Take a ride in a Toyota…

With all the problems Toyota’s had lately, I have to wonder if some day when I get behind the wheel of my car I might have a ride like this.

Yeah, it’s not original, but it amused me nonetheless, and I’m too tired to write anything substantive this weekend. But Monday’s coming just as fast as any ride in a Toyota, as will that insolence my readers have come to know and love (or hate).

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

22 replies on “Take a ride in a Toyota…”

Hey, everyone needs a little mindless humor once in awhile.

I mean, apart from reading STY’s comments, of course. 🙂

Man, people killing themselves by panicking over a stuck gas pedal deserve the Darwin award. There are three ways to stop the engine from turning the wheels:
#1. Turn ignition key to Off.
#2. Depress clutch pedal. You know, the one on the left.
#3. Set gear leaver to neutral.

I didn’t count brakes, because you ideally shouldn’t use them until the engine power has been cut, somehow, or you will just overheat them.


1) Ignition key is just a software input. If the software is going BSOD it doesn’t make any difference.
2) No clutch on an automatic transmission.
3) See #1.

1. Turning off the ignition key has two problems – it cuts off the power assist for steering and brakes, and it may well lock the steering wheel. Additionally, there’s an option in the latest cars for keyless ignition, where the switch is just a start button.
2. Who drives a car clutch with a clutch anymore?
3. The current generation Prius shifter is a joystick.

“2) No clutch on an automatic transmission.”

Yes, but shifting into neutral still works, even with the Prius’s PSD transaxle. You generally wouldn’t want to switch off the ignition on a car with power steering and brakes in any event.

The weakest brakes can overpower the strongest engine.

The power assist for the brakes has a vacuum reservoir that will provide assist for a short period of time after the engine is shut off, however, you will have no power assist on the steering. This is not a big problem as long as you don’t have to make large course corrections.

The last Toyota I owned was a 1990 Corolla and it had a rev limiter, so I am sure putting any modern in neutral would not result in scattering the engine.

The skeptical teacher has pointed out that stuck throttles have accounted for less than 0.1% of the deaths that have occurred in Toyata’s.

This video reminds me of the extreme zooms in “Evil Dead”.
A joke I thought up: We’ll know the automotive industry has gone too far when opening the hood voids the warranty.

Yes, putting the car in neutral is the best bet, because you will still have power for the power brakes and steering. Also, just switching the key CCW to “engine off” one notch b4 “on” will NOT lock the steering wheel. Finally, a car sans power can still be steered and braked, though it may require a little more effort. But with 4 wheel disk brakes standard, it shouldn’t be much of a problem. I grew up on big old cars and trucks that had manual everything, when today there are cars you can steer by leaning and brake by dragging your feet on the ground that have power steering and brakes standard. I used to cut the engine and coast downhill for miles, it is no big deal.

Funny Video. worth a chuckle, for a non-toyota-owner.
For the more practical :
You can switch off and then turn the key back to pre-start to unlock the wheel. throwing the shifter into neutral won’t be good for your engine, but when it’s do or die time you have to make hard choices. screw up your engine or ram something.

DLC @11

I would expect the ignition computer would include a rev limiter, so the engine would not go above redline. However, the unburnt fuel in the exhaust (since the the rev limiter would be cutting the spark in and out) would not do the catalytic converter any good. I had a 1990 or 91 Corolla with a standard transmission and if you floored it in first gear, it would not just stop accelerating when the tachometer reached redline.

@Mephistopheles O’Brien: “2. Who drives a car clutch with a clutch anymore?”

Ahem. I do. I happen to LOVE my Suzuki SX4 with a manual transmission. I would hope to never to back to an automatic unless I absolutely have to. (besides, my motorcycles are manual transmission, too.)

oops..should have been “never go back”. Is Rev Big Dumb Chimp from Pharyngula around? I’m having typo issues.

Oh, I get what you are trying to tell atheists by posting here. Atheists=broken Toyota. I think. Man, that stings, we have feelings, you know.

maxh & meph: Hybrids don’t have clutches; it’s not an option.

Also, I’m HIGHLY suspicious of that guy’s story of his Prius going out of control and having to be stopped by a cop car. He could at least have slammed on the brake (which would be the expected panic-response, DUH); and it seems a VERY lucky coincidence that he was able to find, and steer, a path all the way onto a highway, with no margin for error, and without hitting anyone. I really don’t think you’d be so lucky where I drive — even if you were on a freeway when the accellerator first went haywire. (No, Virginia, most of those car-chase scenes you see on TV aren’t plausible either.)

Oh, and the Prius isn’t one of those Toyota models that even has the accelerator problem. The Prius has a BRAKE problem. This guy seems to have chosen the wrong car to BS with. HOAX FAIL.

Ignition key [and shifting to neutral] is just a software input. If the software is going BSOD it doesn’t make any difference.

Question: Have the known instances of accellerator malfunction been accompanied by inability to turn off the engine or shift into neutral?

I’m not a mechanical engineer, but from what I know about Toyota computers, acceleration and braking are handled by separate computers. On most cars tapping the brakes automatically cuts the throttle, but not Toyotas.

What this means is that to get both a stuck accelerator and a failed brake system requires two simultaneous system failures. Now, this can happen, but it will be very very rare. Maybe once per decade all across the United States, I’d hand-wave.


Well, my now deceased Celica was manual transmission and I thought I’d never go automatic. However, according to J. D. Powers and Associates manual transmissions account for 8-10% of new car sales. This suggests that the advice “Depress clutch pedal.” is worthless to 90% of drivers.

Raging Bee,

As a long time Prius owner, I’m glad to finally find out where the clutch went (I thought about cutting the brake pedal in half to create a clutch pedal, but decided against it).

“Lazy Americans should drive a manual car like everyone else”

I live in San Francisco. We’d have smog worse than Beijing from burning clutches if everyone had to do manual hill starts here.

(some) cars have had religion since the 70’s at least…

when IMUS in the MORNING was preaching for the Plastic Jesus on the Dashboard, available by mail order from the…

FIRST CHURCH OF THE GOOEY DEATH, and DISCOUNT HOUSE OF WORSHIP, if I recall correctly. Actual mileage may vary.

Of course, and I may be mistaken, but the alternative choice was the 1973 4 door RAMBLER Agnostic Sedan.

any ordained used car dealers out there that can help here?

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