The Real WTF



  • Two items:

    1. Heard on the news last night: a woman in a prius was speeding at 94mph. A police cruiser pulled along side. She yelled to them that the car was going fast on its own and she couldn't slow it down. They yelled back to step on the brake pedal. Toyota is sending a field rep out to look at the car and see what happened.

    Ok, Toyota screwed up on how they handled the defective gas pedal assembly (they weren't the only ones who issued a recall on the issue because multiple manufacturers bought it from the same supplier). But honestly, this idiot had a license and didn't think to STEP ON THE BRAKE PEDAL to slow the car down!!? IMHO, TRWTF is the licensing agency that gives these idiots a license.

    2. A friend has two homes with mortgages and is constantly complaining he can't afford both mortgages. Now he's applying for a home equity loan on one of the places so he'll have the money he needs to make the mortgage payments. When I queried how he was going to afford both mortgages PLUS the heloc, he explained that he'd be able to use the money he'd get on the heloc for that.

    Yeah, the banks went wild lending to anyone for any reason with no collateral or assurance of repayments, and they need to be reined in, but come on, how f'g stupid are these people that agree to take these loans?

    </rant>

     



  • @snoofle said:

    Two items:

    1. Heard on the news last night: a woman in a prius was speeding at 94mph. A police cruiser pulled along side. She yelled to them that the car was going fast on its own and she couldn't slow it down. They yelled back to step on the brake pedal. Toyota is sending a field rep out to look at the car and see what happened.

    Ok, Toyota screwed up on how they handled the defective gas pedal assembly (they weren't the only ones who issued a recall on the issue because multiple manufacturers bought it from the same supplier). But honestly, this idiot had a license and didn't think to STEP ON THE BRAKE PEDAL to slow the car down!!? IMHO, TRWTF is the licensing agency that gives these idiots a license.

    Not only that, but don't cars also have gears? I've not driven a Prius, but can you not put it in neutral?



  • Yes you can put it in neutral.

    There was one story where a woman tried to push through all the gears, including reverse; modern cars have some sort of way of preventing it from actually engaging in reverse if you have any significant forward speed, but how TF did she get from drive to reverse without going through neutral? But she had time to grab her cell and call her husband, because she "wanted to hear his voice". *gasp*

     



  • @dcardani said:

    @snoofle said:

    Two items:

    1. Heard on the news last night: a woman in a prius was speeding at 94mph. A police cruiser pulled along side. She yelled to them that the car was going fast on its own and she couldn't slow it down. They yelled back to step on the brake pedal. Toyota is sending a field rep out to look at the car and see what happened.

    Ok, Toyota screwed up on how they handled the defective gas pedal assembly (they weren't the only ones who issued a recall on the issue because multiple manufacturers bought it from the same supplier). But honestly, this idiot had a license and didn't think to STEP ON THE BRAKE PEDAL to slow the car down!!? IMHO, TRWTF is the licensing agency that gives these idiots a license.

    Not only that, but don't cars also have gears? I've not driven a Prius, but can you not put it in neutral?

    Well, according to an actual news source, all of those things were indeed tried. So I think Snoofle was being a bit unfair.



  • @dcardani re news source.

    Sorry - I don't buy all of that.  When I first got my license (more than 30 years ago), I accidentally jammed the mat down on the pedal and the car took off (it was a very fast'72 plymouth fury III - the one New York City was using for police cars at the time). As a completely inexperienced driver, it took me 1 second to realize the car was taking off on it's own, get it in neutral and then while the engine was racing, I got it stopped and killed the engine. And that car was a hell of a lot more powerful than any prius.

    In order for those events to have happened the way they were described, the following all had to happen simultaneously:

    • the throttle had to stick
    • the brakes were inadequate (they were working if they were burning)
    • the emergency/parking brake couldn't slow it down no matter how hard you engaged it (on my camry it can lock the wheels at 60mph)
    • the car won't shift into neutral
    • turning the key won't shut off the engine
    • the car wouldn't go into a lower gear ratio (ok, a prius is a cvt, but still, it has neutral)

    Parenthetically, are you telling me that the engine on a prius is that powerful? I've driven one and I wouldn't exactly describe it as zippy.

