drove the Toyota Prius last year, our experience was great.
It was a comfortable ride with plenty of room and received industry
leading gas mileage at 50+ mpg. In addition, customer
satisfaction with the top-selling
vehicle is the highest among all hybrids in many
studies.Unfortunately, some of the Prius hybrids -- at least
older models – appear to have a couple of issues including braking
glitches and an ugly acceleration problem. Those
problems are the latest in a long string of safety issues that have
stricken Toyota's lineup. That problem on Monday
led to an alarming
close-call on the southern part of California's interstate
highway, Interstate 8. Driving just outside San Diego, Jim
Sikes, tried to pass a slow-moving vehicle in his 2008 Toyota Prius.
To his shock, when he let off the gas the vehicle didn't slow down --
it instead sped up.The car then proceeded to take him on a
wild ride down the sunny highways of the Golden State. He
recalls, "I pushed the gas pedal to pass a car, and it just did
something kind of funny ... and it just stuck there. As I was
going, I was trying the brakes ... and it just kept speeding up."He
called 911 and the operator tried to give him directions to stop the
vehicle. He even tried to pull the accelerator physically
upwards, but it "stayed right where it was" (it is unclear
whether Mr. Sikes or the operator tried the logical approach of
shifting the car into Neutral, which should disengage the
engine).Unable to figure out a way to stop or slow down the
car, the Californian Highway Patrol was enlisted to help the speeding
motorist. They caught up to him as his Prius hurdled down
twisting mountain roads at 90 mph. They communicated with Sikes
to attempt to brake and apply the emergency brake and the same time.
That combination apparently worked, bringing the perilous ride to its
conclusion.As the car slowed to 50 mph, Sikes was able to
shut off the engine and the car rolled to a stop. The highway
patrol cop, Todd Neibert, then maneuvered his cruiser in front
of the rebellious Prius, just in case it decided to go for another
joy ride (though that seems pretty unlikely given that it would have
to somehow restart the engine).Toyota has blamed the Prius's
problems on defective floor mats. However, Sikes' mat seemed
perfectly fine and stayed in place. He comments, "My mat
was perfect. There was nothing wrong with my mat."Sikes
had taken his Prius in for service at a Toyota dealership two weeks
prior to the incident. This follows the theory held by some
that the acceleration is the result of misservice to the vehicle's
electrical systems during repairs.California Highway Patrol
spokesman Brian Pennings says he's just glad everyone survived the
ordeal. He comments, "We are extremely thankful that there
was a safe end to this."A Toyota spokesperson says an
investigation of the incident is pending. They commented,
"Toyota has dispatched a field technical specialist to San Diego
to investigate the report and offer assistance."Toyota
is under fire from Congress for reportedly covering up some of the
early data indicating certain models had safety issues, including
quote: He feared turning the car off in the middle of traffic, expecting the steering wheel to lock. If he shifted into neutral, he worried that it would slip into reverse.
quote: And they are not meant to stop a car that is out of control.
quote: Also, the car going into park at highway speeds would do nothing more than if it were in neutral. The parking pin can not engage the wheel inside the transmission if there is any speed to the wheel. All you will get is a grinding noise.
quote: Each circumstance may vary, and drivers must use their best judgment, but Toyota recommends taking the following actions:• If you need to stop immediately, the vehicle can be controlled by stepping on the brake pedal with both feet using firm and steady pressure. Do not pump the brake pedal as it will deplete the vacuum utilized for the power brake assist.• Shift the transmission gear selector to the Neutral (N) position and use the brakes to make a controlled stop at the side of the road and turn off the engine.• If unable to put the vehicle in Neutral , turn the engine OFF. This will not cause loss of steering or braking control, but the power assist to these systems will be lost.• If the vehicle is equipped with an Engine Start/Stop button, firmly and steadily push the button for at least three seconds to turn off the engine. Do NOT tap the Engine Start/Stop button. • If the vehicle is equipped with a conventional key-ignition, 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.
quote: If you are able to dodge cars all the while getting out your cell phone, calling 911, and talking back to the dispatcher, then you have sufficient dexterity to take one hand off the wheel and put the car in neutral.
quote: Unfortunately, some of the Prius hybrids -- at least older models – appear to have a couple of issues including braking glitches and an ugly acceleration problem.
quote: Imagine if your wife or daughter was driving it, do you think they'd have time to do anything other than attempt to panic-stop?
quote: It was a rental
quote: but that's only because i know how a car works.
quote: Brakes are a hydraulic system that is not directly controlled by the ecu of the car
quote: There is no reason that the brakes would not work with a stuck accelerator,
quote: and even if by small chance in a unrelated failure to the accelerator the brakes did fail, shifting into neutral or putting it into park in autos and pushing in the clutch on manuals will easily solve the problems.
quote: It is Toyota's fault, but the fact that someone died from this (and a cop too) just shows how poorly people are taught how to drive.
quote: What I can't fathom is why it is so difficult for people to shift into neutral and shut off the engine. Really it is not that hard to do.
quote: #2 Jim Sikes: He new he was going to get pulled over for speeding and just went with it knowing about the accelerator probs that Toyota has been having. He said he accelerated to pass a truck. Yeah, that is exactly what I said when I got my last ticket. And it was true. Unfortunately I was pulled over prior to this Toyota fiasco and didn't have that as an excuse. This guy has watched Tommy Boy one too many times.
quote: They caught up to him as his Prius hurdled down twisting mountain roads at 90 mph.
quote: He does kinda look like a douche.
quote: Taken from Tuesday's USA Today 1 more alleged runaway issue http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2010-03-10-toy...
quote: It is in the news everyday.
quote: So you're saying this was a major failure of the brake system AND a stuck throttle problem? Both at the same time? What are the odds ??