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Five dead, head-on Prius and Blazer

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by bwilson4web, Oct 10, 2010.

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  1. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i am at a loss as to what comment's would be appropriate here. sad, just sad.
  3. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    at least the parents of the blazer (guessing here) were smart enough to buckle their children in despite being stupid enough to not buckle themselves in. sucks for the children. hard to say what might have happened, but have to say wearing a seat belt greatly increases your chances of survival.
  4. teeasal

    teeasal New Member

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    Lane Keep Assist and/or Radar Collision Prevention/Reduction might help in this case? Obviously the Prius driver must have dozed off. I think the Radar should also be able to turn the steering wheel (and full blast the car horn to wake everybody up) to avoid collision if it detects head on like this one.
  5. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    teenagers in the Prius, check the drivers text message log
  6. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Agreed! Unlikely the driver would have dozed off at 3pm.
  7. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    I have been wracking my brain to come up with a credible hypothesis that does not include a severe driver problem. The only thoughts that come to mind:

    • tie-rod end break - at that point, any car loses steering and will go "in the weeds." It would be blindingly fast and the steering wheel would have no effect.
    • electronic steering commands "full left" - improbably but it assumes the driver was not prepared to react in time to overcome the steering motor.
    • driver issues - texting or other bad behavior
    It is something I'll be following:
    WHMI 93.5 FM Radio Station for Livingston County Michigan with News, Traffic, and Weather Service for Howell and Brighton


    We used to say that FAA regulations are written in blood and that is also true with traffic regulations.

    Bob Wilson
  8. a_gray_prius

    a_gray_prius Rare Non-Old-Blowhard Priuschat Member

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    Are we going to post every accident that involves a Prius and is on the news here?

    I'm not placing blame, but for some reason I hear the Prius drivers ages (and the fact that it's a guy and two chicks) and I immediately think cavalier,careless teenage drivers.
  9. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    Not everyone. There have been some Prius accidents where there are no lesson's learned. For example, driver suffers a medical, incapacitation, there is no need to go there. I'm probably posting about a third or less of the Prius accidents I come across. But I'm looking at these accidents with the same attitude I had when flying and reading of small plane crashes.

    There are lessons to be learned and questions to ask. For example, how strong is the electronic power steering motor when it commands "full turn?" I don't know but now I'm thinking about how to 'run the test.'

    The older pilots learned to be mentally prepared, to think about what can go wrong and if possible, safely practice. We did this because the shock of 'something new' can lead to a deadly paralysis. We want to change potentially fatal accidents to survivable or survivable accidents into non-events.

    Sure, I came to this when the blind began pushing for laws to add "noise makers." The facts and data don't support their claim. In contrast, actual Prius accidents do support the potential of accident avoidance, lane keeping, and automatic cruise control. It is enough that the extra $2,000 is justified although not when it requires wasting $8,000 for leather seats, 17" wheels, and other car 'bling.' In quantity, these safety systems should be closer to $500-750 even after a healthy markup.

    Bob Wilson
  10. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    With all due respect is that even a fair evaluation of Lane Keep Assists' intended use or it's capabilities?

    "How strong is electronic power steering motor when it commands "full turn?"

    Correct me if I'm wrong, and I'm sure someone will, but my understanding of Lane Keep Assist is that it is what the name implys...an assist...so by definition it is never going to Command Full Turn....that is simply not what it ever does....

    Unless Toyota snuck a feature in, there is no feature that "Commands a Full Turn" or takes over steering in any situation. LKA is not designed to avoid head on collisions...it's designed to keep you driving straight and in your lane by providing gentle and controlled steering input...

    That's a problem with the star safety system coupled with the Tech Package...I think a lot of consumers don't understand fully what the system is capable of doing or designed to do.

    Regardless of the strength of the power steering motor, it's not designed or intended to ever steer for the driver or take over steering.

    My understanding is with the addition of the tech package, and the Radar Cruise Control, you can get a warning beep and in emergency braking situations extra force can be instantaneously applied. Seat belts tensioned..etc...

    But expectations of The Prius being able to stop itself or command full turns of itself or even of the driver is simply not a reflection of any system currently available.
  11. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    I think Bob's question about the strength of the electric power steering relates to an uncommanded hard-over situation. In that case would a driver be strong enough to overpower the electric assist?

    Tom
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  12. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    http://www.livingstondaily.com/arti...medical-condition-in-driver-in-fatal-accident


    Thank you Toyota!

    I'm not expecting any 'recorded' data unless the 12 V battery was kept connected. But given how the cabin was compromised, it is very unlikely the OBD bus exists to any practical extent. Not even freeze frame data. Still, their mechanical expertise is welcome.

    Bob Wilson
  13. V8Cobrakid

    V8Cobrakid Green Handyman

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    The Electric Me...

    next time read the post. as stated above my post, he wasn't referring to any safety systems... it's an idea that one of few things could have happened.. .such as a freak command to pull a hard left, and can a human overcome such a freakout?...

    plus.. this prius was a 2002.......

    btw.. a prius with radar cruise control can stop itself... a matter of fact, you can hold the gas and it will still slow down to a "safe pedestrian hitting speed" of a few miles per hour.... there is video on youtube from a priuschat member. (aluminum foil doesn't work.. cardboard kinda does.. if a car cuts you off, it applies brakes)

    a prius is not programmed to stear for you though.... unless in reverse (smart safety feature)
  14. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Stand down everyone...my point is The Prius DOES NOT..stop itself...it cannot of it's own volition come to a complete stop. LOL! Plus if you can define what a "Safe Pedestrian hitting Speed" is? Good Luck with that....

