Freeman Cebu Business

Sudden Unintended Acceleration

ARE WE THERE YET? - Back Seat Driver - The Freeman

Recently making rounds (again) in the news is the subject of sudden unintended acceleration, or SUA. I do not intend to jump on the bandwagon and bash a certain water chestnut vehicle manufacturer for allegedly covering up the issue.  I also do not intend to defend the three caltrop manufacturer for the sole reason that they never return my calls when I call about road testing their vehicles. Am I sourgraping? No.  Well, not really.  Maybe just a bit.  Anyway, I digress.

SUA, for the benefit of those who’ve been living under a rock for the last 10 years, is the unintended, unexpected acceleration of a vehicle usually accompanied by the loss of braking capability.  Contrary to recent, popular belief, SUA happens more often than has been reported.

Statistics may show that SUA happens more often to automatic transmission vehicles than manual transmission vehicles.  The only reason why this may seem so is that automatic transmission vehicles are not as quick to disengage gears versus that of a manual transmission vehicle.  We all know that a vehicle in gear stays in gear until the driver steps on the clutch to allow the engine to disengage from the gear.  Without the benefit of a manual pedal clutch, automatic transmission vehicles would stay in gear.  That is, unless the driver knows how to disengage the engine from the gear; simply press the small knob at the side of the shifter and bang it onto “P” for park.  This move may kill the vehicle’s tranny, but it would save lives.  Unfortunately, most drivers are not taught how to do it in driving school.  Heck, nobody really learns anything, let alone something life-saving, in driving school.

What people do not know is that SUA happens a lot to manual transmission vehicles.  Ever had that moment when forget that your vehicle is actually in gear and you suddenly release the clutch?  That, my friend, is SUA.  Well, kinda.  It’s the driver’s error kind of SUA.  Fortunately for manual transmission vehicles, the acceleration is only enough for the vehicle to lurch forward and run the distance of the power of one gear.  That, or the driver, on instinct, would step on both brake and clutch to stop the forward progress of the vehicle.

That’s why, as hellish as it is when dealing with the worsening traffic situation of the metropolis, I wouldn’t trade my manual tranny jalopy for any of the fancy, new, auto-trannied vehicles out in the market today.

In all seriousness, SUA can happen to anyone at anytime, regardless of transmission type.  You don’t have to be driving a particular make or model to be a probable victim of SUA.  You just have to be educated on how to react if, heaven forbid, you ever get into that situation.  It is just unfortunate that the water chestnut company is at the heart of this current controversy.  Whether it is a fluke design flaw on a batch that was manufactured, or it was really the fault of an external factor (human or otherwise), it would be best to know how to handle SUA’s.

Oh, and having your vehicle checked regularly by a mechanic helps too.  And do make sure to wash your vehicle regularly.  Contrary to what an “expert” said, washing your vehicle is not a factor that causes SUA.












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