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Old 09-30-2009, 07:24 PM   #11
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First off people who don't hypermile don't ever think of putting the car in neutral while moving because they are always stopped when they shift.

Second if you have an out of control motor you turn off the ignition but not all the way off so the steering doesn't lock, you can keep it in gear so the power steering and the brakes still work properly with the engine still turning.

Third and this is have seen several times, if you ever have someone driving a car that has never used cruize control and you turn it on for them while they are driving you will see them panic instantly . . . it is something that happens because they / we are so used to letting off the gas and feeling the car slow down right away that when it doesn't the brain goes crazy. How did you feel when you first starting coasting in neutral and you then pressed on the gas while still in neutral and found yourself lurching forward from lack of acceleration because you were still in neutral? It all takes getting used to.

But I have to admit that turning off the key would be a good solution to the above unless it was one of those vehicles that will not let the key turn off without being in park - I know that Saabs you can't remove the key unless in gear or park or some such thing that is counter intutive and it causes a problem when working on the car engine and trying to roll the car around.
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Old 09-30-2009, 08:04 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
Most automatics are so easy to put into neutral that you can do it by accident with a stray elbow movement. I did it to my mom's car once on the highway. What kind of difficulty could they have had getting it into neutral?
I'm not aware of any automatics that have interlocks from low all the way to park(if you are already driving). Mine only has a lock that doesn't let you pull the key unless it is in park (but you can kill it) and brakes to get it out of park.

I know it takes actual thought but even an automatic at speed will keep the engine turning down to a certain rpm when it lets go because of a loss in hydraulic pressure. The tracker I used to get up to 75 and could turn the ignition off and as long as I downshifted and kept engine speed above 850 I still had power everything so I could coast down to about 15. Newer transmissions with no physical linkage can't do that but old school can.

I can't believe that woman was doing 20 and freaked like that. Unacceptable. These are the reasons that I ALWAYS drive when me and my friends go out. Unless it's someone that spent their youth sliding around on dirt roads forget it.

The stuck accelerator happened to me in the Cressida once. I was racing someone on a two lane back road going to a long closed nature preserve and the throttle body return spring snapped. After about a second or two of wtf at 120 or so I went into neutral, saw and heard the engine bouncing off the rev limiter(I was running open manifolds at the time ) I cut the ignition and stopped. When I saw what it was I got a spare slingshot band from the back and made a return spring.

I miss the sound of that open exhaust inline six.
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Old 10-01-2009, 03:26 AM   #13
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there was a jack*** of the year award recently in regard to litigation...

a woman alone, driving an RV, put the vehicle on cruise control. she then proceeded to the rear to make a sandwich. the vehicle naturally left the road and crashed.

here's the kicker...she sued the RV manufacturer AND WON!!!(can't remember the details in terms of grounds, damages, and such)
That one is an urban myth
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Old 10-01-2009, 04:54 AM   #14
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I've never seen a vehicle with a properly working linkage that allowed the key to be turned to the lock position while in any gear other than Park. The only exception I can think of is old school manual transmissions. They required you to press a lever on the column to turn the key to lock & remove it. Mythbusters did a show a while back on emergency stops. They showed that if you put a car in Park (They used an old Crown Vic) at speed that the car continued like it was in Neutral. Same with Reverse. Still, there was no excuse for her to not try and shut the engine down or shift out of gear. She had removed herself from the genepool, it was unfortunate that others were injured/killed in that process.

As far as the 911 dispatcher is concerned... well there is no excuse for them. As someone who worked in emergency services for 10 years, and I was the primary driving instructor for my squad. We used to always say that when we showed up on a scene that it's "your" emergency, not ours. Its our job to keep a level head, and think the situation out. Even in the small rual county I worked in there were always at least 4 dispatchers on duty (2 fire & rescue, 2 Sherriff's dept.) + at least 1 supervisor. You'd think that they could just announce in the room, "I've got a caller with a stuck accelerator. Anyone have any ideas on how to get her stopped?" Surely between the people in the car, and the people in dispatch, that out of AT LEAST 10 people, nobody thought to shift into Neutral, or kill the ignition. No dispatcher had the idea of putting a police car or fire truck in front of her and telling her to hit it, then they can stop her???

