Sunday, March 14, 2010

Top 5 Myths About Prius Runaway Acceleration

SNL Prius Ad Spoof

Tales of runaway Prius acceleration make for good late night comedy sketches, like this week's ad spoof from Saturday Night Live. But the truth is that the chances of Prius drivers experiencing unintended acceleration are extremely rare.

1Myth: Toyota vehicles, like the Prius, put drivers at a high risk.

Fact: Carnegie Mellon University Professor Paul Fischbeck, a risk expert, calculated the risk of driving a recalled Toyota and found that the accelerator problem increases the driving risk by 2 percent�which is already very low. In other words, the chance of dying in a year because of the accelerator problem is about two in a million. This is the same as flipping 19 coins one time each and getting 19 heads. Fischbeck says that you are almost 20 times more likely to die while walking than driving a recalled Toyota.

National Public Radio reported that you are 30 times more likely to get hit by lightning than you are to die in a crash involving a Toyota with a sticky gas pedal.

So, the chances of driving a runaway Prius are extremely unlikely. But still, what if it happens? The remaining myths and facts come from, a website dedicated to racing news.

2Myth: In the event you encounter a runaway vehicle, the first thing you should do is to turn off the ignition.

Fact: No, the first thing a driver should do is to put the transmission in Neutral. A driver can place the Prius in Neutral by moving the shift lever to the �SN⬝ position�to the left side of the shift gate, and hold it there for a second. This separates the driveline from the wheels, and gives the driver instant speed control over the vehicle, and allows the driver time to assess what is happening. Shifting into Neutral at full throttle will not damage the engine.

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