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Re: [vox] No electronic flaws in Toyotas?
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Re: [vox] No electronic flaws in Toyotas?

On 02/09/2011 10:11 AM, Shwaine wrote:
> The one case that gives me pause on calling this purely and completely 
> driver error was the case in Southern California where the driver was a 
> trained officer (I forget if he was CHP or local law enforcement). Now, 
> there was extenuating circumstances there in that the officer did not know 
> that particular car since it was a loaner, so he may not have known that 
> the keyless ignition button needed to be held for 3 seconds to cut the 
> engine. But I think we can be pretty sure he was not stepping on the wrong 
> pedal (particularly since witnesses saw the brakes flame out) and he would 
> have known how to unstick the gas pedal from a floor mat (the attributed 
> cause of the accident) given his law enforcement training.

URL?  I saw some passing references to it, but nothing substantial.
While CHP or law enforcement do receive some training they are hardly
driving experts.  In face when I was taking the motorcycle safety course
they taught us the concept of counter-steering.  There was a simple test
where you had to approach at 15 mph and then to simulate an emergency
you can to turn hard right, left hard left, or emergency stop as
signalled by the instructor.

Out of the 8 of us in the class we all passed on the first test.  I
watched a 10 year recertification that the motorcycle police officers
were required, half of them failed.  You'd think that after 10 years of
active duty that in a surprise situation you'd have the right instinct.
 Unfortunately counter steering is one of those things that is
counter-intuitive and that when you get a big surprise and you think it
through that your common sense/carefully thought out response will be
completely wrong.  So next class I asked about it, the instructor said
that was about average and that the old school police officer types
weren't particularly receptive and considered themselves experts that
didn't need to listen.  Said instructor was pretty good at dodging
though.  I have to say it was pretty amusing watching folks desperately
trying to turn with no effect.

Did said officer try shifting into neutral?  Use the emergency AND
normal brakes?  Downshift?

> At the very least, the Toyotas should have come with brake override 
> technology (which I hear is now going to be standard in these "drive by 
> wire" cars) to kill the throttle when the brakes are engaged. That is 
> something you can do when you switch to a drive by wire system which you 
> can't do with a mechanical system. Too late for the cars already on the 
> road, but at least this incident is getting that safety feature put into 
> future models.

I've yet to see anything substantial that shows that the vast majority
of problems are just the end user.  Much like happened with Audi.

Certainly if it happens to you:
* Stop ASAP, do *NOT* ride the brakes which (depending on the car) might
  eventually overheat.  Maybe this is what the officer did.
* Shift into neutral or a lower gear, exceedingly high RPMs might sound
  terrible, but a blown engine is much cheaper than the alternatives.
* If BOTH of the above fails turn off the car with the key or button,
  which might require holding the button down.  Be warned the steering
  and brakes can get substantially harder to use after being turned off.
  Also note that turning the key too far can lock the steering wheel.
* as a last resort the emergency brake can help, they aren't typically
  designed to be used at speed though.

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