.

        don't always believe what you think...

        by claude on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 02:18:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  agree. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      claude, SoCaliana

      I've pushed my Prius into neutral at around 85 mph. No issues.

      Then again, it's a 2004.

      "We are one, after all, you and I, together we suffer, together exist, and forever will recreate each other."
      Teilhard de Chardin

      by exmearden on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 10:15:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  many people live in fear... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        exmearden

        ...of driving and their cars and are handicapped by that.  They have no sense of control and where the limits of control exist nor any clue of appropriate emergency response when there is absolutely NO TIME to think.

        Modern cars, the good ones, anyway, are unbelievably stable and controllable compared to the crap we learned to drive in in the 60s, which were scary. But one has to practise, like learning a martial art, to train one's self to know instinctively, autonomic reflex level, just what to do when the shit comes down.

        All it takes to develop this is constant awareness, making every maneuver count, and constantly pushing the limit a tiny increment onward as your body learns to accept it and not go into alarm mode. Learn to dance with your car, because what you learn might someday save your life, or possibly the life of a child that runs out in front of you.

        Obviously, there has to be room to do this with no other cars present on the road right there, and most people don't experience that much.

        There is a minimum mandated level of competence to be an "operator" behind the wheel, but I think it takes more than a minimum to really be a "driver". A lot of people seem to be getting this lately, because they have been demanding and buying cars that can actually be driven with confidence.

        Same holds true for electric vehicles, which are going to replace (and leave behind at the drag strip) combustion-engined vehicles.

        Anyway, blah blah blah. Love yr car, don't be scared of it. YMMV

        don't always believe what you think...

        by claude on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 03:11:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  you'll be amused (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          claude

          at the 1964 Mercury Comet sitting in my front yard...

          Trying to teach my middle daughter how and when to use the choke. Heh.

          "We are one, after all, you and I, together we suffer, together exist, and forever will recreate each other."
          Teilhard de Chardin

          by exmearden on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 04:44:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I briefly had a '65 Falcon, which is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            exmearden

            essentially the same car. $150 bucks in 1978. It was my last non-Volvo.

            The Falcoon was an honest and unpretentious car and served me well for a few months.

            don't always believe what you think...

            by claude on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 05:32:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I wish you had (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    claude, leevank, corvo

    ... written the diary to criticize the driver. This story reeks of a scripted set-up.

  •  hype (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leevank

    personally I think the whole toyota thing has been blown way out of proportion. I've been driving priuses (priii?) since '02, currently in an '06. The safety mat recall is a joke (there's two fucking pins it hooks to, any mat not connected to those pins could possibly foul the pedal). The instances of unintended acceleration are all still pretty much subjective as far as I can tell from reading the reports. That professor's analysis involved ripping wires out of the fucking harness!

    stay calm, learn how to deal with your car in emergencies and don't worry about it

    Electronic media creates reality - Meatball Fulton

    by zeke7237 on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:37:17 AM PST

  •  Don't know about the Prius specifically (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sandy on Signal, jrooth, mochajava13

    but on a hybrid the engine doesn't drive the wheels.  Electric motors do.  And if there was a galaxy-class design screwup, then it's possible that "N" might actually not stop acceleration.

    •  I've got to believe... (0+ / 0-)

      Neutral is still neutral though.

      •  But "neutral" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jrooth

        might only exist as a subroutine in the motor control software on a hybrid.  Only Toyota knows at this point.

      •  Neutral may be virtual on the Prius (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jrooth, SoCaliana

        While I'm not an expert, I've been reading about the Prius since before it was available in the USA.  My understanding from what I've read is that virtually everything is under the control of the car's computer.  In a Prius, there is no such thing as a real neutral since it does not have a conventional transmission.  Instead, it has a set of planetary gears that link the engine, the drive shaft, and the motor/generator.  It's very ingenious and has very few moving parts.

        Wikipedia has a decent summary of the technology.

        It takes a great deal of software to make the brake pedal and accellerator simulate a conventional car.  For example, if the gasoline engine is not running, the accellerator controls how much battery power goes to the motor/generator to drive the axle.  However, if the engine is on then the drive power comes from the engine at high speed, from the motor/generator at low speed, and from a combination at medium speed.  This is all taken care of by software and is normally transparent to the user.

        The accellerator on a Prius is not mechanically linked to the fuel injectors as on a modern gasoline car or the throttle plate on a carburator.  Its position is given to the computer which then simulates its behavior.

