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Old 03-10-10, 08:28 AM   #1
jccaclimber
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Common sense with cars?

From the AP article today about the runaway Prius:
Neibert told Sikes after the CHP caught up with him to shift to neutral but the driver shook his head no. "Sikes told reporters he didn't go into neutral because he worried the car would flip."
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100310/..._runaway_prius

Seriously? Turning off the car was ok, but putting it into neutral causes your car to flip over? Someone please explain this to me, because I don't even know where to begin explaining that one.
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Old 03-10-10, 08:32 AM   #2
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some people are idiots....in this case, I don't know if its the driver or the reporter.
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Old 03-10-10, 08:48 AM   #3
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I'd rather put it in neutral to disconnect the power from the engine to the tranny than turn it off. When you turn it off you lose power steering and brakes.

Some people just don't understand how a car works. All they know is how to start it, put it in gear and make it go. I had asked a young driver what he would do and he thought to put it in park, thinking the car would stop (not considering THAT would make the car lose control). So I explained it to him.

Not sure if this is true but someone told me that in another country (don't know which) they are required to take a basic maintenance class to understand the simple mechanics of a car before they are issued their license.
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Old 03-10-10, 08:50 AM   #4
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I'd rather put it in neutral to disconnect the power from the engine to the tranny than turn it off. When you turn it off you lose power steering and brakes.
brakes will still have assist until all the vacuum is gone. The steering will be light at speed. No big deal turning off the ignition, as long as the steering doesn't lock...that would suck.
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Old 03-10-10, 08:50 AM   #5
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When I was a kid taking driving lesson, they teach you the shift-to-neutral trick in case the throttle got stuck. Guess it used to be a more common thing with mechanical linkages in the old days.

So I didn't think it was a big deal when I heard the alleged runaway issues.

I did practice it in my 2010 Prius and glad that I did, becuase it didn't behave as expected. The trick does work but I found that you have to push the lever to the left AND HOLD for may be a second before it shifts to neutral (while accelerating).

If you just push the lever to the left and do not hold it there, it will not shift.

Anyway, highly recommend people practicing that just in case.

Now, here is the reason that I make this post, it seems from the testimony at the Toyota hearing today, that Smith lady said she did try to shift to neutral and the car ignored it. http://www.nydailynews.com/money/201..._testifie.html

Then there is that famous crash in San Diego. The driver was a CHP officer and he fought it for a few minutes. It's hard to imagine that he didn't know to try shifting to neutral.

So I guess in the case of these drive-by-wire systems, if something goes haywire, then the shift-to-neutral wouldn't work neither. Which is a really scary thing to think about...
It may be possible that the driver of the runaway Prius did try to shift to neutral and didn't know why it did not work.

source
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Old 03-10-10, 08:57 AM   #6
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brakes will still have assist until all the vacuum is gone. The steering will be light at speed. No big deal turning off the ignition, as long as the steering doesn't lock...that would suck.
That's what I mean. Manual (if someone is not used to it) or locked steering and stepping on the brakes only to hit a brick on the floor. All it would take is a couple of pumps and the vacuum is gone...Wasn't he going 96mph? Didn't even know a Prius can go that fast.
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Old 03-10-10, 09:29 AM   #7
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To be fair, the Prius does resemble a clown car, so one would expect it to flip when shifted, or shoot confetti when the horn is honked, etc. I bet the other 17 guys in the car made it hard to concentrate too.
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Old 03-10-10, 09:38 AM   #8
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I hate clowns. The scare me.
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Old 03-10-10, 09:51 AM   #9
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Seriously? Turning off the car was ok, but putting it into neutral causes your car to flip over? Someone please explain this to me, because I don't even know where to begin explaining that one.
"Think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than THAT!" - George Carlin

That driver was from the left side of the bell curve. Equally sad is that nobody taught him what to do, nor did he RTFM.

If someone has enough time to make a panicky 911 call from their cell phone, they sure as hell have enough time to stop the $@#*%! car.

I say, let them crash.*

(*there's my Airplane! quote for the day, too )
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Old 03-10-10, 10:04 AM   #10
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Do you see it?

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Old 03-10-10, 10:14 AM   #11
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Why people in North America don't drive diesel cars is beyond me (as a former member of your ranks).
Or manual ones, for that matter. All you'd need to do with a stuck throttle is hit the clutch (obviously not an option with a hybrid).
I had an old VW whose throttle stuck when the temp went below -10C. Proper gear selection and clutch usage meant I could go any speed I wanted until it warmed up.

