September 30th, 2009


On driving

Before the crash, one of the passengers called 911 to report that the accelerator was stuck and the car had reached 120 miles per hour (193km per hour).

(From the Beeb, reporting on a multiple fatality that has led to millions of recalls of Toyota cars.)

OK, it's a scary setup: the floor mat is under the accelerator pedal, and has jammed it down (presumably by being pulled through the slot the accelerator arm goes through). But what I don't understand is this: why didn't they stop the car?

Why didn't they put it into neutral and use the brake?

(Contrariwise, I've stopped a car from 70 mph with an apparently inoperable footbrake, using just engine braking, so the 'the brakes have been cut' is not that scary either.)

ETA: I'm not trying to make the victim of this out to be stupid. It's just that I can see potential ways out, and want to know if they were tried and found ineffective, or whether panic blinded the driver.