        The brake pedal has both a software and a mechanical component.  Gentle braking does regenerative braking, where the motor/generator acts as a generator and converts the kinetic energy of the car into battery power.  Strong braking is mechanically connected to conventional disk brakes in case regenerative braking fails or is not enough.

        I don't know if the neutral setting has any direct connection to the engine, like killing it and letting the motor/generator spin freely.  That would be a sensible thing to do.  OTOH, it could be just an input to the software.

        Again, I'm not an expert and this is just what I've read in published sources.

        Big Joe Helton: "I pay Plenty."
        Chico Marx: "Well, then we're Plenty Tough."

        by Caelian on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:44:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  More good reasons for driving a manual (5+ / 0-)

    transmission vehicle.  Far more control over the car, and the driver stays actively engaged in operating the vehicle . . . and

    I know, I know, being stuck in a traffic jam on the interstate is not much fun with a stick shift . . . BUT . . . no out of control acceleration.

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:43:52 AM PST

    •  i learned to drive manual a few years ago (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobdevo, yella dawg, SlackwareGrrl

      and now both our cars are stick shift.  I like being able to control my vehicle.  I really like being able to downshift instead of tapping the brakes when the road is snowy.  I don't much like being stuck in traffic...but then again I don't live in a big metro area. :)

      •  You can downshift an automatic (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mali muso

        transmission vehicle, I have been doing this for years in icy conditions. All automatic vehicles have a "low" gear of some kind you can shift into. I drove an automatic Subaru in upstate NY (snow & ice 6 mos of the year) and an automatic Ford station wagon in the Midwest (snow and ice 4 to 5 mos of the yr). You put it in low gear, you immediately have better control on snow or ice. This has saved me in a lot off icky situations.

        "We did not come here to fear the future, we came to shape it." --BHO "Grab a mop." --BHO

        by sillia on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 10:02:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I've owned three manual (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobdevo

      cars and liked two of them (the crappy Fiat x 1/9 not so much ...).

      But when a ditz on a cell phone turned in front of me and destroyed my 2000 Jetta I went back to automatic. The problems with manual are that: 1) not too many cars offered with it anymore so your choices are pretty limited and 2)sitting in traffic is a royal pain the rear - stop go, shift up, shift down - and sitting in traffic is pretty much a given in the Chicago area.

      Nudist Minorcan ancestors good with slingshots, invented mayo - family dynamic now clear

      by hpchicago on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:21:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some people have a problem with technology. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Mama, billmosby, PeakRaider

    I have a coworker who once lamented that he couldn't get into his car because the battery was dead on key fob remote for his car.  When someone asked him if he couldn't just use the key, he felt pretty dumb.  And then there is this.

    •  That was a joke on Family Guy once (0+ / 0-)

      but I never thought anyone would actually be stupid enough to lock themselves in a car.

      Economics: The science of explaining tomorrow why the predictions you made yesterday didn't come true today

      by yg17 on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:49:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  How about "stuck on an escalator"? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      billybush

      Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

      by billmosby on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:23:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Gerald Ford... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        billmosby

        ... was loath to bail out New York City during its financial crisis because he had bad memories of the New York Blackout.  He was stuck for five hours on an escalator.

        [From the political room at the Old Jokes Home.]

        Big Joe Helton: "I pay Plenty."
        Chico Marx: "Well, then we're Plenty Tough."

        by Caelian on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:50:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, on a Prius... (0+ / 0-)

      ... I have read that the trunk lock only has an electronic release, so if your battery dies you can't get the trunk open.

      Unless you're inside it.  I think all modern cars require a manual release lever inside the trunk so the two dozen people a year who lock themselves in trunks can get out.

      Big Joe Helton: "I pay Plenty."
      Chico Marx: "Well, then we're Plenty Tough."

      by Caelian on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:47:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've seen this advice before and I wonder (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yella dawg, SlackwareGrrl

    why people don't do this (shift to neutral, stop, shut the car off). It seems so logical to me. I heard one story of a woman who crashed her Prius and has claimed that she not only tried to shift it into neutral, but also reverse and park! I find that very hard to believe. But maybe there's no mechanical link in the Prius shift mechanism and the same possible electronic problem that causes the acceleration also causes the shifter to become useless? I'm skeptical of all of this.

