I spent the drive to work the other night getting more and more tired of the human race. I was listening to NPR do a story on the Toyota recalls and the hearings and such. They had a woman from Tennessee testify about her "terrifying" ordeal when her car accelerated "out of control". She was in her Lexus...not a cheap vehicle of course, when the accelerator stuck and she sped up to...wait for it... 100 MILES PER HOUR! OK. So some people would think that's pretty fast. And I was thinking, sure... in town, that could be a pain. But she was not in town. She was on the open road. So she testifies that she "put both my feet on the brake pedal and pulled on the emergency brake and it still didn't stop. So I called on the bluetooth device... I called my husband (here she gets all teary and quiver voiced) not that he could help me, but so I could hear his voice... one (sob) last (sob sob) time. (waaah cry cry sob sob)"
And it occured to me in a flash. This woman was an idiot. The first thing she thought to do when she accelerated was hit the brake. Good. But when that didn't work, she A)stood on the brake harder (Like screaming at someone who doesn't speak your language) B) pulled the emergency brake (excellent for stopped vehicles or doing doughnuts) C) made a phone call (she had time to dial? Who the heck was driving at that time?)
For those of you who don't see the stupidity of this line of procedures, here's what she (or anybody) should have done.
A) DON'T PANIC! Panic leads to stupid decision making. This is where the woman from Tennessee failed. My guess is that a broken nail also leads to panic for her.
B) PUT THE CAR INTO NEUTRAL! Without power going to the drive train, the engine would start racing, but the car would slow down.
C) TURN THE ENGINE OFF WITH THE KEY! Without power to the going to the engine, it too would stop racing and not overheat or get damaged. Oh and before you get all defensive and gripe about keyless ignition...hod the button down for three or four seconds, that shuts off the engine too.
D)PULL OFF THE ROAD! The car will be slowing down without power, and the brakes will miraculously begin to work again bringing the vehicle to a gentle stop.
Instead she had the time to call her husband for an overly dramatic and completely useless teary goodbye. Blaming Toyota for not understanding how to operate a vehicle in an emergency is a bit silly. Are there parts on their vehicles that fail? Yep. And they are fixing those problems. But anything that is built by human hands (and that's pretty much everything built) has the potential to fail.
I cannot even guess at how much time I spent as a pilot in training going over emergency procedures for a wide array of potential problems in a single engine airplane, but it was a great many hours. Stall training, engine failure training, spin training, bad weather training, icy runway training, loss of one or many instruments training. It is called proficiency. People driving cars get by with a LOT less training than they should have in my opinion.
If your first thought in an automobile crisis is "I have to call my loved one to say goodbye!" then you should not be in the driver seat. And this idiot woman from Tennessee is not only giving the residents of that state a bad name, but her gender and her species as well. She is proof positive that Darwinism is alive and well.
Bottom line should be, if you cannot handle an emergency in your vehicle, then for the love of all that is holy DON'T DRIVE IT!