Dear Street Smarts,
Q: While I do not know what took place when that student driver went off the wharf yesterday, the story about it makes me think it was another case of ‘Brain vs Foot.’ There is no way to practice these situations, but there is a way to help and be prepared.
My flight instructor often said during dual instructions, ‘If the airplane is not doing what you think it should be doing, GET OFF THE CONTROLS!’ This is something every driver should be saying to themselves on a regular basis as it can happen to anybody. I got stopped before backing into the Soquel Post Office wall many years ago thanks to that advice, and when I got back on the controls the brakes worked just fine — with two feet of space to spare! These are brain trips, and not easy to deal with, but thinking about it routinely can help.
Don Burklo, Soquel
A: News reports said the accelerator pedal got stuck. In recalls involving similar incidents occurring with other Toyota vehicles, the pedal getting stuck under the floor mat was to blame. I wonder if applying the emergency brake would help slow the vehicle to a stop. Vehicle mechanics and others who may have experience along these lines, what say you in this matter?