    I was driving a 12 ton diesel motorhome down a 6% grade, coming off the east side of the continental divide on I-70 a few years ago when a spring broke on the engine's throttle mechanism, causing the accelerator to stick wide open. I already had the automatic transmission in a low gear because I was using the engine to brake, but when the engine ran away on its own, my immediate thought was to stop it from driving the wheels - shift it to neutral. As soon as I had brought it to a stop, I shut the engine off. Luckily, there was a governor on the engine that prevented it from destroying itself.

    Dialing 911 on a cell phone would have been way more complicated than just dealing with the emergency at hand in a logical fashion withoug panicking.

    You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake. Jeannette Rankin

    by RustyCannon on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:49:08 AM PST

    •  Dialing 911 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RustyCannon

      on a cell phone not necessarily a big deal. With voice dial he may just have had to say "911".

      Nudist Minorcan ancestors good with slingshots, invented mayo - family dynamic now clear

      by hpchicago on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:23:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He was holding the phone and had to set it down (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        leevank

        to try shifting to neutral, from what I understand. Still, the distraction of attemtping to explain to someone what is happening to you rather than dealing with the situation by using the controls at your disposal just sounds way more complicated to me. I'll continue to be highly skeptical of this problem until someone can reproduce it.

        I know a bit about software too, and if it is truly a "stuck bit", then resetting the computer should be able to stop the problem. I understand that holding the "start" or "on" button down for 3 seconds in the Prius can shut the car off. Pressing it again can restart it - rebooting the computer.

        You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake. Jeannette Rankin

        by RustyCannon on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:52:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Computer control (3+ / 0-)

      I've tried to find some definitive information on this without much success, but I've seen claims that neither the accelerator nor the transmission control (probably not the power switch either, for that matter) are mechanical linkages in these cars, but rather simply talk to the computer which then controls the functioning of the car.  In that case, if there's some undiscovered bug in the software or even some intermittent unreliability in the circuitry, it could cause these controls to fail.

      I really find it hard to believe that nobody who has experienced one of these events has thought to put the car in neutral - it was my instant thought the first time I heard about this problem.

      He took a duck in the face at two hundred and fifty knots.

      by jrooth on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:27:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If neutral (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RustyCannon

        is just a computer state, and not an actual neutral (which is what it sounds like, but I don't have a Prius), then switching to neutral won't help, because the driver is putting an input into the computer that won't reach the rest of the car.  I'm surprised that there's not some kind of manual override for in case the computer system fails.  

    •  Could be a disconnect (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RustyCannon, SoCaliana

      between the computer system and the rest of the car.  If that's the case, no amount of trying to shift on a Prius would help.  Whatever input the rest of the car (brakes, gears, etc) had when the disconnect happens is what the car decides it's supposed to do.

  •  And Then (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PeakRaider

    There's always just shutting off the fucking ignition,which stops the engine.  I's simple.  You just turn the key and take it out.  No electricity goes to the coil and thus none goes to the sparkplugs.  The engine dies.  You do it every time you stop the car.

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:51:57 AM PST

    •  That's a problem on these push button (0+ / 0-)

      starts like the Prius. It's not as simple as turning the key. You have to hold the button down for 3 seconds or something like that.

      I think automatic transmissions need something like a clutch pedal that serves no other purpose than to mechanically disconnect the engine from the transmission without any electrical intervention. A mechanical, physical link that no computer can interfere with.

      Economics: The science of explaining tomorrow why the predictions you made yesterday didn't come true today

      by yg17 on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:55:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  While that will work (0+ / 0-)

      but putting the transmission into neutral is preferable so you will continue to have power steering and brakes to stop the vehicle.  Once the transmission is disengaged, it won't make any difference how much the engine accelerates because the engine is not turning the wheels.  

    •  Not always! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mochajava13, SoCaliana

      Was demonstrating my new Porsche about three months ago, and I very quickly turned the engine off and yanked the key out.

      I did it so quickly the engine management system didn't register the "off" position, and the engine kept running.  The engine was so balanced I didn't hear a thing, but my friend mentioned the rev counter was still showing idle.

      I re-inserted the key, flicked it to the left, and it turned off.

      More and more cars are being built with the ignition key really just for show, and having nothing to do with engine operation.

  •  The Prius is a robotic demon sent from the (4+ / 0-)

    future.  They're all waking from their 'stand by' mode and beginning their assault, now that they're as common on the road as mini-vans were in the 80s.

    Attack your Prius before it attacks you!

