Thursday, October 1, 2009

Toyota About To Blunder...

...or have they done so already with their advice to motorists about what to do if their accelerator pedal sticks after they have removed their foot from it.


Toyota essentially tells you, among other things, that the very first thing you should do is to reach down to pull back the floor mat because it may be depressing the pedal causing the car to accelerate, then pull over and stop the vehicle. (1) Of course they also give other advice such as applying the brakes steadily or applying the brakes steadily and either shutting off the car or putting the key into the accessory position (you sure do not want to lock your steering if you have the type car in which the steering wheel locks in place once the car is shut off), or applying the brakes and placing the car into neutral.

Of course their advice is based on the fact that they are recalling 3.8 million vehicles to replace floor mats or otherwise fix a problem whereby the accelerator can get stuck due to a floor mat sliding forward. The advice they give, is in my opinion, bad advice. The first thing you should do to control your car is to step on the brake and at the same time place the car into neutral. Why do I say this? I say so because if the accelerator is stuck due to a mechanical problem other than anything to do with a floor mat then bending over to pull the floor mat back wastes precious time and allows the car to continue to accelerate. Therefore the first thing you would want to do is to cease accelerating no matter what could be the cause. Placing the car in neutral while applying the brakes will cause a vehicle with a stuck accelerator to cease accelerating and to stop if the brakes and shifter are working properly. Even if the floor mat is the cause and may also be preventing the brake pedal from being depressed fully, by putting the car into neutral you make the prevent the car from causing itself to accelerate. Once that is done you can check to pull the floor mat back or the gas pedal up or clear the brake pedal. When doing so, do it by feel if possible so you can keep your eyes on the road.

Last month, a family of 4 was killed in California due to a floor mat pressing down their accelerator or so are the findings of the accident investigators as reported on by several news outlets. One of the 4 people in the car was a California Highway Patrol Officer. For some reason it seems he did not think of either shutting off the car or putting the car into neutral at least until too late if they did it at all. Heck that is something I learned in my first government defensive driving course given in my academy training. Why the CHP did not teach this officer likewise, if such is the case, is a mystery to me. I am not blaming anyone, just pointing out that I would have thought a police officer would have known how to deal with the situation, in fact I guess I would have thought everyone would have known how to deal with it. The car was going over 100 mph when it collided with another vehicle in an intersection. One of the 4 people in the car called 911. One of the first things the 911 operator ask is if they can brake or shut off the vehicle. Even he did not ask if they had it in neutral. I asked my son and daughter today, what would you do if your accelerator stuck. My daughter's answer was to step on the brake. When I prodded her for more she had no clue. My son said he would shut the car off. When I asked him for more he said put on the brakes. Neither one thought of putting the car into neutral and applying the brakes. Now they know about that option. Folks it seems that such simple things as putting the car in neutral or turning it off (remembering you do not want to lock your steering wheel if you have that type of locking steering wheel) along with properly braking are things that people apparently do not realize are just the things that could save them in such a situation. Calling 911 maybe too late - you as the driver or passenger in a car need to know these things before you get going in a car again and you must be ready to take action as appropriate.

The second of the following two videos contain parts of the 911 call made from the out of control vehicle. You can hear more if you can find other copies - the call continues as the car speeds into the crash and actually crashes on some other copies. I figured if you want to hear that you can find it on your own.

All the best,



GM Failing Again...

...this time it says it will be shutting down its Saturn plants because a deal to sell them fell through! I know this is a major problem in that many will lose jobs but I also know a foolproof solution. Let's get the government to print up a lot of dollar bills and have the government buy them out and take control with the newly printed cash. Yeah that will work.


I sure seem to remember someone in Washington saying that we needed just such a solution not too long ago. Now was it George W. Bush and his cronies or Barack H. Obama and his cronies? May have been both of them but the important thing is that when they said they had to do it they also said it had to be done immediately to save the nation from financial ruin (remember all the urgency - it had to absolutely - positively - be done - without fail - within 24 hours). Well they did it and I guess we delayed them too long and they failed after all - I mean just look at the mess we are still in - look at this mess in particular.

So some politicians may actually use their recollections of just how long money for GM was delayed when they said they needed it by tomorrow, when they try to find blame for this latest downturn in our economy. They will not blame GM, nor Saturn nor Penske (the company that decided not to buy Saturn), what they probably will do is the totally political, unethical, reprehensible, finger wagging sort of thing they always do - they will blame their opposition and try to gain political points for themselves. The truth be told, well at least my opinion of it anyhow, GM sucks as a car maker. Their products for the most part were and remain absolute crap. Why we bailed out a junk maker like them in the first place befuddles me. It seems a crime to me that such was done with our money. It also seems a crime to me that GM is being allowed to make this current decision while still in possession of our money - they have not paid it all back yet - have they! GM, to me, appears to b nothing more than an irresponsible money grubbing concern that cannot currently and probably will not in the future hold itself together and make itself successful and profitable. Why is it that the folks in DC cannot realize this.

Of course there is hope for our economy that maybe you have not yet realized because all of this mess has obstructed your vision. There are companies like Penske that refuse to make what they believe would be bad deals that are not in their company's best interest.

"...the company has determined that the risks and uncertainties related to the availability of future products prohibit the company from moving forward with this transaction" (1)

I do not know the current financial status of Penske it could be excellent or could be very poor, but my hat goes off to them for avoiding a mistake that could have cost them dearly regardless of the current situation. They seem to be using some foresight, some planning, some figuring, some logic - as opposed to the politicians in Washington who thought it a good idea to shovel out good money after bad in trying to rescue failing U.S. automakers and financial institutions. Let them fail. Why do I say that when I know it will cause massive financial hardship for us. Well the other option of bailing them out has already created decades of debt for us, our children and possibly our grandchildren. We are making our nation one made up of all paupers instead of paupers. I say let these companies fail and do not socialize them because when they fail under a capitalist system they will either bring themselves back up or someone else will take their place and fill the niche. Having the government save them is bound to fail just like it is already doing. Who wills step in then once the government controls everything to do with them? No one - because socialized economies have been failures over and over again throughout history where truly capitalist nations have always been able to rebuild and reclaim much if not all of the wealth they may have lost through earlier failures.

All the best,
Glenn B