Like I said, I had a very similar situation in a 6 ton truck, and I was able to resolve it on my own in under a minute. In my instance the throttle cable had splintered right where it goes through a rubber grommet through the firewall. The splinters dug into the rubber, and the throttle body spring was not strong enough to force it back through.
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Old 10-01-2009, 05:39 AM   #15
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Marvin had a throttle cable snag up on me once, as soon as I realised, I was heeling the mat back, toeing under the pedal to check it was clear, while checking my mirrors to pull out of traffic and shifting into neutral, putting my right signal on while braking, safely pulling onto the shoulder (With the 50ft or so between utility poles I wonder how I made it ) , stopped, turned off, looked under the hood, discovered I'd routed a vacuum line funky and it had got snarled, moved it, checked the throttle cable was free again, closed the hood, got back in, and was on my way again. Seemed like it took less than 30 seconds start to finish, certainly less than a minute. Probably less than half the time it would take to even explain the situation to some dumba$$ dispatcher. Didn't even get my pulse raised much, it was more like a "gah, what now?" frustration.

Most cars I can think of have the fuse panel by your left shin, in there is a fuse for the fuel pump or ignition, or the auto shutdown relay or some such thing. As I thought about this when the story came up the other day, I decided I'm going to put a loop of tape on the fuel pump and ignition fuses so they are easy to yank, if for some reason, the throttle sticks, the key sticks, the shifter sticks and the brakes sticks all at the same time...I'd actually see that as being more likely to be of use if you have a hit and want to make sure you kill fuel and spark before you catch fire... but you can just blindly and manically pull out fuses and you'll get one that kills it soon enough, certainly in less than 9 minutes.

Aside from that, yup, use barriers, fences, whatever to stop. For ditches, you have to be careful not to go into them too much nose in.... and the nose will go in on you as you get partway down... so the trick would be to get about a third of the way over the lip, then try to steer out... which won't work but it will drop the back end around which will either hit first or keep you straight. You don't want to really try to haul it out, because then the back end will hit sharp enough to spin or flip you, and it will be as bad as going in nose first.


My Dad always told me to pick my escape route, "Son," he says, "If you can't hit something soft, hit something cheap."


On a related note, something that really, really, annoyed me came up last winter, the police announced that they were going to prosecute anyone who went off the road for careless driving. This is highly counterproductive to intelligent driving, giving the message "Stay on the road at all costs". Just about once every winter I've gone into a snow bank softly, never got stuck for more than a few minutes. The reason is usually that I'm avoiding some homicidal out of control moron in a 4x4 or AWD vehicle that thinks that it makes them immune to the laws of physics. So rather than give them the lesson they so richly deserve, I choose to avoid them. This would be a one wheel on the shoulder situation in dry weather, but of course, once you've hooked into the snow bank, or piled "edge slush" at even 20mph, you've got to ride it out, ease it out, or panic and screw it up. So if you hear I'm on a charge for assaulting a police officer, it's probably because I avoided an idiot and had a cop turn up and try to ticket or arrest me for it when I was getting myself back on the road. Steered into a snowbank the other year at 5mph or less because the road was completely glazed 100ft up to an intersection, it was slightly downhill and I'd already used 80 of the 100ft trying to gently brake from 5mph to zero, and was still moving/sliding. It was one of those surfaces that you steer by only moving the wheel about 5* and flick it back again quick. So not wanting to slide into a busy intersection, I chose the bank. Even then, the back end still wanted to move, ended up 45* across the road, nose in the bank, but still in my carriageway and stopped before the stop line. So if they make that announcement this year again, I guess I'll just slide through intersections and sue whoever was responsible for sanding them.
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Old 10-01-2009, 06:55 AM   #16
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RW: I did the same when I was about 19 driving my Bonneville wagon. It was a bad storm, heavy rain was freezing on the road surface, about 1/4" thick. I was driving a narrow, untreated country road home. I had done quite well for the first mile since I had left the main road, but I noticed that the car had started to slide right before a very steep hill with a nice ravine and creek at the bottom. I knew if I was sliding at the top of the hill I had no chance. I aimed the car at a driveway, and slid into someone's front yard. No damage to my vehicle or their yard. The man was very nice, and allowed me to park my car in his driveway overnight, and I walked home from there. At the bottom of the hill I found a Sheriff's patrol car sideways blocking both lanes. I helped him walk flares to the top of the hill on both sides, then helped him jack up his car and put his chains on.
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:24 AM   #17
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The proper course of action seems obvious. This "motorist" flew straight past logic and into hysterics. One would hope she lost her license for life but I get the feeling she didn't.
Thanks for posting those stories, they were the ones I was thinking of too.

