I like to think of myself as ready for anything. Lately I've been preparing for what I should do if I find myself behind the wheel of an out-of-control car.
First, an ounce of prevention. I see two possible causes for the acceleration issue: a computer virus or a computer bug.
Someone (THE GOVERNMENT) has designed a computer virus that downloads itself to the acceleration / deceleration chip through signals relayed from the GPS mapping system.
Why the Government? Stimulate the American car economy. I'm sure you saw SNL this past weekend.
Solution? Don't turn on the GPS.
I refer you to the article below.
Cosmic rays offered as acceleration cause
Electronics makers have known for decades about "single event upsets," computer errors from radiation created when cosmic rays strike the atmosphere.
With more than 3,000 complaints to U.S. regulators of random sudden acceleration problems in Toyota models, several researchers say single event upsets deserve a close look.
The phenomenon can trigger software crashes that come and go without a trace. Unlike interference from radio waves, there's no way to physically block particles; such errors typically have to be prevented by a combination of software and hardware design.
And an anonymous tipster told NHTSA last month that "the automotive industry has yet to truly anticipate SEUs."
Yes. Cosmic rays. Solution? Only take your car out on overcast days, the clouds will block the particles.
Now, if I find myself unable to prevent a sudden acceleration, I have a Three-Part Plan.
A. If possible, find an unused airport runway and drive in circles.
B. Find a muddy field, drive into mud until wheels spin and car is axle-deep in mud. Then just step casually out of car, which will eventually run out of gas.
It occurs to me this would have been easy enough to implement in Speed, come to think of it.
C. The nice thing about choice B is that the car is not damaged. Choice C is to roll down the windows and drive the car into a lake. Of course, the insurance company might balk at paying to replace a car I drove into a lake. I would plea self-defense and see how far it got me.
NOW, if the car in question is a Prius, I have another option: Throw the car into B.
Now, I could shift into N for neutral. But it seems to me B is there just for this situation. Any day now Toyota will say, "Why hasn't anyone been using the B gear? This never happens in the B gear!"
(Evidently it's the extra-regenerative braking gear for long hills.)
Ha. Lucky me, I own a 2007 Camry. I have been practicing knocking the gear shift into neutral. It's actually very easy because this is one of the things that happens if I even wave my hand over the gear shift.
I've been seeing a lot of Minis lately, going about 85 - 90 mph on the highway to work. Vroom!
Posted by: Becs | March 17, 2010 at 04:38 AM
Years ago, when my Very First Car was nearing the end of its life, it developed weird carborator problems which included moments of uncontrolled engine racing and acceleration. It was an automatic, so I learned to drive with one foot on the brake and to shift into neutral until it settled down. Then the brace in the driver's seat broke and I needed a milk crate to keep the seat up. Then someone tried to break into the car, busting the door opening mechanism on both sides, so I had to get in through the hatchback.
Posted by: Sherri | March 17, 2010 at 02:30 PM
Silly Ellen - in Speed, the whole point was that the bomb would go off if the bus went less than 50 miles per hour. Running out of gas and stopping is included in the set of "less than 50 miles per hour". That totally wouldn't work.
Posted by: Tami | March 17, 2010 at 03:19 PM
Just saw a thing that made me think of you
Posted by: Sherri | March 17, 2010 at 06:25 PM
Good thing we have Midway across the river. Of course, the drive there might be enough to run you out of gas.
Posted by: Caroline | March 17, 2010 at 07:42 PM
My recurring dream is of being behind the wheel of a car that won't stop, no matter how hard I stand on the brake. No drama though because I'm only ever going at about 5mph, and never crash.
It's mildly discomforting. Pretty much a disgrace in the nightmare world.
Posted by: TravelSkite | March 17, 2010 at 09:54 PM
Becs - Yes! I keep thinking that. 90mph isn't that bad on the highway. I'vve gone 90, hell, Ive had it pinned at 110 for 20 minutes in my old escort, which only went up to 110. 90. Babies.
Sherri - My first car only played the radio when I was in reverse. Yours sounds worse.
Tami - Well, we could refuel in the mud pit.
Sherri - Wilma has made those! Chow Mein noodles and peanut butter.
Caroline - I would use the one off Page, wouldnt you?
Big Dot - Like my nightmare of being at work in my slip.Not naked. In my slip and underwear.
Posted by: TheQueen | March 17, 2010 at 11:17 PM
Not big enough. It's for teeny tiny planes and only has one small runway. You could always just drive circles on 270/255. People go that fast and wouldn't think twice of you cutting between lanes.
Posted by: Caroline | March 18, 2010 at 08:01 PM
But does Wilma do the eyes? There's a separate recipe for the eyes, which I think pretty much make those cookies wonderful.
I'm still working out why Flying Spaghetti Monster cookies make me think of you. I don't think I've ever heard you mention His Noodly Appendage, have I?
Posted by: Sherri | March 18, 2010 at 10:12 PM
Caroline - I'll stick with the muddy field; perhaps I could circle the Mills mall.
Sherri - Well, Spunky calls me The Appendage. And no, Wilma doesn't do the eyes. Food can't look like an animal. She cuts up the turkey so no one can tell it was once a bird.
Posted by: TheQueen | March 18, 2010 at 10:39 PM
Must be all Spunky's fault. She has far too much psychic control over me.
I can sorta understand Wilma's point of view. In general, I do not like my food to have eyes. However, in the case of cookies, I'll make an exception. I want a cookie to see the horror, since I will see the horror next time I am so unlucky as to pass naked in front of the bathroom mirror.
Posted by: Sherri | March 19, 2010 at 11:07 PM
Sherri - I love my food to have eyes. Lobsters in particular.
Posted by: TheQueen | March 20, 2010 at 11:35 PM