How to stop a runaway Prius

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by PriusHighlander, Mar 9, 2010.

  1. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Not 2 seconds, more like a half second. Pressing Park or shifting to R will force it to N instantly.

    I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but people need to learn about their cars. Each car is a little different. It's the driver's responsibility to learn about the car before taking it onto the streets.

    Tom
     
  2. jimjordan2

    jimjordan2 New Member

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    Since I drive a 2008 Prius, the first thing I did yesterday was go out and try this. Yes, the car will go into Neutral at any time, accelerating or not. The car will shut down while holding the Start button down for about 3 seconds, accelerating or not.
    The Steering works with a little more muscle. The Brakes work with a little more muscle. This story stinks a lot. I tried this experiment three times, 30 MPH, 50 MPH, and 65MPH. [ 65 being the speed limit ?;^) ]
    Impossible to happen? I won't say that, but........................
     
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  3. Genoz World

    Genoz World ZEN-style living

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    LMAO!! Flintstones, meet the flintstones!

    TOM - yeah, i completely agree with you, but these problems that have surfaced must be dealt with. I'm learning from your posts and many others, but I come from the old school method that must be overcome with the prius. meaning, shift to reverse while going 60 mph = EXPLODED TRANNY. Now, that simply means achieving neutral. but, thanks for your input, i'm sure everyone here is learning.

    FOR THE RECORD: 45K plus miles, not even a burnt out lightbulb. (knock on wood!)
     
  4. BigDeal

    BigDeal Junior Member

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    Maybe you should find out if she would know what to do if the runaway thing happened to her while driving alone.
     
  5. cpm

    cpm Junior Member

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    How to stop a runaway Prius?


    Promise to buy it pony.
     
  6. autoxic

    autoxic Commuter

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    I tested the shift-to-neutral procedure at 40, 70, and 90 MPH, while accelerating. Shifting to neutral worked without any problems. Of course I was on a private closed course with no speed limit!

    Why does someone in a runaway Prius take time to call the police, and possibly hold a press conference, but he can't shift into neutral?

    Here is something I posted today on another site, which PriusChat folks might find valuable:

    "I really don't know what is going on in these cars that is giving people trouble, but I am fairly certain that shifting to neutral would solve the problem.

    "I tested shifting to Neutral at both 70 and 90 MPH in my 2004 Prius last night. I kept my foot on the gas pedal and shifted. The car slowed immediately, with no problem at all.

    "I also tested whether the Prius can be powered off while driving. At 40 MPH, with the gas pedal partially down, I pushed and held the Start button. After about 3 seconds (which felt like a long time to wait), my Prius shut down and slowed down. The dashboard lights lit up, and I had to stop the car and shift to Park to restart the car.

    "I am guessing that drivers are simply unfamiliar with the Prius shifter and ignition/power system. The shock of a stuck accelerator pedal could put someone into a severe case of confusion, limiting their ability to think clearly and take proper action.
    I am pretty sure that other cars have stuck throttles at times, but most people know how to put a normal transmission into neutral or turn an ignition key to the left. The Prius has a new interface, which may take a while to get used to."
     
  7. DPoole

    DPoole Junior Member

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    As a retired Electrical Engineer with a 38 year career in electromechanical product development, I'm concerned about the safety of the 2004 Prius I drive. There could be multiple mechanical, electrical, and possibly even software causes that will be difficult to unravel. Given that so many vehicles cannot be simply "left in the driveway," their drivers' knowing what to do in the event of a runaway is critical.

    Journalists covering this story have yet to learn what questions to ask. The result is an incomplete and often contradictory picture of multiple incidents. Ironically, Toyota's silence leaves PriusChat as one of the best potential sources of analysis and advice.

    Details of the Sikes incident are still missing. It seems clear that the pedal failed mechanically, as Mr. Sikes said he tried to lift it unsuccessfully. The responding CHP officer reportedly observed Sikes “off his buttocks” in order to stand on the brake,but that was apparently ineffective. Brake fade is, as suggested elsewhere on these forums, a likely explanation, but why was there no brake-throttle override as Pria reportedly have? The officer instructed Sikes to put the car in neutral, but he reportedly refused because he thought the car would “flip,” or else he tried but it failed to work, depending on which report you read. Exactly how he did shut it down in the end remains unreported. This is the "fog of reporting," but it makes a big difference in knowing what to do should it happen to you.