    I know The Prius can slow itself but it doesn't stop itself.

    And I did read the post...

    "It's an idea that one of few things could have happened.. .such as a freak command to pull a hard left".

    Since there is no system within The Prius designed to ever offer "hard commands to pull steering" it would be CBS News Program freak indeed- if this ever happened.

    IMO a accident such as this one, is far more likely to have it's genesis from from common human factors such as distraction, or other human failures than there is any evidence that it was a rogue input from a Lane Keep Assist feature. However, if anyone feels the need to investigate this potential...have at it...get back to me with a graph revealing the level of steering input LKA is capable of...more information never hurts...

    Could the future, or Should the future advance towards development of features that would be more directly designed to avoid or mitigate these types of accidents or the damage from these accidents? Certainly. Plus I agree that LKA, Dynamic Force Braking and Radar Cruise Control all offer benefits that with an alert driver could aide in more awareness-time to react, tangible braking force and thus potentially better outcomes.

    It's not so much Bob's post itself but numerous other threads and posts where I have noticed some owners who seem to have misunderstandings about the capabilities of some of these systems. So I just think what language we choose to use to describe how they operate is important. Expectation that The Prius would ever stop itself or that it is capable of commanding hard steering are not valid.
  15. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Certainly. I've observed Bob enough within this forum to know that I believe he is intelligent and aware enough to know that The Prius doesn't steer itself.

    It's simply an arguement of chosen semantics.

    "how strong is the electronic power steering motor when it commands "full turn?""

    My arguement is The Prius never "Commands Full Turn". It inputs gentle steering adjustments designed to keep you driving straight. It is by design operationally made to be overcome. It would take a CBS news program manipulation of the system or a fanciful failure of the system to even imagine an outcome where the driver couldn't turn the wheel fast enough or hard enough in any direction because of Lane Keep Assist.

    And I'm sure Bob knows this.

    I invite his investigation of the power of the electronic steering motor...if he believes that somehow the system could fail to the point where it's strength or lack of strength would even be a valid measurement to make.

    My pure on the street untouched unscientific evaluation would be that if offering a vehicle that has an assistable steering input...such as The Prius with LKA it's been carefully designed..

    I also feel from very limited information...reading about this specific accident..that it very unlikely it had anything to do either in happening or potentially being avoided with The Prius and the systems available in that Prius.

    But I'm not opposed to investigation...in any accident investigation is warranted and should be executed.
  16. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    This comment misses the point. Obviously the Prius was not designed to issue a command to pull hard left. The question was what would happen if the ECU went bonkers or the power steering system shorted and pulled hard left. Would a human be strong enough to overcome this errant force?

    Tom
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  17. UsedToLoveCars

    UsedToLoveCars Member

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    A long time ago I had an 87 Saab 900... I was driving down the highway, around a bend, when one of the CV joints decided to seize up. It was like the steering wheel was locked.

    I used all my strength to fight it and finally something went SNAP inside the CV joint and I got control back.

    I could have very easily ended up in the median
  18. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    The analog equivalent to 'run away' accelerator would be a full-left or full-right steering input. Ordinarily, these systems are very reliable and the NHW11 has only had reports of steering wheel jitters. However, read the following story and then ask the right question:
    Dirt cheap modification gives control over electric power steering weight

    I've been collaborating on a power steering problem and noticed the NHW11 uses some of the highest amp fuses in the electrical system, 50A. Even with a load of 25 A @ 13 V, this would be 325 W, nearly half an HP. Under driver control, power steering is good. But if the torque sensor inputs should somehow command a full-left turn and the driver was not attentive, bad things could happen really fast.

    Bob Wilson
  19. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    But that IS like the CBS new manipulation of the accelerator system and then crying Look! The Prius CAN accelerate out of control!

    There is no evidence the ECU went "bonkers" or shorted out...the steering like braking system I'm sure even without investigation is carefully designed to be safe and useable.

    Like I said, I don't care so much about investigating or accertaining the strength of the power steering motor...with or without any fundamental direct need to know it...go ahead. Even though I "PERSONALLY" find the quest for this information to be somewhat unneeded unless you uncover a trend of apparent accidents where people are claiming the steering went bonkers or shorted out...or was made more unmanageable as a result of Lane Keep Assist...or any safety system...but that is simply not the case here. But Bob is free to wonder, investigate and reveal...infact I appreciate the fact that he does....cause quite frankly I ain't got the time...

    What I think we have to be careful about is what terms we choose to use when describing the apparent abilities and capabilities of the systems available. That's all I'm really saying...Let's make sure people understand The Prius can't stop itself...and it isn't designed to give itself or the driver hard commands for turning....

    It's purely language...Bobs original choice of phraseology was "when it commands full turn"....not "If it should command a full turn" or "If it would unexpectedly due to a failure of the system command a full turn".

    So this is becoming bigger than I meant it to be.
  20. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Bob made reference to pilots. I suspect he remembered that the Boeing 737 also doesn't have a command for a rudder hardover.
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