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What To Do If Your RV Runs Away From You

Photo Courtesy of RVTravel

I’m sure we all remember the awful California incident of unintended acceleration. A state trooper, along with his family, were killed when the car’s accelerator pedal was held down by misaligned floor mats. Though the trooper was driving a passenger vehicle, that doesn’t mean that this can’t happen while driving our Minnesota RVs.

There are many ways the floor mats can become unaligned, and luckily there are several preventative steps we can take to keep our RVs from experiencing a similar issue.

  • Always make sure your floor mat is properly positioned and secured by hooks or fasteners.
  • Recheck the position of the floor mats after every car wash or service visit.
  • Never stack heavy rubber winter mats on top of carpet mats. Remove the carpeted mats from the car and attach the winter ones to the retaining hooks or clips.
  • Avoid using aftermarket floor mats that don’t connect to the retaining clips in your car unless they provide some other reliable retention method. Rubberized treads on the bottom are insufficient because they wear down over time and become ineffective.
  • Always use floor mats cut specifically for your make and model of car. In the crash that killed the trooper, the mats were too large for the car they were in.
  • Test the throttle pedal clearance by hand, making sure the mat stays clear of the bottom edge of the pedal as it moves all the way to the floor. This is particularly important in cars that have top-hinged pedals.
  • If there is any doubt, take the floor mats out. A floor mat in the trunk cannot interfere with the throttle pedal.

In the unfortunate case this happens to you, there are several steps you can take to bring your RV to a safe stop.

  • If possible, reach down and pull back the floor mat to dislodge it from the accelerator pedal. Then pull over and stop the vehicle to inspect it before continuing.
  • Insert your shoe behind the gas pedal and pull it up from behind. This can release a throttle held down by a mat or a defective pedal return spring.
  • If these steps don’t correct the situation, shift the transmission into Neutral (N) and then brake to a stop. Be prepared to hear the sound of the engine revving loudly. This does not mean the car is going faster, only that the engine is disengaged from the transmission. It could also damage the engine, but this is a matter of personal safety, so it is unavoidable.
  • If you’re unable to put the vehicle in Neutral, turn the engine off, or to ACC. Without the engine running, power assist will be lost so it will be much harder to turn the steering wheel and apply the brakes.
  • If these steps don’t work, firmly and steadily step on the brake pedal with both feet. Do NOT pump the brake pedal repeatedly, as this will increase the effort required to slow the vehicle.
  • If the vehicle is equipped with a key ignition, turn the ignition key to the ACC position to turn off the engine. Do NOT remove the key from the ignition, as this will lock the steering wheel and you will not be able to turn.
  • If the vehicle is equipped with an engine start/stop button, manufacturers have different procedures to shut off the engine while it is in Drive. Check your owner’s manual next time you get in your car for which method it uses. For example, some carmakers require you to firmly and steadily push the button for at least 3 seconds to turn off the engine. Others require you to press the button three times in succession.

Pleasureland RV strongly recommends you take preventative action to avoid having this problem. It’s also a good idea to take your RV out to a vacant parking lot and practice the steps mentioned above. Safe travels, Minnesota!

[Source: Edmunds.com]

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