    I'm disappointed in Toyota's silence, and even disgusted by its “rebuttal” to Dr. David Gilbert. That Dr. Gilbert's work was a lab simulation in confirmation of a hypothetical single-point-of-failure, and that Toyota's competitors' vehicles are similarly vulnerable are irrelevant. A single point of failure in a safety-critical system isn't acceptable to me, and at best the competitive comparison is an argument for mandatory safety standards covering electronic throttle designs.

    I'm more disappointed in posters I have read to other threads on this forum suggesting that any Prius driver in or beyond middle age doesn't know the accelerator from the brake. Unintended acceleration is a serious problem, and were it to happen to me in my Prius, I would surely appreciate more respect than is being accorded to Mr. Sikes and others in these forums.

    I'm truly grateful to the posters who have experimented on their Pria and posted or even video recorded effective emergency procedures. That I have to seek these sources out, rather than receive similar advice from Toyota as it pertains to my model year is the biggest disappointment of all.

    Sikes simply didn't know that putting the Prius in Park wouldn't destroy its “transmission” or that neutral wouldn't cause it to "flip." Given the reported events and the Prius' particular idiosyncrasies, this should be Toyota's responsibility to explain. Denial and rebuttal should not be options. If at least some Pria have a brake override, then Toyota should explain which ones do, which ones do not, and how to use it effectively without reaching fade or brake failure. The same applies to how long the neutral position must be held, the three-second requirement for a shutdown in response to the ON button, and the side-effects to be anticipated in that event, if any, on power steering or braking.

    It's not Mr. Sikes fault for not having read up on emergency procedures on PriusChat. The picture isn't even completely clear here.
     
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  8. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Senior Member

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    I have several friends and family members, ranging from ages of early 30;s to late 50's, that own Prius and other Toyota's with the DBW technology. I have polled each one of them about what to do in the case of the SUA. Everyone of them knew exactly what to do before the s**t hit the media fan, and have practiced doing this to familiarize themselves with this after hearing all of the media reports. It is getting hard to believe that we have that many Americans driving today that cannot remember how to shift to neutral. It is getting rather embarassing to me.

    Several people have posted here asking why the media does not report on what to do in the event of SUA. I remember Brian Williams on NBC news reporting on this at the very beginning of the media hysteria and then having the head guy from Consumer Reports on at the very end of the broadcast. This guy very calmly said what PC members have been preaching all along:

    1) Shift to neutral
    2) Pull over and stop
    3) Turn the car off
    4) Contact Toyota immediately

    P.S. If people would actually do this, especially number 4, Toyota may have had a better handle on this problem by now.
     
  9. Armature

    Armature New Member

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    Shifting into neutral does work, even with the accelerator floored. Just remember you can't just casually slap the lever over to the left. Move the lever with determination and hold it briefly...just a fraction of a second...until the indicator shows neutral. The engine should go to idle at the same time.
     
  10. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

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    I don't understand everyone's aversion to the "P" button. It's for park, but in an emergency, it's for "Panic!" It WILL stop the car from accelerating. It IS easy to get to in a panic. It's big. You DON'T have to hold it.

    "Just do it!"

    Unless you're after Toyota's money. ;)
     
  11. Politburo

    Politburo Active Member

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    Sorry, but I don't think it is Toyota's responsibility to explain basic car behavior to their customers, nor to rebut an infinite list of misconceptions that people have. All the info is in the manual, but apparently the manual is just irrelevant and everything needs to be in 100pt type, or something. In any case, my recall notice (in November) included all of the emergency info. I have to ask, based on your post, did you even read it?

    Ultimately, as the operator of the vehicle, you are responsible for knowing how to stop it. That includes emergency situations.
     