I'm not against Toyota or Pri'i, but think it's going the long way round to achieve the goal of economy.
(step 1: make it as big as a freaking Taurus...)
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Old 03-10-10, 11:42 AM   #12
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Why people in North America don't drive diesel cars is beyond me (as a former member of your ranks).
Or manual ones, for that matter. All you'd need to do with a stuck throttle is hit the clutch (obviously not an option with a hybrid).
I had an old VW whose throttle stuck when the temp went below -10C. Proper gear selection and clutch usage meant I could go any speed I wanted until it warmed up.
I'm not against Toyota or Pri'i, but think it's going the long way round to achieve the goal of economy.
(step 1: make it as big as a freaking Taurus...)
Manuals because people aren't smart enough to spend the half day it takes to learn, and because it's harder to talk on the cell phone in busy traffic (since that's such a good idea). Even without the clutch you can punch it into neutral and bounce off the rev limiter.
Diesels aren't as popular in North America because the emission controls are tighter, and fuel isn't as expensive as in Europe.
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Old 03-10-10, 11:50 AM   #13
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plus "but diesel makes your hands smell funny after filling up" actual quote from a woman when I was filling up my vw tdi and she asked me my mileage .
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Old 03-10-10, 11:52 AM   #14
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In fact diesel is more expensive than gas now...and stinky.
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Old 03-10-10, 11:58 AM   #15
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I'd rather put it in neutral to disconnect the power from the engine to the tranny than turn it off. When you turn it off you lose power steering and brakes.

Some people just don't understand how a car works. All they know is how to start it, put it in gear and make it go. I had asked a young driver what he would do and he thought to put it in park, thinking the car would stop (not considering THAT would make the car lose control). So I explained it to him.

Not sure if this is true but someone told me that in another country (don't know which) they are required to take a basic maintenance class to understand the simple mechanics of a car before they are issued their license.
Shifting to neutral will probably just cause the engine to over rev and blow followed by the loss of power assist brakes and steering.
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Old 03-10-10, 11:58 AM   #16
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In fact diesel is more expensive than gas now...and stinky.
Per gallon yes. Per mile traveled? I dunno.
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Old 03-10-10, 12:03 PM   #17
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Hate being behind diesel. *cough, hack*
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Old 03-10-10, 12:06 PM   #18
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Remember the Audi 5000 unintended acceleration hoax? I remember back then learning that you can nearly stop a floored Audi 5000 by standing on the brakes. So I have to wonder how this guy got chugging along at 90 mph with a brake system and parking brake at his disposal. I think there's more to his little story, and it somehow involves a nice pay day for him.
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Old 03-10-10, 12:07 PM   #19
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You know, I wonder how many of the "common sense" approaches to stopping a car (putting it in neutral, etc.) the guy tried, and if there was an electronics control failure, it just didn't matter. All the common sense is based on the old mechanical controls on cars. An electrical fault could make all the common sense stuff irrelevant. For instance, putting a car into neutral used to be a mechanical thing. Maybe on a hybrid it's just a command to the ECU which, if it's already malfunctioning, it's not going to do anything with the command anyway.

On aircraft, the primary fly-by-wire systems are triple redundant on the command side and dual redundant on the actuation (at a minimum) to account for the failure modes. I don't think the automakers have thought drive-by-wire through anywhere near that much.
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Old 03-10-10, 12:09 PM   #20
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Oooooooh that makes sense...
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Old 03-10-10, 12:14 PM   #21
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Diesel is still cheaper per BTU, at least up here in Canada. Gasoline has 125,000 btu per gallon, and diesel has 138,700 btu per gallon.

Shifting to neutral will not cause your engine to over rev and blow up, in fact all modern engines are quite happy to bounce off the rev limiter for as long as you can stand the irritating noise. The challenge is getting the transmission to shift into neutral - with electronically controlled transmissions now that isn't as easy as it used to be.



**sorry - Doohickie beat me to it.

Last edited by Ryan McEachern; 03-10-10 at 12:16 PM. Reason: repeat post.
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Old 03-10-10, 12:17 PM   #22
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Where's a frikken' drag chute when you need one?
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Old 03-10-10, 12:18 PM   #23
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Still, the brake system is hydraulic. And, the problems they are having are effecting conventional and hybrid models. I'm sure the guy did what he could, but in a panicked state of mind people miss the obvious, like not clogging doorways of burning buildings with trampled bodies. The woman who touched off the Audi 5000 controversy in the 80s was a minister's wife who smashed her husband into the garage door and back out the rear wall of the garage, killing him. After swearing it was the car, she later admitted that she was mistakenly on the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal, panicking.
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Old 03-10-10, 12:27 PM   #24
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Old 03-10-10, 12:52 PM   #25
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Been thinking about this issue....perhaps the scientist/engineers have almost perfected AI. This is the result. The machines are starting to fight back.
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