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I LOST control of my Prius !!

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by TravelBliss, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. TravelBliss

    TravelBliss It's worth the wait !!!

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    While driving to work very early in the AM, a family of deer appeared out of nowhere and onto my driving path. I was travelling about 50-55 mph, and swerved to attempt a hit. I felt like the car became "possessed"....an audible beeping alert/alarm went off in the car, but I was too panicked to look at the dashboard, being too focused on feeling an impending accident coming on. I attempted to maintain a straight path with the car, but the steering wheel seemed like it was on auto-pilot. I held the wheel but was unable to direct it, so I let it go a bit and tapped the brakes, all the while feeling like I would be gravely injured or worse. Luckily for me, there were no other cars out on this road, and the shoulder was mostly grass, so after travelling a few hundred feet out of control, the car managed to end up in the sandy center island between opposite lanes.

    At this point, the alarm stops, and besides being totally unnerved and shaken, I am feeling like this car I bought in July is an eggshell on wheels....
    I really thought the car would flip or roll over, but thank God, I was ok.

    Was it the stability control that alarmed during all of this?
    Was there anything I should have done, or should do in the future if the alarm goes off, and I can't gain control of the wheel? Should I just let go of the wheel and guide it? What about brakes? Tap or not?

    Any comments or input would be helpful !!!
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    Brake hard and steer smoothly around the obstacle. Why you would let go of the wheel I have no idea, the stability control needs your input to know where to go.
    The stability control kept the wheels down and shiny side up, a lesser vehicle may have ended on the roof.
    Lets admit it, you were too abrupt on the steering causing a loss of traction and a loss of control. It wasn't the car that caused this. Once traction was lost the computer tried to make the best of a bad situation. Firstly by regaining traction and keeping the roof upward. Even the most expensive exotic doesn't drive itself, it responds to input from the driver, and thank goodness for that.

    Trust me, your Prius is no eggshell car, it has one of the strongest cages of any production road car. Look at those strong diagonal braces that are the A and C pillars holding up the corners of the roof. Then if you have stability control no doubt you have a plethora of airbags to protect you in the unlikely event of a roll over.

    I think you wanted to avoid a hit?
     
  3. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    You definitely should not let go of the steering wheel. You should hit the brake pedal as hard as you can, and steer as necessary to avoid a collision. However if you are traveling at 55 mph I suggest that you do not steer very much or risk flipping the car. Better to hit the deer than to flip over.
     
  4. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    The VSC likely saved your life...or at least saved your car and you from injury here.
    As stated...brake hard, turn the wheel where you want to go, let the VSC do it's thing and hang on. In collision avoidance the Prius is one of the best on the market.
     
  5. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

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    Yes. When you swerved, the VSC system activated the anti-skid light and buzzer.

    As Patrick said, the best thing to do is press the brake and steer to miss solid objects.
     

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  6. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Agreeing with the rest, let me also point out that it's better to hit a deer than to roll your car, hit a tree, or go head on into oncoming traffic. Swerving to miss animals is usually a bad idea, unless you have plenty of time and space. In this case it worked out because VSC saved your rear end and there was no traffic. People often try to blame VSC for kicking in and causing them to lose control, even though the converse is true: you lost control and VSC kicked in.

    Tom
     
  7. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    whew, a big deer-avoidance swerve at 50-55 mph is not going to be pretty. you're lucky the VSC kicked in and there wasn't any traffic around. just hit the damn deer instead of taking the risk of swerving around an animal at that rate of speed. glad you're ok, though.
     
  8. slickQUICKprius

    slickQUICKprius I'm awesome!

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    Well, it's not like a deer through a windshield is a small thing either, but yeah, when it comes down to a deers life or yours, you better be thinking venison.

    On a sidenote, once you lose control of the car and start to swerve, depending on the road surface, you don't want to slam on the brakes, but control the car into a straight line before applying brake force. Throwing ABS into the equation get you more sideways than you want to. Luckily I've never been in the same spot in my prius, but yeah, NEVER let go of the wheel - that's just a horrible idea.
     
  9. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    That's why everyone said brake then steer around the obstacle.
     