    I get that there's something wrong with the cars, but that you can't stop a car at full throttle? Sorry, but there's ALWAYS a way.

     

     



  • @snoofle said:

    94mph
     

    How fast is that ?



  • @snoofle said:

    2. A friend has two homes with mortgages and is constantly complaining he can't afford both mortgages. Now he's applying for a home equity loan on one of the places so he'll have the money he needs to make the mortgage payments. When I queried how he was going to afford both mortgages PLUS the heloc, he explained that he'd be able to use the money he'd get on the heloc for that.

     

    You know, I did something sort of similar to this.  Got a relatively high fixed-rate mortgage, so after the interest rates crashed, I took out a home equity loan at a much lower rate, which is basically working as a free grace period/balance transfer.

    Of course in practice the money is flowing through several channels - investments returning a lot more than the 4% APR interest payments on the LOC - but my point is that under some circumstances it might not be quite as retarded as you think.  You don't pay interest on a LOC until you actually withdraw from it, so factor in the time value of money and the huge gap between risk-free interest and low-risk (i.e. dividend) investments and it can actually work in your favour.



  • @snoofle said:

    @dcardani re news source.

    Sorry - I don't buy all of that.  When I first got my license (more than 30 years ago), I accidentally jammed the mat down on the pedal and the car took off (it was a very fast'72 plymouth fury III - the one New York City was using for police cars at the time). As a completely inexperienced driver, it took me 1 second to realize the car was taking off on it's own, get it in neutral and then while the engine was racing, I got it stopped and killed the engine. And that car was a hell of a lot more powerful than any prius.

    In order for those events to have happened the way they were described, the following all had to happen simultaneously:

    1. the throttle had to stick
    2. the brakes were inadequate (they were working if they were burning)
    3. the emergency/parking brake couldn't slow it down no matter how hard you engaged it (on my camry it can lock the wheels at 60mph)
    4. the car won't shift into neutral
    5. turning the key won't shut off the engine
    6. the car wouldn't go into a lower gear ratio (ok, a prius is a cvt, but still, it has neutral)

    Parenthetically, are you telling me that the engine on a prius is that powerful? I've driven one and I wouldn't exactly describe it as zippy.

    I get that there's something wrong with the cars, but that you can't stop a car at full throttle? Sorry, but there's ALWAYS a way.

    1. Apparently that's the problem with these cars 
    2. Apparently they can't stop the car at 94 mph, maybe due to some system preventing them to overheat?
    3. See 2
    4. I think Prius prevents you from shifing into any gear that could damage the engine or gearbox.
    5. It has a push button that you need to push for several seconds to turn the car off, if it's going over a certain speed, when standing still it turns the car of immediately. Therefore pushing it doesn't seem to have an effect in this scenario.
    6. See 4.
    What I understand from discussions elsewhere is that these cars are trying to be smart and helpful, but in this unforseen scenario, they end up preventing you to stop, unless you've read the manual and know to push the start button for several seconds. It's not your fourty year old Plymouth.


  • @Monkios said:

    @snoofle said:

    94mph
     

    How fast is that ?

    1.4016950361068365335748332599131e-7c



  • This Toyota thing has a huge psychosomatic element now that it's been on the news so much. Every crazy person in a Toyota is going to start thinking their cars are out of control for no reason at all.



  • @RogerWilco said:

    In order for those events to have happened the way they were described, the following all had to happen simultaneously:


    1. the throttle had to stick
    2. the brakes were inadequate (they were working if they were burning)
    3. the emergency/parking brake couldn't slow it down no matter how hard you engaged it (on my camry it can lock the wheels at 60mph)
    4. the car won't shift into neutral
    5. turning the key won't shut off the engine
    6. the car wouldn't go into a lower gear ratio (ok, a prius is a cvt, but still, it has neutral)

    Parenthetically, are you telling me that the engine on a prius is that powerful? I've driven one and I wouldn't exactly describe it as zippy.

