Many people enjoy driving cars with plenty of power under the hood. But this enjoyment can quickly turn into horror when their 250 horsepower engine goes out of control. Sometimes a car defect causes the problem such as was the case with Toyota which had to recall millions of its cars in 2009-10.
However, sudden unintended acceleration can be the driver’s fault. If another’s out-of-control car injured you in an accident, Chattanooga car accident lawyers can advise you of your legal options.
Common Causes of Driver Induced Sudden Acceleration
- Loose objects were left under the engine hood. For example, the driver may set the oil cap down on top of the engine while adding oil and then leave it there when he closes the engine hood and drives away. Engine vibration then causes the oil cap to jam the accelerator linkages.
- The gas pedal is obstructed. Sudden acceleration can occur when clutter on the floor or loose floor mats interfere with the driver’s operation of the gas pedal.
- The gas pedal is mistaken for the brakes. When this happens, the driver may push the gas pedal down even harder because he firmly believes he is using the brakes. Drivers who do this often insist that the brakes failed to work during the sudden acceleration incident. So strong is their conviction that they stick to their explanation even after subsequent testing finds the brakes in perfect operating order. How is this possible? Because the driver relies 100% on muscle memory when using foot operated controls. When he drives an unfamiliar car, his muscle memory doesn’t apply to the new arrangement. When the car does the opposite of his expectations, instinct takes over and makes the problem worse. Oversized boots cause similar confusion.
How to Bring Your Car under Control
- Immediately use the brakes. It has been demonstrated many times that well maintained brakes can easily counter even high horsepower engines. Don’t hesitate because longer delay results in higher speeds which produce deadlier accidents.
- Shift the transmission into neutral. Engine rev limiters should prevent engine damage. If you have a manual transmission, push down on the clutch.
- Momentarily let up on the brakes if they aren’t working. If the engine sound diminishes when letting up, then your foot is probably on the accelerator. Take your foot off, making sure that the engine dies down as you do this. Immediately use the other pedal which should be the brake. This assumes the car has automatic transmission and therefore only has two pedals.
If you or someone you love were involved in a car accident and need legal advice, contact us at McMahan Law Firm.