Chase Weir and the tale about the runaway Ford

AiR

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You may not have heard about Chase Weir before but he garnered quite some attention in the big country down under where all the dangerous animals live.

??Oh my God, oh my God, I?m going to die,?? the 22-year-old Melbourne man tells Sergeant Marnie Goldsmith, believing he was about to smash into oncoming traffic.

Mr Weir initially sounds afraid but calm as says, ??I can?t stop my car??.

He explains he is travelling at 100km/hr but when he applies the brakes can only slow the vehicle to 80km/hr.

Sergeant Goldsmith urges him not to panic but when her advice to pull into the emergency lane of the Eastern Freeway and turn off the engine fails, Mr Weir?s voice becomes increasingly anxious.

??Just listen Chase, it?s nothing to freak about, you?re on the freeway, it?s a long freeway,?? she says.

But as Mr Weir passes Burwood Highway he tells her Sergeant Goldsmith he is about to die.

??Holy shit, oh f---,?? he says.

??I just went on to the wrong side of the wrong ... the f----- traffic.??

Since pasting the rest would look like shit you'll just have to go and read it yourself on the source: http://smh.drive.com.au/motor-news/...atic-triple0-tape-released-20091215-kuk8.html. Basically he survived.

The follow-up from today:
Mr Weir insists he tried everything to bring his runaway car to heel. He related how he tried to "jump'' on the brakes, shift to neutral and kill the ignition. In the end, he stopped the car by scraping over the highway divide and yanking the hand brake.

"I guess criticism will come in any situation,'' he said yesterday. "In a plane crash everyone criticises the pilot. But I know I did everything I could.'' His account is supported by Victorian Police Sergeant Marnie Goldsmith, who took Mr Weir's panicked 000 call and talked him through the 100kmph saga. "He did an excellent job. Whatever we asked of him to do, he did,'' she said

Others though, aren't so sure. "Totally ridiculous,'' posted one Herald Sun reader. "Surely the handbrake should have been able to stop his vehicle sooner.'' "Why not rip it out of gear to neutral or turn the engine off,'' said another. "Sounds like rubbish to me, bang it into neutral and come gently to a stop'' said Mick of Walkerville. "I bet he didn't try to prod the accelerator,'' chimed Peter of Melbourne. Their scepticism was shared by the RACV's foremost car expert, chief vehicles engineer Michael Case.

Mr Weir said he tried to shift the 2002 Explorer into neutral but the car was frozen in gear. Mr Case said he could think of no mechanical explanation for this.
"I think it needs to be verified,'' he said. "He is claiming he couldn't physically move it to neutral. It sounds most unusual. I am not saying it didn't happen but it is very hard to see how it could have.''

"I have been in the industry a long time and we hear all sorts of things but I can confidently say, I have never heard of that happening before.''
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/new...-a-known-problem/story-e6frg6nf-1225811468014

What do the backseat drivers at FG say about this? I have severe doubts about Weirs driving capability, altough I suppose he could be the victim of a set of amazing circumstances. But I doubt it.
 
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Clegko

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It sounds like a normal human being who was freaked out when his throttle, apparently, got a bit stuck. Maybe he had a weird shifter, which did get slightly stuck. Or, if he was driving a stick shift, he forgot to press the clutch in. Who knows. Humans do weird shit when we're high on adrenaline.
 

Blind_Io

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Any word on the floormats?

It certainly sounds unusual, the 2002 Explorer isn't exactly the most sophisticated vehicle. It has a regular key for the ignition and an ordinary slushbox transmission. The engine isn't particularly powerful and it comes standard with 4 wheel disc brakes if I recall.

One difficulty might be the floor-mounted e-brake (at least I think that's where it is on that model year), but that shouldn't stop the driver from using it. It may result in control problems if the rear locks up, but since the Explorer is RWD in normal driving it would certainly stop the vehicle.

I'm going to reserve judgment until the car is examined for malfunctions. As they said in the article, it sounds like a combination of failures happened to precipitate the runaway. It's much like a plane crash, very rarely is it only one factor or failure that causes a crash.
 

Hatmouse

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I don't like modern automatics with complicated gate patterns. For an auto, give me a straight gate with no thinking required anyday.

