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10 March 2010 @ 07:52 am
In Case You Ever Need It  
In reading a news report on the latest stuck accelerator problem the article mentioned that the driver had been told (by 911 and by the CHP) to shift the car into neutral and didn't because he was afraid it would flip the car.

Folks, if you ever end up in a situation where you can't stop your car for any reason shifting into neutral is probably one of your best options. This works for both manual and automatic transmissions. (Note: For automatic transmissions, make sure to shift into neutral, not park. You most likely wouldn't be able to shift into park while the vehicle is moving anyway.) Putting the car into neutral means the engine can't send power to the wheels any more, sort of like pulling a power plug out of the wall. Once the engine stops making the wheels go friction will naturally bring the car to a halt before too long. (Unless one's going downhill, which is a whole 'nother issue. But even then, not adding more power to the situation is still a step in the right direction.)

Oh yeah. And shifting the car into neutral isn't going to flip the car. So you're safe there.
deirdremoon on March 10th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)

I was just posting with my friend Ratontheroad, who is a pilot and was talking about emergency flying procedures. I said mine for my Prius was Gearshift - Neutral, Normal brakes - floored, Hazards - On, Power button - held down, E-brake - deployed.

Although I'm hesitant to deploy the E-brake, because it's one of those binary foot pedals instead of the handle you can keep the button pressed on. Have you run into this before? I'd be worried about the E-brake doing something weird.
(Anonymous) on March 10th, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
Pedal based parking breaks still have a transition zone, and won't go from nothing to everything suddenly. I would slowly press down on the pedal until I felt some braking force come in to play and then stop pressing. The ratcheting system would keep the pedal employed at that level. Adjust as needed. Of course, in an emergency situation, the required amount of level-headedness might not be available. The hand brake is definitely more convenient in that case.

My recollection is that the parking brakes tend to engage the rear wheels only, so even if you jump on it, you'll only lock up the rear wheels. This would make things a little squirrelly, but wouldn't send the car out of control as the front wheels would still be turning and thus you'd still have your steering.
deirdremoon on March 10th, 2010 09:24 pm (UTC)
Actually, that's useful-- engage the foot-e-brake a little at a time. I DO hope you're right about it engaging the rear wheels, which would a) make more sense and b) not stand the car on end. :P I should look that up and see if the manual says either way.
Erraticaroseembolism on March 10th, 2010 08:54 pm (UTC)
that does seem like a bizarre reaction- maybe they were thinking it was going to put the can in reverse? In any case, people do strange things when panicking.

Now I've also heard reports that in some of those cases the car wouldn't allow a shift to neutral, which I find highly improbable. Then again, I'm still wrapping my mind around the idea of a keyless ignition.
Sandpanthersandpanther on March 11th, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC)
Not shifting to neutral is odd... I've never had a problem with it on the (admittedly few) automatics I've driven. I do know it wouldn't be possible to shift into park -- perhaps the person confused the two?
Cirdancirdan_havens on March 11th, 2010 03:03 pm (UTC)
Not putting it into park? Or is it because manual cars don't have a park option?
Sandpanthersandpanther on March 11th, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC)
Well, true, manual cars don't have a park option. But mainly I say use neutral because putting the car in park while the wheels are moving tends to destroy the transmission, and I believe automatics come with a lock-out that prevents putting the car in park while it's still in motion.
Cirdancirdan_havens on March 11th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
So neutral and then emergency brake? Serious questions for the next long drive moving older sis. The weather seems to be increasingly worse.