VIDEO: Does Putting A Runaway Prius Into Neutral Slow It Down?

As more reports of runaway Toyota Prius vehicles begin to pile up, there is an ever-widening chasm between those who ask “Why didn’t the driver just put the car into neutral?” and those who reply “Because it doesn’t work on a Prius.” Well, one series of incredibly interesting — but also entirely unscientific — road tests will likely only add fuel to the debate’s fire.

In a series of three videos done by the folks at Luscious Garage, a driver tests three frequently mentioned methods of bringing a runaway Prius back to manageable speed.

First up is putting the car into neutral. To test the efficacy of doing this, the driver takes her Prius out onto a highway and pushes the accelerator to the floor. After a few seconds, she taps the gearshift into neutral… and the car begins to slow down.

In the second video, the tester attempts to slam on the brake while the accelerator is floored. It appears as if the car recognizes that she is applying the brake and the engine ceases to rev.

For her final experiment, the driver once again floors the accelerator and then turns the engine off using the push-button ignition. And again, the result is successful in slowing the car down, though it appears to make it difficult to control the car.

Obviously some will point to these videos as proof that any of these three techniques could have ended Monday’s runaway Prius incident in California. But it is worth pointing out that the driver in that situation claims to have slammed on the brake to no avail, implying that at least one of these three solutions didn’t work for him.


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