Throttle Control Malfunction
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“The Vehicle Got Away from Me”
We have all heard stories about runaway vehicles that accelerate uncontrollably and collide with other vehicles, crash into buildings or run people over. The circumstances often sound familiar and are sometimes tragic. The vehicle accelerates for no apparent reason and the driver is said to have been rendered helpless in an out-of-control machine. It seems as if a demon has taken control of the vehicle. Although such episodes do happen, the actual malfunction of the vehicle leading to unintentional acceleration is less common than one would think.
To get a grasp on the demon and the out-of-control machine, it is best to first gain an understanding as to how the speed of a vehicle is controlled. The ways that speed is controlled can be complicated, but—fortunately—can be condensed to a few basic concepts. Once the basic concepts are understood, the approaches taken in investigating a sudden acceleration incident can also be better appreciated.