How I Personally Dealt With A Stuck Accelerator ~ The Do's & The Don'ts

Real Estate Agent with Brand Name Real Estate

With the recent recalls by Toyota in regards to the sticking accelerators.  I am reminded of my own personal experience and I wanted to offer some advice on how to deal with this situation if it happens to you.Stuck Accelerator

It was almost 12 years ago, I was traveling down the interstate going about 60 mph behind an 18 wheeler (I must mention that I was not driving a Toyota or a Toyota product).  Within a matter of seconds, the accelerator left my foot and slammed itself to the floor board.  The next thing I knew I was going over 90 mph and heading for the back of the rig.  My first attempt was to apply the brakes, but all I got was a metal on metal sound with no results.  I then, for some unknown reason, threw the car into neutral and slowly started to pull the emergency brake (which I now know is not the proper thing to do).  At the same time I aimed for the shoulder of the highway and guided my car until it came to a complete stop.  Talk about my heart racing faster than ever before.

Again with all the recalls that we are currently learning about, I really hope that my personal experience may just help someone. Below you will find the do's and the don'ts  when dealing with a stuck accelerator.

Steps to remember if this occurs to you:

1.) Don't panic! I know that this is easier said than done, but it is extremely important to stay calm.

2.) Apply the brakes and place your car in "neutral"

3.) You will still be able to steer.

4.) Find a safe place to stop your car, out of traffic flow. 

5.) Call for assistance and have your car inspected. Do not attempt to drive your car without having it looked at fully.

What not to do!!!

1.) Don't try to un-jam the accelerator

2.) Don't use the handbrake

3.) Don't pump the brakes

4.) Don't remove the key from the ignition until you've stopped



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Jim and Maria Hart
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(843) 364-9845


Copyright © 2010 by Jim and Maria Hart (AgentOwned Realty).

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Comments (17)

Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

That must have been an incredibly frightening experience for you.

Thankfully you were able to control your car and come safely to a stop.

Thank you for posting this important safety tip.


Feb 08, 2010 04:53 AM
Jim & Maria Hart
Brand Name Real Estate - Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC Real Estate

Thanks, Craig. It was certainly one of my most terrifying moments. Thanks and I hope that you had a great Super Bowl weekend, Jim

Feb 08, 2010 04:59 AM
Stephen Arnold
HomeSmart Elite Group - Scottsdale, AZ

Solid tips Jim!  I hope that a ton of people on AR take a look at this informative post!  Thanks for sharing!!

Feb 08, 2010 05:34 AM
Jim & Maria Hart
Brand Name Real Estate - Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC Real Estate

Hey, Stephen. Thanks and I hope that you have a great day, Jim

Feb 08, 2010 06:53 AM
Liz Loadholt
Liz Loadholt- AgentOwned Realty- Covering SC - Mount Pleasant, SC
Realtor--Broker-in-charge - Trainer--Relocation Director Covering SC

Maria & Jim ---- Oh, my goodness -- that had to be an absolutely terrible experience -- you give some great tips -- now, if only the person who needs them can remember them in time of crisis.

Feb 08, 2010 08:19 AM
Toula Rosebrock
Diane Turton, Realtors, Forked River, NJ - Lacey Township, NJ
Broker/Sales Associate, Realtor, Lacey Township,

Hi Jim:


Thank goodness everyone is alright!

Great tips that you've shared here.

Feb 08, 2010 01:29 PM
Ellie McIntire
Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate - Ellicott City, MD
Luxury service in Central Maryland

What a terrible thing to have to experience. Would putting the car in reverse help? That's what I probably would have done!

Feb 09, 2010 01:35 AM
Jim & Maria Hart
Brand Name Real Estate - Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC Real Estate

Hey, Liz. The good thing is that I was alone. Thanks and take care, Jim

Feb 09, 2010 01:40 AM
Jim & Maria Hart
Brand Name Real Estate - Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC Real Estate

Hey, Toula. Yeah, I never want that to happen again.


Feb 09, 2010 01:42 AM
Jim & Maria Hart
Brand Name Real Estate - Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC Real Estate

Hey, Ellie. I dont think that you would be able to place the car in reverse.

Feb 09, 2010 01:43 AM
Charles McDonald®
Charlottesville Solutions - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR®, Principal Broker®, Owner

good advise on a scary subject

your friend in Charlottesville Virginia!

Feb 09, 2010 04:36 AM
Sue Wettstein Brazzel & Dipper Wettstein
Howard County, MD - RE/MAX 100 - Columbia MD - Columbia, MD
"Fast, Efficient, Hassle-Free Service!"

We just got a 2010 Prius ... appreciate your advice!  I don't think I would have thought to put the car in neutral ...

Feb 10, 2010 11:22 PM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

I often wondered what to do if this happened....thanks for the pointers.

Feb 11, 2010 12:52 PM
Debi Boucher
Real Estate Showcase Photography - Woodland Park, CO
"Realtor Showcase" - Real Estate Photography/Virtual Tours

OMG, Jim! What a terrifying experience! Thank goodness you handled it properly. And thanks for sharing this important information with us. I knew you were not supposed to turn the ignition off - if you do, you lose your ability to steer.


Feb 12, 2010 04:15 AM
Jenny Kotulak
RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage - Oakville, ON
Broker - Oakville Ontario Real Estate

That is very scary.  Thanks for the tip.  I wouldn't have thought to put the car into neutral.  Glad you escaped any harm.

Feb 12, 2010 01:36 PM
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

The car crash that started the recall happened right here in San Diego (actually, Santee, a suburb). The crash killed four people in the runaway car. The off-duty CHP officer who was driving apparently was applying the brakes for about five miles before crashing.

Feb 18, 2010 01:48 PM
Kelly Willey
Coco Plum Real Estate, Kelly Willey, FLORIDA KEYS - Marathon, FL
Florida Keys Luxury Sales, Marathon, Key Colony

This is a very good and timely post. I was just thinking this morning why the man driving the car that killed 4 did not put the car in neutral. I tried driving in to work today and my car allows me to go from D to N while accelerating. Such a loss and so sad.


~~~Kelly in the KEYS

Feb 19, 2010 09:21 AM

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