Preventing an accident from taking care of simple details

Preventing an accident from taking care of simple details

A California state trooper was killed along with his family in San Diego in a runaway car.

This tragedy has many drivers thinking how they would react in a similar situation. The key is to know how to respond before it happens. You can avoid an accident with simple care.

There are several ways to control a car if it won’t stop accelerating or return to lower speeds after you stop accelerating.  Also, there are important things to check on your vehicle to avoid tragic and desperate situations.

The trooper’s accident was caused when the car’s accelerator was held down by the misaligned floor mats. Toyota made the largest recall in its history because of this case.

Floor mats should be held in place by hooks or fasteners to the floor. But often the mats are not reattached properly after a car wash or when the owner removes them during cleaning. The mats can move enough so the front right corner can hold down a top-hinged accelerator pedal. Often the gas pedal gets stuck open while you’re passing another car or accelerating away from a stoplight — situations when the gas pedal is pushed further down than common.

We are all in risk to find ourselves in this complex moment. Practice these steps to see which works best in order to avoid the best you can these situations:

How to react.

  • Reach down as possible and pull back the floor mat to unblock the accelerator pedal. Pull over and stop the vehicle to inspect it before continuing.
  • Insert your foot behind the gas pedal and pull it up from behind.
  • Shift the transmission to Neutral (N) and then brake to a stop. Be prepared to hear the sound of the engine revving loud. It is caused of the engine disengaging from the transmission.
  • Firmly and steadily step on the brake pedal with both feet. Do NOT pump the brake pedal repeatedly, as this will increase the effort required to slow the vehicle.
  • 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 and you will not be able to turn.
  • If the vehicle is equipped with an engine start/stop button, manufacturers have different procedures to shut off the engine while it is in Drive. Check your owner’s manual to know the proper procedure, each car has a different method.

How to prevent.

  • Always make sure your floor mat is properly positioned and secured by hooks or fasteners.
  • Recheck the position of the floor mats after every car wash or service visit.
  • Never stack heavy rubber winter mats on top of carpet mats. Remove the carpeted mats from the car and attach the winter ones to the retaining hooks or clips.
  • Avoid using aftermarket floor mats that don’t connect to the retaining clips in your car unless they provide some other reliable retention method. Rubberized treads on the bottom are insufficient because they wear down over time and become ineffective.
  • Always use floor mats cut specifically for your make and model of car.
  • Test the throttle pedal clearance by hand, making sure the mat stays clear of the bottom edge of the pedal as it moves all the way to the floor.
  • If there is any doubt, take the floor mats out. A floor mat in the trunk cannot interfere with the throttle pedal.

These situations of stuck pedals on floor mats are very rare. Cars come with preventive mechanisms, throttle return springs and other features to prevent risky situations. Some cars even have shut-off mechanisms that sense if the gas pedal is stuck. We must always remember that small details can change our lives forever. It is important to be alert, preventive, and caring about our cars details. This will most definitely prevent you from finding yourself in a deadly situation.

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