  10. Bob64

    Bob64 Sapphire of the Blue Sky

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    According to another poster that attended some sort of emergency driving class, he/she said that braking while turning worked best with the prius as opposed to hard braking, then turning.
     
  11. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Yep the beep is the VSC working.

    Slam on the brakes first in a straight line then steer. ABS will attempt to prevent wheel lock-up and VSC will attempt to keep the vehicle in its intended direction. If it's too much for the VSC, I'd still look in the direction you want to go and point the wheel that way. That's what I did when I was sliding down sideways down an icy hill (the back end came out too fast for VSC to react).
     
  12. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    I think someone misunderstood what they were told.
    I was told in my advanced driving lesson which I must do every 2 years, brake hard and steer around the obstacle. I was told the same thing 2 years ago. We also try out the technique on slippery dirt roads.
     
  13. Bob64

    Bob64 Sapphire of the Blue Sky

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    Nope, I was referring to:
    http://priuschat.com/forums/prius-main-forum/54079-took-our-prius-race-track.html#post717882

     
  14. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    Instinct, or maybe learned behaviour, tells me not to brake hard and steer hard at the same time. And I'd have a hard time steering for the deer, but it would depend on the terrain. But, if electronic controls allow the car to do what it's told, then by all means tell it.
     
  15. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    learned behaviour. In older cars without ABS, one would never have thought about braking and steering at the same time.
     
  16. effwitt

    effwitt Paparazzi Magnet

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    A common mistake in a panic stop situation is to look at what you're trying to avoid hitting. I don't know how to learn how to change this typical behavior except through practice. With deer it's even harder because they're often moving, so picking a spot to steer to in tricky.
     
  17. OrlandoGuy

    OrlandoGuy Junior Member

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    For most modern cars...ones with ABS....you can stand on the brakes and they work well by preventing wheel lockup while providing the most stopping power without loosing control. Let the ABS work as designed, it will modulate the pressure to the brakes.

    When a wheel locks up, you loose directional control. A slide or skid sideways is the same to the wheel as a slide or skid in the direction of intended travel.

    This is the reason for ABS, to allow directional control during stopping where would otherwise loose grip of the road and lock up.

    For older, NON ABS cars, I remember being taught to curl your toes while braking if you start to skid...That motion will lower your pressure on the brakes and hopefully allow wheel spin and directional control.

    And speaking as one that has had a deer collision and the dented A pillar to show for it, If there is a choice to be made about going off road/into other traffic or hit the deer, I will choose the deer every time. I will hate to hurt the animal or dent my prius, but with the deer I have more mass and will survive. Choosing to go off road or into traffic may cause bodily injury or death to me and others as well as a greater damage to the prius
     
  18. TravelBliss

    TravelBliss It's worth the wait !!!

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    ^^^
    yes, my typo, I did want to AVOID the hit....As for the steering, it was impulse for me to "let go" or rather, "release" my deathgrip on the steering wheel, because I felt nothing I did was helping. I guess I know better now!!

    ^^^
    thank you, galaxee.

    Despite my attempt to avoid a hit, once I regained control of the car and regained my composure (all of 10 mins), I did circle back to make a turn and found I had unfortunately struck one :(


    I did find the car veering sideways more than anything. I guess I panicked when I found I wasn't gaining control of the car, and at this point I lessened the grip on the wheel.

    Thanks everyone for your input. I don't live where it ices and snows, so I'm not at all too experienced in managing the wheel !!
     
  19. Rokeby

    Rokeby Member

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    Seeing that the OP's avoidance situation involved some deer, I just have to
    ask:

    Do the whistle thingys that I see mounted on vehicles' front bumpers out in
    rural/suburban areas around here work?

    What, if anything do they supposedly do... scare the deer or just make an
    intensely irritating, out of the human hearing range noise... or what?
     
  20. Kapena Gary

    Kapena Gary New Member

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    Rokeby -

    As a motorcycle rider for over 50 years, my experience and others is that the whistle thingys don't work. I wish they did. I would cover my bike with them if I thought they would work.

    Deer move in early morning and late afternoon, usually for water or food. That's the time to be EXTRA alert.