It doesn't happen often, but when a gas pedal sticks or malfunctions, the situation is frightening and extremely dangerous. In an instant, the vehicle can be accelerating to full speed and be unresponsive to braking efforts.
Mechanical malfunctions, such as a faulty throttle, and external interferences, such as a floor mat that wedges under the pedal, can contribute to this type of unintended acceleration.
Plan your strategy for staying safe in this emergency situation. Here's what to do if it happens to you:
- Stay calm and try not to panic.
- Push the brake firmly with both feet and hold it down. Pumping the brake can interfere with the vehicle's power brake vacuum assist.
- Shift the car into neutral. If the car has a manual transmission, remember to depress the clutch to shift gears. If possible, guide the car to the nearest shoulder or safe place.
- Do not initially turn off the engine unless shifting into neutral is unsuccessful. Turning off the engine will also turn off power assist functions and make it harder to maneuver the car.
- If your vehicle has a start on/off button, hold the button down for at least three seconds to disable the vehicle; do not tap repeatedly.
- When you have come to a controlled stop out of the way of traffic, turn the engine off (if you have not already done so). If you use a key, keep it in the ignition when you turn off the engine so that the steering wheel doesn't lock.
- Call for assistance. Do not drive the vehicle until it has been professionally serviced.
Smart throttle solutions
Some new vehicles come with "smart throttle" technology, which reduces the possibility of unintended accelerations caused by mechanical failures.
These computer-based systems recognize when both the brake and accelerator are being depressed and tell the engine to give precedence to braking and ignore the accelerator.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.