Sun | Dec 5, 2021

What to do if your ACCELERATOR gets stuck

Published:Sunday | November 7, 2021 | 12:05 AMPaul Glenroy Messam - Contributor

A stuck accelerator is crisis. What would you do if your accelerator got stuck? Would you panic, get frantic or get busy? Well, try to remain calm. What is the accelerator? The accelerator is the pedal in a motor vehicle that the driver presses with his foot, to make the vehicle go faster. Your accelerator is stuck if the engine does not return to idling speed when you release the accelerator. Your car will continue at the same speed.

A wadded floor mat can also cause the accelerator pedal to stick. However, auto mechanic Kirk Harding says, “A more serious cause is a broken spring. If the spring breaks, the accelerator opens completely and stays open, the pedal may be flat on the floor,” he adds.

It is interesting to further note that while driving at a steady speed, in most cases, there is no warning that something might be wrong with the accelerator. The driver must therefore try to bring the car under control once he realises that something is wrong. The auto mechanic offers some useful tips:

Step 1: Apply the brakes: This is the normal action that you are already prepared to take for a stop or turn.

Step 2: Choose an escape route and continue braking to control the car.

Step 3: Shift to neutral – Depress the clutch with a manual transmission. The engine will race faster, but power will be removed from the wheels. You can do the same for an automatic transmission, but the engine can be damaged. Nonetheless, a collision may be avoided.

Step 4: Communicate your emergency to other drivers with horn or emergency flashers. Follow the path you selected to a safe place, off the road.

Step 5: Turn off the ignition as soon as you are safely off the road and do not change directions. Stop the vehicle and secure it immediately.

Remember, if you are in a low-traffic area, you may try to unstick the accelerator while driving. Put your toe under the accelerator pedal and lift. If there is another person in the car, you can ask him or her to help you. Do not tap the accelerator while driving, as it might stick further down and cause the car to go even faster. While driving, never reach down with your hand to lift the pedal, because you cannot drive safely from this position.

Now, from a stopped position, apply the following techniques:

A. Put your toe or hand under the accelerator and lift.

B. Tap the accelerator repeatedly to clear it.

C. Remove any obstruction, like a wadded floor mat.

D. After unsticking the accelerator, you should test it with the engine running and the car parked, before you drive again. If the problem is a broken spring, do not drive it until it is repaired. Lifting the accelerator pedal will not correct the problem.