Sudden Unintended Acceleration: Causes and Solutions

Acceleration works like fire – a cruel master and a good servant. Acceleration can be joyful, but when you don’t want to, it can turn into a nightmare. Sudden unintended acceleration is the most deadly defect in the history of automation.

It happens when the car’s electronics cause the throttle to expand wide open. It makes it difficult for the driver to return the car to idle if it remains in gear.

Further, it severely limits the ability of the brakes to bring the vehicle under control – leaving the driver at the mercy of a fast running uncontrollable car.

Millions of people injure and die because of a suddenly accelerated vehicle issue, in today’s world.

What Causes Unintended Acceleration?

The primary reason for sudden unintended acceleration while braking is the malfunction in the electronics, controlling the vehicle’s power train.

The cases of the throttle control mechanism have risen to a next level since the introduction of throttle control mechanism in modern vehicles.

Indubitably, advancement in vehicles has made the cars safer, but the modern electronics increase its complexity. However, the possibility of malfunction remains high and sudden acceleration is still a major issue to deal with.

When does Sudden Unintended Acceleration Occur?

Reasons for sudden unintended acceleration
Sudden unintended acceleration can cause car breakdown (Photo source: Depositphotos)

There is nothing fixed – a sudden acceleration can happen anytime. Because of certain design changes in vehicle electronics, most accidents happen when the vehicle is under way.

Shifting gears, disengaging the cruise control, applying brakes, etc. gives rise to sudden acceleration. These common conditions cause a disturbance in the electrical current that prompts a dangerous malfunction.

Solutions For The Sudden Unintended Acceleration

Controlling the car with sudden unintended acceleration requires some knowledge – it may not be possible for a neophyte. Here are some ways to deal with it:

1. Use Brakes

Although, it is a natural reaction, yet using the throttle emergency is imperative to use brakes as hard as possible. Do not keep pumping the pedal instead keep it steady.

The brakes will need more force than usual, so, muster more force than you can. The car won’t slow down at a normal speed but brakes are more powerful than the car’s engine, so eventually, the brakes will win.

2. Shift to Neutral

This is the best option in an emergency. In case, the throttle is wide open, the engine might alarm high. Do not worry about throbbing the motor as most electronic limiters comes with automatic spinning, which controls the disturbance due to the sudden shift.

3. Turn off the Engine

All about sudden unintended acceleration
Ways to stop sudden unintended acceleration (Photo:

By now, your car is well under control. But to be safe, shut off the engines. Some modern cars have push-button starters, which you may have to hold for 2-3 seconds to stop the engine.

While doing so, be careful as the break-pedal pressure may slightly increase. In order to maintain safety, pull the car off the road and call for help.


FAQs on Sudden Unintended Acceleration (SUA)

  1. How can I prevent Sudden Unintended Acceleration?

To reduce the risk of SUA, ensure regular vehicle maintenance, promptly address any warning lights or unusual behaviors in your vehicle, and be attentive to recalls or safety-related notices issued by the manufacturer.

  1. What should I do if my vehicle experiences SUA?

If your vehicle suddenly accelerates uncontrollably, prioritize safety. Shift into neutral, apply the brakes firmly, and steer to a safe location.

Turn off the engine only if it’s safe to do so. Seek immediate professional inspection and report the incident to the manufacturer and relevant authorities.

  1. Are there recalls related to SUA?

Manufacturers occasionally issue recalls related to Sudden Unintended Acceleration concerns. Stay informed about recalls by regularly checking the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website or contacting your vehicle manufacturer.

  1. Can Sudden Unintended Acceleration be caused by driver error?

Yes, in some cases, these incidents can be attributed to driver error, such as pedal misapplication, where the driver mistakenly presses the accelerator instead of the brake pedal. Proper driver training and attentiveness are essential for preventing such errors.

  1. Are there any legal actions or lawsuits related to SUA?

There have been legal actions and lawsuits involving the incidents against vehicle manufacturers.

These cases often seek compensation for damages related to accidents allegedly caused by SUA. Consult with legal professionals for specific information on ongoing cases.

  1. How are manufacturers addressing Sudden Unintended Acceleration concerns?

Manufacturers continuously work to enhance vehicle safety and address these concerns through improved technology, design, and rigorous testing. They may also issue recalls and implement software updates or modifications when necessary.

  1. Is there technology to prevent SUA?

Modern vehicles are equipped with safety features like brake override systems and electronic throttle control that can help mitigate incidents. 

However, no technology can guarantee absolute prevention, so driver awareness and maintenance remain crucial.

  1. Where can I report a suspected Sudden Unintended Acceleration incident?

If you experience or suspect a Sudden Unintended Acceleration incident, report it to the vehicle manufacturer, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and your local authorities. This helps ensure proper investigation and potential resolution of the issue.

Check out this video from Scotty Kilmer to learn how to stop unexpected car acceleration!

Overall, to win a sudden unintended acceleration situation, do not panic and stay calm. To face the dangerous situation, gather professional knowledge and learn some more tips. After all, safety comes first!