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Toyota and the Decline of Driving

March 19th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Dear Toyota,

I am sorry. I am sorry that you have to sell your cars to a society that no longer knows how to to drive. I am sorry that there is somebody that exists out there that would sit back and let a car take them up to 90 MPH without realizing there is more a brake pedal and a gas pedal available to them. The fact that nobody had enough common sense to put the car in neutral, or even turn off the engine while that car sped up escapes me. I am also sorry that we hand out drivers licenses to anybody who asks for one and performs a 3 point turn…once.

This is not a complete pity party because the Toyota ABS does in fact suck. My wife and I have an 2008 FJ Cruiser, and last weekend I drove a friends 2005 4 Runner. Both vehicles experience the same crappy experience in the snow, which I can reproduce for you once the snow returns. Add a slight inclined hill and speed under 15 MPH, hit the brakes, and the car will not stop. The ABS goes through some sort of seizure maneuver and actually feels like it speeds up the vehicle by ignoring the next 5 seconds of input from the sensors. It may not seem significant at slow speeds, but on snowy roads, it means you are in the intersection if you don’t react to the braking failure. I realize these vehicles haven’t made the recall list…yet.

No two vehicles ever have the same experience driving. The first snowfall of the year we took the FJ Cruiser out and learned how it was going to react. Although we weren’t thrilled about the lack of ABS at low speeds, we modified our expectations and driving patterns to adjust.

Perhaps it is your fault for making the Prius too easy to drive. You have started to feed a condition that seems to be sweeping across america like an epidemic.

I was grateful to hear that you stood up for yourselves this week, disputing the claims from James Sikes regarding his runaway car…for 30 miles.

While it will be difficult to ever identify what really happened that day, I can tell you with confidence that it was not driving.

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