A traffic expert gives tips that just might save your life.
A California Highway Patrol officer helped slow a runaway Toyota Prius from 94 mph to a safe stop on Monday after the car's accelerator became stuck on a San Diego County freeway, the CHP said. Toyota recently recalled about 437,000 Prius and other hybrid vehicles worldwide to fix brake problems -- but not accelerator problems.
Toyota Motor Corp. said today that the Prius involved in this highly publicized acceleration incident, along with hundreds of thousands of other car models, will be recalled to prevent floor mats from pinning down the gas pedal. But the recall has not been officially issued yet.
Last year, a family of four was killed when their car's accelerator stuck and they crashed going 100 mph.
What should you do if your accelerator ever gets stuck? We called our friend Mr. Traffic, a.k.a. Kenny Morse, for guidance.
"Knowing what to do in the unlikely case of a gas pedal sticking might save your life," he says. "First of all, this happens rarely. But if you keep your wits about you and do not panic, it can make all the difference."
Here are his top tips:
• First, try to hit the pedal to make sure nothing is forcing it down.
• Next, PUT THE CAR IN NEUTRAL IMMEDIATELY and gently start to brake, being aware of the traffic around you. Pull the car to the side of the street or road as soon as possible.
• The last resort is turning off the ignition or power, but you have to make sure that you do not lock the steering wheel. You will lose your power in the brakes and steering. DO NOT try to drive the vehicle, as it will rev the engine to a dangerous level.
"Knowing what to do in a potential emergency is what makes a driver a driver," Morse says. "Anyone can step on the gas and go straight, but do you know how to avoid a collision or something like this?"
For more on how to deal with emergency situations, check out www.mrtraffic.com.