Sudden Unintended Acceleration – when your car races out of control and you can’t make it stop (and the brakes don’t work) has been proven to be caused by faulty software.
These days, just about all of us drive around in a computer on wheels. Cars can have up to 100 million lines of software code. We know what happens when a computer isn’t working properly and needs a reboot. Do you know what to do if you’re stuck in a car that’s racing out of control and you can’t make it stop?
According to Consumer Reports®, if you’re stuck in a runaway car, do this:
What can you do?
- Press the brakes FIRMLY (don’t pump them).
- Put the car in NEUTRAL and steer to a safe place.
- If required, turn the engine OFF, shift to PARK and call for help.
(Do not drive the vehicle – wait for assistance.)
You may want to safely practice this technique first.
When you shut a car engine off, you lose power steering control. While this isn’t desirable, the fact is that if you are unable to make your car come to a stop, it might be the best and only thing you can do.
So practice first — safely in an empty parking lot — if you can.
Even if you don’t own a brand new car with all the bells and whistles, if your car was made in the 21st century it’s likely being run by a lot more software than you may realize.
If your car sometimes behaves like has a mind of its own and you don’t feel safe, make a note of it, take it to the dealer, and also file a vehicle safety complaint with your country’s regulatory authority.