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Solutions To A Driving Nightmare: A Stuck Accelerator

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Dramatic video of a woman unable to stop her speeding car had us wondering: What do you do in the same situation?

Lauri Ulvestad was driving up Interstate-35 when she said her accelerator got stuck last weekend.

Dash-cam video from an Iowa State Patrol trooper’s car shows Ulvestad flying through traffic, in and around cars, and even on the Interstate shoulder while going more than a 100 mph.

Panic set it, as she tried to keep from crashing.

“My foot isn’t even on the accelerator,” she said. The emergency brake is on all the way. I’m trying to move the brake, but yet it’s not working.”

Situations like this are rare, but there’s one goal to remember.

“You’re trying to really cut power to the transmission,” said Lt. Eric Roeske, of the Minnesota State Patrol. You can do this by putting the car in neutral.

“And you can just stop like you normally would,” he said. “Regardless of the ignition system, putting the vehicle in neutral should disengage any power to the wheels.”

You can also turn off the ignition with your key.

“The motor just stops,” he said. “The vehicle is just gliding. I can still steer. I can still use my brakes to pull to the side of the road.”

He added: “Those are probably two of the most reliable things a person can do.”

It’s best to check with the vehicle manufacturer if a key fob or push-button starts your car, Roeske said. He also recommended practicing the technique in a vacant parking lot.

The Iowa State Patrol told Ulvestad to lift the accelerator and push on the brake while she sped up the Interstate. It worked!

After covering 59 miles, she slowed and finally stopped southwest of Des Moines.

“I don’t know what officer it was, but I hugged him,” she said. “And I said ‘I’m safe! I’m safe! I’m safe! I’m safe! I’m safe!’”

It was the end to a frantic 35 minutes.

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