    Well, sorta...

    1. The throttle is computer controlled.  So no, it didn't need to stick.  The computer just needed to get into a stuck state.
    2. No.  The brakes are computer controlled as well (They use regenerative braking, so the computer controls the physical brakes)
    3. The emergency brake has enough power to stop a car going 90.  But not cancel out acceleration.  Take a FWD car out, and while stopped engage the parking brake.  Then floor the throttle.  I bet you can get the car to move...
    4. The transmission is controlled by the same computer that the throttle and brakes are...
    5. The "key" is controlled by the very same computer (Start seeing a pattern here?)
    6. The transmission is controlled by the computer.
    So while yes, a lot of systems do need to fail for something like this to happen, since all those systems have a common point of failure, only one system (the computer) needs to screw up to screw up each one of them...  

    TRWTF is that Toyota relied on one computer for [b]EVERY[/b] critical system.  At absolute least, the throttle and the brakes should have been controlled by different systems (that communicated via a link and used heartbeat to detect "failure")...



  • Occurs to me that by now there might be large numbers of Toyota drivers who have worked out that they can get away with speeding, just as long as they don't slow down for the police and then claim the accelerator was stuck...



  • @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    Occurs to me that by now there might be large numbers of Toyota drivers who have worked out that they can get away with speeding, just as long as they don't slow down for the police and then claim the accelerator was stuck...
    Good idea, but better hit a few pedestrians, just to really sell it.



  • @snoofle said:

    Yes you can put it in neutral.

    There was one story where a woman tried to push through all the gears, including reverse; modern cars have some sort of way of preventing it from actually engaging in reverse if you have any significant forward speed, but how TF did she get from drive to reverse without going through neutral? But she had time to grab her cell and call her husband, because she "wanted to hear his voice". *gasp*

     

     

     

    How about turning off the ignition (even on electric cars that kills the engine).

     

    Ok here is a list of steps to take if your gas pedal is stuck:

     

    1) Hit the breaks.

    2) Put the car in neutral.

    2.a) Apply hand break.

    3) If 2 failed, Apply hand break (may cause damage)

    4)Turn off ignition (do not engage stearing wheel lock)

    4.a) Hold on tight, power stearing is gone.

    5) If all else fails, call 911 ask for a police car to get in front and help you stop.

    5.a) Use any railings to scrape ur car to going slower so at least you buy yourself some time.

    6) If that fails ask police to pierce your gas tank so you run out of gas fast.

    Unfortunately 5/6 will require time that you might not have. However I don't know how 4 will fail.

     

    Now how is that not a no-brainer for anyone? Seriously? We need this as part of the PERMIT written test.

    If breaks are not working and gas is stuck how do you stop the car ASAP. If the answer is not satisfactory, go fuck off. Reminds me of a married with children episode when Al goes to the DMV and they handing out licenses to the blind.

     

    Also a response to this all being controled by a computer.

     

    A computer is not magical, one function failed causing uncontrolable acceleration. That does not mean the other parts are not working. There is no AI trying to kill you disablign all systems at once. I doubt that there is ever a situation where you can't kill the car's ignition.



  • @astonerbum said:

    How about turning off the ignition (even on electric cars that kills the engine).
     

    Actually, you're not familiar with a lot of the newer electric cars, are you?  Most of the new cars don't have a physical connection from the ignition key to the engine.  Older cars (really old) used to have a ground wire connected to the magneto.  When you turned the key to off, the magneto was grounded (and hence spark couldn't possibly be generated).  Then when they moved to electronic ignition, power to the ignition coil was controlled by the switch.  But with hybrids it is different.  The computer controlls the engine (So the engine can turn on and off without your intervention).  So all turning the key off does is trigger an interupt in the computer.  It's up to the computer to actually turn everything off (that's where this issue stems from).  And for the transmission shift part, a significant number of new cars (most hybrids) don't have ANY mechanical linkage between the transmission and the shifter.  It's all controlled by the computer.  So if the root cause of the issue is a computer fault, items 1 through 4 won't work.  The only hope you have is to try to apply the parking brake SLOWLY (As to not lock up the rear wheels and lose control of the car) and keep trying to hit the power switch hoping that it will shut off...  Either that, or stick with vehicles that are made with some level of redundancy (My VW has a manual connection to the transmission)...