Funny how a woman flying past logic straight to hysterics involved getting on the phone?!!?

I fear for the the IQ of the general public, it keeps dropping every day, that and the sense of responsibility seems to be shifting as well, in a a bad direction.

Once again, I'll reference the fact that the movie "Idiocracy" was a documentary from the future, not just a movie for our enjoyment.
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controversy is an idea thought up by weak people who are too afraid to hear the truth.
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:25 AM   #18
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Oh, a point about the recent Lexus/floormat incident I don't see mentioned, it was a keyless ignition, it was a loaner vehicle, and the engine button on the dash needed holding for 3 seconds to cut the engine...... still despite driver unfamiliarity with the button, shoulda been able to shift to neutral, but in my view a system where you can't shut the engine off instantly when you want to has to be something of a contributing factor. Such a "feature" also smells of software... in which case I'd never trust it 100% in my car and I'd demand a hard kill switch.


BTW, Wile-E decided to weld his ignition switch together or something earlier this year and I had to kill him by pulling the fuse.
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Old 10-01-2009, 10:35 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanGeo View Post
First off people who don't hypermile don't ever think of putting the car in neutral while moving because they are always stopped when they shift.
I know it's just because I'm weird, but I tested neutral on every vehicle I drove, long before I had any interest in saving gas. I had to know how things work, and in my younger days I felt like a rebel for coasting.

Quote:
But I have to admit that turning off the key would be a good solution to the above unless it was one of those vehicles that will not let the key turn off without being in park - I know that Saabs you can't remove the key unless in gear or park or some such thing that is counter intutive and it causes a problem when working on the car engine and trying to roll the car around.
Does that car completely not allow you to kill the engine, or just not allow you to turn all the way to Lock and remove the key?

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Originally Posted by Jay2TheRescue View Post
She had removed herself from the genepool, it was unfortunate that others were injured/killed in that process.
Are we talking about the same incident? I'm not aware of any story in this thread where the driver who didn't figure out neutral/shutdown was the one to die.

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You'd think that they could just announce in the room, "I've got a caller with a stuck accelerator. Anyone have any ideas on how to get her stopped?"
I thought of that but I didn't know if that was feasible...I haven't worked in emergency services.

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My Dad always told me to pick my escape route, "Son," he says, "If you can't hit something soft, hit something cheap."
I figured that one out on my own and it's second-nature for me.

One of the first things my dad ever told me about driving was that if your brakes failed, throttle stuck, etc, that you should turn the key to off. I asked "Won't that break the car?" He told me what was more important in that situation. I never forgot.
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Old 10-01-2009, 02:24 PM   #20
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Are we talking about the same incident? I'm not aware of any story in this thread where the driver who didn't figure out neutral/shutdown was the one to die.
You're right. By the time we got this far I was thinking of a similar incident where the driver did die.
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I thought of that but I didn't know if that was feasible...I haven't worked in emergency services.
Think of it like a telemarketing call center. Most often all the dispatchers will be in the same room, at different workstations. Maybe they might be in cubicles, but you'd still have the option of standing up and asking for ideas.
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