By AJ Wilcox | March 21, 2013
Let me paint you a ridiculous picture. You’re driving down the highway and the throttle gets stuck wide open. You can’t stop, so you drive full throttle for an hour until you run out of gas.
Hard to believe? It gets crazier.
French citizen, Frank Lecerf,was driving his Renault Laguna to the store. Not just any old Renault, but one that had been modified for the disabled. It had keyless ignition, and sacrificed pedals in lieu of electronic, steering wheel-based controls.
Something happened. The throttle stuck. His attempts to brake resulted in acceleration. Soon enough, Frank has the throttle pegged at 125 MPH, with no way to stop. Needless to say, he missed his exit.
During his freeway cruise, he managed to have a phone conversation with both the police and Renault, pass safely through 3 toll booths, receive a police escort, and end up in Belgium.
After all this excitement at 125mph, his car ran out of gas, and he coasted to a stop…upside down in a ditch. Then he had 2 seizures.
How unlucky would you feel, knowing navigated the freeway for an hour straight at 125mph, but couldn’t avoid the ditch after running out of gas?
As a public service, we’ve decided to provide instructions in case you get caught in this sticky situation.
How to Stop During Unintended Acceleration
In the unlikely event of unintended acceleration, here’s what you should do to stop the car.
1. Immediately put the car into neutral. The car cannot accelerate while in neutral, so get it there ASAP. Neutral is also easily accessible no matter which type of transmission you have.
2. Apply brakes. If you apply brakes while the engine is still driving the wheels, you will burn them out. Assuming the brakes are working, bring the car to a stop gently, if possible.
3. Turn the car off. Easy enough to turn the key to off (but don’t remove the key from the ignition as that will cause the steering wheel to lock). While the engine is off, you can’t continue to accelerate. Remember that your power brakes won’t work with the engine off, so attempt braking before turning the car off.
4. Emergency brake – They don’t call ‘em that for nothing. Emergency brakes apply pressure to the rear wheels. This isn’t as effective for stopping, but it’s an effective way to scrub speed if your front brakes have bitten the dust. Do slowly unless you want to do pirouettes/flips down the roadway.
5. If all else fails, open all the doors, and pop the trunk. It may not produce a strong enough air dam to bring the vehicle to a stop, but you’ll really make the detectives scratch their heads while they’re trying to figure out the scene of the accident.
Any tips for unintended acceleration we may have missed? Let us know in the comments!