  • @astonerbum said:

    Ok here is a list of steps to take if your gas pedal is stuck:

    You left one out:

    0) Quickly assess if the pedal's just stuck down and you can easily free it by getting the tip of your toe under and lifting it back up.  If you're in a manual, clutch out while you do so.

    As it happens, that's the only one I've ever needed.




  • One more simple one: open all the windows. The wind resistance will slow you down a good bit with constant power at any sort of speed.

    Considering the Prius is partly electric, do you think turning the stereo up saps power? "Honestly officer, the accelerator was stuck, and I turned the music way up to help me slow down." Could work.

    That said, if it's a computer fault, we all know the fix. Turn the car off, and back on again 🙂



  • @astonerbum said:

    How about turning off the ignition (even on electric cars that kills the engine).
    Not always. I've been in a Renault where turning off the ignition means pushing an electronic button. The key is a card which goes into a slot, but to be honest, it works just as well if the card is in your pocket, as long as the car can 'see' it. 

    Mercedes can be even better - they have a physical key (but it seems to be made of plastic). You start the engine as normal by turning the key, but you can sometimes remove the key and the engine keeps running.  Since the car also has full control over the gears (the gear stick is the "requested gear", and the car decides on the actual gear) and full control over the acceleration (cruise control), your pretty much at the mercy of the car's computer and you can't do anything about it if it goes tits up (apart from ripping the wires from the battery of course). Handbrake? Servo controlled via a electronic button, which refuses to work if you try and use it above a certain speed limit (I tried it in the snow, but it just flashed at me)



  • @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    One more simple one: open all the windows. The wind resistance will slow you down a good bit with constant power at any sort of speed.

    Considering the Prius is partly electric, do you think turning the stereo up saps power?

    Not significantly, but turning on the air con full blast will probably eat up a significant chunk of power.

    @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    That said, if it's a computer fault, we all know the fix. Turn the car off, and back on again 🙂

    But wouldn't you have to close all the open windows first? 😉

     



  • I think most drivers' first reaction to a car going faster than they intend is to begin to apply pressure to the brakes.  If the accelerator (computer) is stuck then moderate pressure on the brakes will probably be able to maintain the desired speed.  At this point, there is no emergency.  The driver is not concious of the stuck pedal or the length of time they have been holding the brake.

    Of course if this situation continues, the brakes are going to heat up and lose effectiveness.  The driver becomes concious of the increasing foot pressure required to hold the desired speed.  The driver tries to press harder on the pedal.  One interesting fact about the design of car brakes is that most people will use less than 50% of their "strength" to push on the pedal, even if they percieve an emergency such as a pedestrian in their path.  So in the hypothetical runaway situation, the driver is likely to be exerting enough pressure to slow down gently but not actually stop the runaway.

    At this point, the driver becomes concious of the emergency and does press on the brake pedal as hard as they can.  There is no time to consider an alternative course of action such as getting your foot off the brake and un-sticking the throttle.  However the brakes have probably heated up so much that they are no longer able to override the engine power.

    Now throw in a few electronic gizmos, such as "start button must be pressed for 4 seconds to stop the engine if the car is moving" and you will be very lucky to survive the accident.

    The Prius does have an hydraulic brake system which is not dependent on the computer or electric power.  There won't be any power assistance and the pedal travel will be large but it can be stopped under the test conditions specified in national roadworthiness rules.  Without power assistance and with an engine running at full throttle, I would not expect most people to have the strength to stop the car, but that test is not part of the roadworthiness specifications (if the engine is running, you expect that the power assistance would be active.)


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