The woman with the runaway Kia Sorento
On Monday, NBC’s “Today” aired a video of Iowa’s Lori Ubelstad, who was flying down a Missouri Interstate at speeds reaching 120 mph in a Kia Sorento with a stuck accelerator pedal.
Wait a minute, I suggested skeptically while watching. Why not put it in neutral, or hit the brake and apply the parking brake at the same time? Or, if you’re on a straight stretch of road, simply turn it off and coast to a stop?
She was tearfully talking to a 911 operator on a cellphone during part of the 30-minute ordeal, caught on a state trooper’s dashboard video camera.
Eventually, Ubelstad got the car to stop by applying the brake and pulling up on the accelerator at the same time.
“I couldn’t do that,” my wife suggested. “I’d lose control because I wouldn’t be able to see over the dashboard while reaching for the accelerator.”
She’s short, so maybe she’s right.
Maybe I was being too skeptical and didn’t fully appreciate this woman’s plight. A story on caradvice.com, where you can see the video, says she also had called her husband, who works in an autobody shop, for advice. When he ran out of ideas, he told her to call 911. The caradvice.com story says police report that her brakes were burnt out, the gearbox failed and she couldn’t simply pull the ignition key because the car has a push-button starting system.
Well, if the brakes were burnt out, how did pushing on the brake while pulling up on the accelerator help stop it?
Ubelstad appeared today on “Today” and told her story. It reminds me of other stuck accelerator stories involving other car models in recent years.
Maybe all this technology is bound to fail in cars on rare occasions. After all, has the computer you’re reading this on ever gone haywire?