The latest incident in California was a chilling echo of the incident last August where off-duty California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor was killed along with his wife, her brother and the Saylors' 13-year-old daughter when the accelerator of the Lexus ES350 they were in got stuck.
Minutes later, the Toyota-manufactured vehicle slammed into the back of a sport utility vehicle at about 100mph, veered off the freeway, overturned and burst into flames. All four family members died."
Ok, most of us have heard the latest Toyota horror stories. Now, just in case this happens to you (even if you don't drive a Toyota)... emergency steps to be able to come to a stop in the event of an accelerator pedal malfunction.
Shut off your engine. You will lose power steering immediately, but this isn't critical at speed since power steering only works at low speeds (usually under 30kph/20mph). You will lose braking power as well, but only after 1-2 hard stomps. Shutting off the car will allow you to coast to a stop without going through some police chase scene avoiding traffic.
Once your car's engine is off, and you use up the remaining hydraulic pressure in your brakes... your car should be slow enough to be able to use your emergency brake (hand brake).
Forget the damage it will do to your engine. Forget that your brakes will probably burn out. Priority is survival. You will do far less damage by shutting of your engine, than by crashing into something.
**Just a special note for newer BMW owners with the keyless entry option, to do an emergency engine shut off, press the START button 3 times, or hold it down til the engine shuts off**