Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fast Toyota

I have a Toyota. It isn't a new one by any means, but it's a fast car. Top end is somewhere around 140 mph. I've never attempted that, of course, but I imagine it would do it if the gas pedal were to somehow stick to the floor. A couple of times this winter the gas pedal did stick open but not all the way open, just enough to give me a start. But I don't think my 95 Avalon is wired the way the newer ones are wired. Mine seems to have a cable from the gas pedal to the engine rather than a sensor with wires to the computer and an electric motor on the engine with feedback to the computer.

It's hard to get the story straight. I am somewhat of a car buff but I have yet to see any news article that is written well enough for even someone with my car knowledge to get a good picture of what is involved with these runaway Toyotas. One would think that the whole idea is to scare people rather than to inform.

One thing that really is bugging me is this...

WHY do the drivers who find themselves on the highway in runaway Toyotas not SHUT OFF THE IGNITION?

I just reviewed the CBS News coverage of this week's runaway Prius in California where the guy was on the phone with 911 for something like 20 minutes. Did the 911 operator suggest turning off the engine? CBS mentioned that the driver finally "kept pressing the off button" after he had sufficiently showed the car down using the brakes on an uphill grade.

In a car, what is the "off button"?

OK so I'll have to go check out a Prius. Maybe they have an off button.

But you know what? If I owned one of these newer Toyotas and if I chose to remain loyal to the brand and keep driving it, I think I'd practice turning off the engine while driving down the road. I'm surprised that national network television and the Toyota company itself are not training Toyota owners how to stop their cars in an emergency. Shouldn't it be clear by now with dozens of reported deaths that using the brakes isn't enough?

Practice it, people. Practice when there's no traffic around you. Try it when you're going slow at first and get used to how it is done and what the effects are. When you have that down, practice it at higher speeds. That's what I would do if I owned a newer Toyota. If it can't be done or if it isn't safe to do that, then I'd sell the car.