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 07:52:06 AM PST

  •  That driver was a fucking idiot. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, DefendOurConstitution

    Couple that with a fucked up accelerator and you've got a cable "news" wet dream.

    And then there's the nuclear option...turn the fucking ignition off.

  •  The runaway Lexus in TN (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rincewind, NYFM, mochajava13, DruidQueen

    was put into neutral and nothing happened.  The driver, Rhonda Smith, testified to Congress she tried every gear including reverse, at 100 mph.  Also, she testified she was braking and the car kept accelerating.  

    What a frightening experience.  I would definitely put it in neutral, but that may or may not work.  Toyota is working on an override system for when brakes and acceleration happen simultaneously, so they said during congressional testimony.

  •  I'm skeptical about the whole thing (0+ / 0-)

    A Prius going over 90? I've never even seen one doing 75.

    Nothing brings people together more than mutual hatred.

    by Hannibal on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:08:28 AM PST

  •  ROFLMAO at all the smarties... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    billmosby

    ...who feel sure had it happened to them -- they would have remained calm and clear and would have known what to do -- could have easily maneuvered that car through traffic with one hand.

    Especially funny is all the mockery over the possibility that somebody couldn't take their hands off the wheel to put the car in neutral -- but he could use his cell phone.  I take it all these technology geniuses commenting haven't heard of cell phones with voice commands/voice dial.

    I don't know what happened -- and so far -- see no reason to suspect and try to judge anybody.  At any rate -- there's a reason we celebrate level headed heroes who remain calm and act smartly during a crisis.  If they were common -- ordinary -- we wouldn't treat them as extraordinary people.  

  •  Another Incident...... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sandy on Signal, Pandoras Box

    From USA Today:

    A 56-year-old woman was pulling out of a driveway when her 2005 Prius "shot" across the road, Harrison, N.Y., police said. The driver, who was not immediately named, suffered minor injuries, but the impact sent "some pretty big boulders" fairly far, said Anthony Marraccini, acting police chief.

    That Prius is among the 2004-2009 models recalled by Toyota for floor mats that could jam the gas pedal, but Marraccini said the floor mat has been pretty much ruled out since it was tied to the seat base with plastic ties. Police have taken the car for further analysis.

  •  What To Do In A Runaway Prius..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box

    There's shifting into neutral.....




    But you can also try turning the bloody thing off, by pressing & holding down the power button for three seconds.


  •  I had a minivan once where the accelertor got (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sandy on Signal

    stuck (a zip tie had become lodge on the throttle shaft and prevented the car from slowing). It's pretty f'en scary! I did throw it in neutral and brake to the side of the road. However, since I was going about 55mph when i did, the car made a horrible winding noise and it sounded like it was going to explode once the car's transmission was no longer engaged. I can't imagine what that would sound like at 90mph, so i can sympathize with this driver and i don't make him out to be an idiot...a runaway car is a terrifying experience.

    •  Yikes. I think Toyota is lying (0+ / 0-)

      and I don't blame the drivers, one bit.  Too many experienced drivers have died and those who lived to tell have testified they did put it into neutral or did anything and everything to little avail.  Toyota knows it has an electronics issue and is trying to solve it; however, they need to come forward and be truthful to Toyota owners.

      I am glad you survived your scare.  Also, glad you solved it by finding out a zip tie caused it.  If only Toyota's problems were that easy.

  •  I have the 2007 Prius, it does accelerate rapidly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sandy on Signal, Pandoras Box

    when switching from electricity to gas.  

    It's not usually the pedal getting stuck, although that happened from the mat.  You just have to adjust the mat and make sure it stays in place.

    But when driving and the gas kicks in right when you're close to needing to stop (like at a stoplight/stop sign), it sometimes will lurch-speed up and you just have to brake harder than usual to get it to stop.  

    The first time was surprising, but then I found there was a pattern to what it was doing. It's never been unstoppable by using the brakes though.

    Steve Wozniak said it's a software glitch.

    And ya, you can go quite fast normally in a Prius.  90 is nothing, lol.

    Thinking Is Beautiful

    by SoCaliana on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 08:30:37 AM PST

    •  Interesting article. This is my instinct also and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pandoras Box, SoCaliana

      I am certainly not a computer expert.  This is exactly the kind of sensible addition to the debate that is required. Thankyou for linking this piece.

    •  So what happens (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SoCaliana

      if the car switches from electricity to gas when going over 60 mph?