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  12. auricchio

    auricchio Member

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    An article in today's paper said the officer told Sikes to step on the brake, at which point the vehicle slowed below 50. Then Sikes apparently returned to the land of the living and got the car shut down.

    Obviously he had time to make a phone call, scream that he couldn't read the phone numbers on the callbox signs, and probably Tweet what was going on.

    Brakes. Brakes. Brakes. And, of course, put the damn thing in park. Who cares if you risk ruining a transmission (which wouldn't happen)!

    Speculating about the car flipping is stupid.

    I wonder how the cop could see Sikes "off his buttocks." Did Sikes open the door?
     
  13. lunabelgium

    lunabelgium Member

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    I'm not here to debate whether this problem really exists, or what the cause is.
    Just a question :
    Why does this problem only happened in the States ? (sorry for my English, I have to improve it, I know).
    No one in Europe, we drive Prius too, less than in USA but is't the reason ?
     
  14. DPoole

    DPoole Junior Member

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    I stand corrected on the instructions.

    My floor mat has always been hooked over its retainers, so I casually read the instructions in the November recall notice (for the case of floor mat obstruction) to put the vehicle in Neutral, and failing in that (for whatever reason) to hold the POWER button for at least three seconds. Whether power assist for steering and braking is lost as a result is ambiguous among the bullets for the START/STOP and conventional key ignitions.

    The original Owners Manual (Pub. No. OM47451U,) states on pages 131 and 133 that in an emergency you must press POWER for at least 3-seconds and that the vehicle will enter ACC and Neutral. That implies but does not state that the driver need not anticipate loss of power steering and braking. Page 135 states that entering Park or Reverse while the vehicle is moving will also shift to Neutral.

    If the Press were to cover this in a wire story, many of the misconceptions would vanish and drivers would be somewhat safer - assuming that there is no single point of failure or software defect that causes unintended acceleration and affects the system's response to the shifter and power switches. That may never be proven.
     
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  15. hekaterine

    hekaterine New Member

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    I have questions about this too. I would find it much easier to locate the power button and turn it off than shifting the car into neutral, in a real crisis. I'm not really clear about what the difference would be. Would I theoretically retain power steering and braking in neutral, and lose them with power off? And then if these other things which I commonly do - go into park or reverse - will put me in neutral, can I just do that? As I was driving the other day, I see that I have to really look at it to get the car in neutral - the other things are easier for me to do by rote.
     
  16. LRKingII

    LRKingII New Member

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    This weekend while in Scottsdale AZ i was riding in a friends 2010 IV and asked if they knew how to prevent a runaway. They said no.
    I showed them and then had them try it.
    First was shift to neutral...they were surprised.
    Second was push the park button going about 60mph..went into neutral.
    Third was shift to reverse again into neutral.
    Forth on a empty road at 45 mph held the power button in for a couple seconds...surprise again for them.
    No one had told them or showed them and they thanked me for the lesson and were amazed at the simple things that could be done and just how easy it was.
    Last was the foot full on go pedal and standing on the brake again it behaved like it was suppoesed to, engine RPM way down and car stopped in one big hurry.

    Edit They also have a 2005 Prius and i told them to try the same stuff on it to see it works.
     
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  17. hekaterine

    hekaterine New Member

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    So what's the difference between these 4 things, in terms of power steering and braking? Why is there a preference for #1 (which is the action least done in a Prius) above the others?
     
  18. gdbelden

    gdbelden Gator Hator

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    I like your third step LRKingII :)

    Never thought to Shit to Reverse! :drum:
     
  19. LRKingII

    LRKingII New Member

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    OOOPS chit speeling bug again
     
  20. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Pressing and holding Power takes three seconds. Steering and braking may be a bit harder.

    Shifting to N requires the driver to hold the shifter at N for a half second up to maybe two seconds (reports vary). Power steering and power brakes are retained.

    Shifting to R or pressing Park do the same as shifting to N, but it happens immediately.

    The Park button is large and easy to hit.

    For these reasons I recommend Park as your first option. Keep the other options in mind as a backup plan.

    Tom
     
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