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What Toyota and I Have in Common February 24, 2010

Posted by Jill Renee in : Just Jill , trackback

The top story in the news the last few days has revolved around the Toyota car company and its failure to address a very dangerous and scary problem with the accelerators in many of its vehicles. I have watched like hundreds of thousands of others but I do not have to wonder what it would feel like being behind the wheel in a runaway car.

Twenty one years ago, I was driving from Virginia to upstate New York in my new Mercury marquis four door sedan.  I had two children in the back seat in their car seats and my grandmother in the passenger seat next to me.  One was three, one was 18 months old and the other was 75. It was a beautiful sunny day and the drive had been going great. Both children were happy and all was calm. I usually took the scenic route because we made lots of stops along the way at the little shops and restaurants. This made the trip much more bearable for the kids. Lots of treasures to be found along highway 15!

One of the drawbacks of taking the scenic route is that you occasionally get behind some very slow moving vehicles like farm equipment. If you are patient passing zones are dotted along the way and you can easily get by these slow movers. This was the exact scenario that I encountered. Once I accelerated and passed the tractor I eased back into the right lane, I took my foot off the gas but the car continued to pick up speed. I looked at the speedometer and it was at 90 mph. I hit the brakes and it was creeping up to 100 mph. Now you must understand I did not even know my mercury could hit 100 mph!  My grandmother gave me a look and knew something was wrong. BIG TIME. We exchanged words back and forth in a frantic manner.  Eventually I put the car in neutral, hit emergency and regular brakes and we slowed down.

This ordeal was pure terror. My thoughts were for my small children and my poor grandmother who would surely die with me in a fiery ball of metal. I think of all the people who experienced this same thing in their Toyota’s and wonder about the ones who might not have been so lucky and perhaps the accident has been chalked off to driver error. I too was told by the mechanics at Ford that either the floor mat or a stuck accelerator was to blame for my terrifying trip. I could never quite accept this. I traded in that mercury a few months later. I never felt safe in it again.


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