      •  It will "plateau" or decelerate, in my experience (0+ / 0-)

        at that high a speed when you ease off the pedal while in gas mode and switch back to electricity.  Because when you first start driving, typically it begins in electricity use up to about 12-15mph, where the gas kicks in.  (This changes if you let the car idle, and take off in gas mode.  When it sits idling, the gas kicks in to keep it running.)  

        At that point it goes back and forth from gas to electricity, doing some proprietary Toyota formula I'm sure.  Once at freeway speed, if you ease off the pedal it will stop using gas and just use electricity until the formula tells it to kick in the gas again. During the switch back to gas, after plateauing on electricity, it will decelerate a little. This is where you tend to press the pedal down to bring it back up to speed.

        I've never had it do the speedy lurch thing by easing off the pedal while it's using gas or electricity at high speed.  It's only happened when slowing down, actually using the brakes.  Like it's breaking some type of "speed up" command chain unexpectedly for the car or something.

        Thinking Is Beautiful

        by SoCaliana on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 10:44:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great excuse when caught speeding in a Toyota (0+ / 0-)

    In a Toyota you can now drive as fast as you want.  Not only will you be forgiven from a ticket using the "Toyota Defense", you can just speed on and get escorted to your destination.  The guy concerned about flipping the vehicle may have had this in mind.  

  •  My wife and I have been driving Toyotas now (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Darmok, SlackwareGrrl

    since the late seventies and have had nothing but praise for them. These cars needed no repairs whatsoever as long as we maintained them well. So, frankly it's a shame they're destroying their reputation overnight. Right now we're driving a Toyota
    truck ('03) and a Camry ('03). Never any problems. The truck has 52,000 miles and the Camry barely over 20,000. My wife doesn't drive it much. I'd expect tons more mileage with no problems with both of them.

    But that's capitalism: shave off a few bucks and create a monster. These problems started happening only the last few years.

  •  Mind if I pimp? (2+ / 0-)

    Did a diary on this last week.

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    There was one poster who asked why throwing the car in neutral didn't work, and I kind of hemmed and hawed.  People panic when all hell brake/breaks loose, and they don't always follow easy rules.

    That's why I drive a manual- you always have total control over engine and transmission.  A lot more fun too!  Okay, I drive two manuals, but very rarely at the same time.

  •  Adjust the floor mat... (0+ / 0-)

    put the car in neutral... consult engineers... pray...

    I have a better idea.

    Buy a better car, one that is not a deathtrap.

    If this was a Ford or GM issue, that would certainly be the solution favored by most everyone here. How many of you would have continued to drive a Pinto after the publicity about rear collision fires? Or an Explorer that might flip in sudden maneuvers?

    Toyota covered up this problem for years. Anyone who trusts their PR on this issue is nuts.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 09:20:51 AM PST

  •  the story reminds me of "balloon boy" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leevank

    I could be wrong....
    but i don't think so. I smell a hoax.

    just the way this was ran, it points to a driver who wants money and fame.... I'm guessing mostly money.  

    Cong. Sherman, say NO to racism.

    by Tom J on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 09:27:58 AM PST

    •  They can find out if it was a hoax (0+ / 0-)

      My husband reminded me that the Prius has a "black box" computer in it that records everything you do. So they will be able to go through that and see what happened. For instance, if he DID put it in neutral that will show up. If he didn't step on the brake pedal that will also show up, etc. So eventually the truth will come out, one can hope.

      "We did not come here to fear the future, we came to shape it." --BHO "Grab a mop." --BHO

      by sillia on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 11:03:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What if its a software fault (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCaliana

    And as the software also controls the transmission why does anyone think that would be effective?  That does of course assume a software issue.

    My leader is Barack Hussein Obama the finest President this country has ever elected.

    by Adept2u on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 10:36:11 AM PST

  •  My 1996 Dakota (0+ / 0-)

    will every now & then start running @ 3500 RPM. I know it's that much because I can tell the trottle is doing something I didn't ask it to & pushed the clutch in. it's weird sitting at a redlight when it does it. it does this ever 3 or 4 months for just a few minutes.
    I took the trottle body off & didn't see anything wrong. it did it a few times after that & hasn't  since.

    Knock on wood

    but puuting vehicle in the neutral makes sense to me.
    alls it can do is blow the engine up

    you cant fool all of the people all of the time unless they watch fox news

    by eeff on Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 06:31:53 PM PST

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