Monday, 20 February 2017

Miracle on the Parkway

Last week my car tried to kill me, but it didn't try very hard.

When we were at school one of the older boys died on a motorbike when the throttle stuck open. Toyota had widespread problems with un-demanded acceleration and some of the victims had enough time to telephone their loved ones before their high speed crashes.

I've never dared to say it out loud, but I've always wondered whether they had burned their brakes out and whether they had put it into neutral. I immodestly suspected that I would be able to cope with the same emergency.

On Wednesday I got the chance to find out in my kit car. I was on the A38 overtaking a tractor. I was in 4th gear with the throttle wide open. I probably started the maneuver at 60mph and realised that something was wrong at 80mph. I instinctively put my foot on the brakes and it did control the vehicle somewhat. The brakes could probably have overwhelmed the engine in 4th, but I had to press them hard and it sounded like it was going to be expensive. My next move was to put the clutch in. I was now in control of the vehicle but the engine was screaming and bouncing off the rev-limiter. Again I was worried about the financial implications so I carefully turned the key one position to the left. My car doesn't actually have a steering lock, but at the time I didn't remember that, and i was very keen not to engage one while driving at high speed.

I turned the hazard lights on and coasted to a halt in a junction.

The other 150 miles of the journey were very stressful because I didn't dare to open the throttle more than a crack and my hand was hovering next to the ignition key, but I got there safely.

Richard "All last night I sat on the lavvy alone" B



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