Feature

Tip of the week: Stop an unintended acceleration

Hit the brakes; Shift to neutral; Shift to park

Hit the brakes. The news has been filled with reports of cars spontaneously accelerating. Faced with “this heart-stopping situation,” your first instinct—to stamp on the brake pedal—should eventually bring the car to a halt, though it can take as much as 200 feet to stop a car going 70 mph.

Shift to neutral. “This is your best option,” especially for manual transmissions. “Power is effectively kept from the wheels,” making braking much easier. Automatic transmissions, too, usually can be shifted to neutral, even when the car is in high gear.

Shift to park. With an automatic transmission, this works much the same as sliding to neutral. An internal part, called a “park pawl,” prevents an actual shift into park while the car is still moving. It may make “a disturbing grinding sound,” but won’t wreck the transmission.

Source: Popular Mechanics

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