How safe is your car?

Are sticky floor mats to blame?: Not likely.
Are sticky floor mats to blame?: Not likely.Courtesy Ian Hampton

There's been a lot of news lately about "unintended acceleration" -- cars suddenly gaining high speed and drivers unable to stop them. Some observers question whether the problem lies with the car or with the driver. But whatever the cause, unintended acceleration is a deadly danger to the driving public.

Or is it?

Popular Mechanics crunched the numbers. They found unintended acceleration causes 3.2 deaths per year. This compares to:

  • 1,550 deaths caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel
  • 6,000 deaths from distracted driving -- texting, cell phone use, etc.
  • 7,400 traffic deaths attributable to bad weather
  • about 11,800 deaths every year due to drunken driving

If you find your car accelerating, slam on the brakes, throw it into neutral, and steer to the side of the road. But don't waste time worrying about it. Instead, you should spend your effort avoiding bad weather, distractions, and above all not driving under the influence.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I see this a definate reality check. This really puts things in perspective. We need to realize cars ar epotentially dangerous, manintain them the best we can, and simply drive safely!

posted on Thu, 03/25/2010 - 3:00pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I don't think sticky mats are to blame. I'd blame it on the driver... o.o :D

posted on Tue, 04/26/2011 - 11:56am
knighttony13's picture
knighttony13 says:

for me it can also be the car's problem. maybe the car is not in condition for traveling but still the driver pushed it to its limits. my buick is not that brand new but i always make sure to check buick problems online so i can fix it ahead of time just to avoid accidents like this.

posted on Tue, 09/03/2013 - 11:16pm
nicoleclark's picture
nicoleclark says:

Unintended acceleration is a serious problem and can cause severe car crashes. Though the actual problem is still unknown that creates more trouble in finding some particular solution. This problem can be solved by safety driving and being alert while driving. Another important point is getting your car checked time to time.

posted on Sat, 03/02/2013 - 7:00am
brenna madvig's picture
brenna madvig says:

not as safe as u think

posted on Sat, 03/02/2013 - 1:03pm
Neil's picture
Neil says:

with the growing use of electronics in cars, it is not impossible to have an electronic malfunction that is malfunctioning ocassionally, and be difficult to find. a good place to start is the cruise control, hard to diagnose but yet is the only functioning throttle control that has no driver input exept to engage by pushing a button.

posted on Sun, 03/03/2013 - 1:25pm
walkera40's picture
walkera40 says:

When we are using a car then we should be knowing about its performances and other features of it. When we accelerate our car it should be in normal acceleration otherwise it could lead to trouble. So it is better when our car is accelerating we should first apply brakes then bring it to neutral. If the acceleration is not controlled then it could lead to a very severe accident.

posted on Thu, 04/11/2013 - 4:47am
Peter Mould's picture

That is absolutely true. First avoid as much as possible all the preventable causes such as drink driving, texting while driving and so on. If the situation becomes inevitable, then you should immediately execute the safety measures like braking and going to neutral to control the condition. After which, quickly proceed to your car workshop once it is safe to drive. Is the car brand a factor that affects unintended acceleration? Perhaps high quality automaker brands like BMW has lower (or zero) rates of such technical faults.

posted on Thu, 07/11/2013 - 2:54am
Ualee 's picture
Ualee says:

if a car had strong brakes it wouldnt break or crash

posted on Mon, 11/11/2013 - 3:45pm
Safest Cars in India's picture

I think you should check all the needed things before you take a car ride, this could avoid accidents. And its every individuals responsibility that they should avoid late nights driving or drinking while driving its not only of your life but also of people outside the car.

posted on Sat, 03/22/2014 - 2:24am
fred46's picture
fred46 says:

Well said Gene! It's true that car driving is very much risky as there is a chance of accident on road. The article says about "unintended acceleration" which is a horrible situation at driving. Driver can't control the car. There are many reasons behind it like brake failure, engine failure, acceleration problem etc. To avoid such type of condition, cars must be serviced properly in an authorized service center.

posted on Fri, 08/01/2014 - 1:47am
richardbailey's picture
richardbailey says:

Every day we have found some uncertain news from different source regarding car crash or accidents; therefore we should aware of the current condition of our car. Before driving we need to go through manual checking such as; brakes, gear systems, oil, engine system and many other minor things. It will help us to deal with different possible odd situations; we should understand our car and keep regular maintenance at every regular interval.
BMW repair shop Addison, TX

posted on Wed, 08/13/2014 - 1:04am
Grace C. Kelly 's picture
Grace C. Kelly says:

I heard on the news that smaller cars are more dangerous

posted on Wed, 08/20/2014 - 12:26pm
denis_smith's picture
denis_smith says:

A small advice:
First, don't buy a small car. They are much less safe!
Second, find out about the safety of the car in online magazines, you can find huge information on the subject + ratings.

posted on Thu, 09/11/2014 - 3:25am

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