Now I'm not sure if the Explorer uses a straight gate, a crazy pattern, or even a column shifter, but I'm just saying this in general.
 
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Blind_Io

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Column shifter, floor e-brake.

Still, it's not hard to shift to neutral, just slap that shifter straight up.
 

gaasc

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however, would you remember to do that while in panic, i don't think so. This is remarkably similar to a old case in which a woman in the U.S was driving a red Jetta when the pedal jammed and drove 100 miles or so.

When panic pops out you don't think, props to the guy for how he stopped, in the jetta case she just kept on going till she ran out of fuel.
 
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prizrak

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I will also reserver judgement until some examination data is available. If the guy did everything the operator told him to and was unable to stop the car there maybe something wrong with it mechanically.
 

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Yeah, Explorers have a mechanical throttle and a direct-connect column shifter. There's no mechanical reason why dude shouldn't have been able to slap the car into neutral and ride the brakes.

Now, Ford cruise controls have been known to get 'stuck' in the on position from time to time and ignore the brake switch that's supposed to cancel cruise, so that's certainly possible. The age of the truck, 2002, means that he may also have one of the defective brake switches on the master cylinder (that causes fires) and if that's the case it's entirely possible the cruise control never got a signal to deactivate.

That said, most people the world over are idiots and unless they've been exhaustively trained on what to do in such an emergency, they will freak out/panic and 'thrash' about uselessly. Those that don't, often freeze up. Many people do not react well to nasty surprises; more importantly, people do not think about what to do in case of an emergency ahead of time. I think that something like this is probably responsible for the guy not being able to stop his car - he freaked out, hadn't thought of what to do ahead of time at all and in the stress of the moment his confused mind couldn't go through the steps necessary to figure out an effective course of action. This is the phenomenon that got a lot of US test pilots killed in the 50s and 60s before it was understood.

Moral of story: If you should find that you are one of the people who freeze or freak out under stress, learn what you should do in common car emergencies and practice it a lot so that it is easily accessed when you need it. Then practice it some more.

If you are not one of the people who freeze or freak out under stress, learn what to do and practice anyway. I am not one of the people who mentally locks up in an emergency (as I've found) but I still practice car failure drills and firearms failure drills. That way when I need them the skills are second nature.

As for how to handle this specific failure, there are multiple approaches. He should have been able to override the engine with the brakes, or by shifting into neutral but assuming he couldn't and that it was an automatic:

Get on straight stretch of road.
Turn car off for two seconds (count it, one-mississippi, two-mississippi), then turn the key back to the on position or better yet the accessory position. The engine should have stopped while the key was off, if not then try it again but leave it in off for a five-count. It will have stopped by then. The idea is to kill power to the engine long enough for it to spin down, then turn it back to the accessory or on position (but not restarting the engine) so that you can steer and the steering lock does not engage.
Steer the powerless car to the shoulder. This will be high physical effort as all power assists will not be working. Use both hands to turn the wheel and use both feet to depress the brake.
Get out of vehicle when it is safe and call for a tow truck. Do not attempt to operate the vehicle further until it is repaired.
 
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Hbriz

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I don't know whether it is important, but the Explorers we got in Australia didn't have a column shift auto, or a floor hand brake.
8_600.jpg

But either way, he probably will make a shedload of money for the story. Its been a strangely large story (its a bit of a slow news week), and it has made the news more than once.
 
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Spectre

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That doesn't look like a factory RHD production dash. Does Ford Aus take LHD trucks and convert them?
 

Blind_Io

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All the talk about not having power assist steering. I've driven cars with faulty power steering pumps and they are perfectly easy to handle at highway speeds, once you get down to <20mph they start to get heavy, but they are still manageable.

If this once incident is making the news so much, do you think that the editors or producers are Holden blokes?
 
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brydie76

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Column shifter, floor e-brake.

Still, it's not hard to shift to neutral, just slap that shifter straight up.

Have to remember this is Australia though, I've never seen a car less than 30 years old with a column shifter over here. More likely he had a "regular" auto-shift/manual shift in the center console area and the handbrake nearby. We Aussies have to keep everything similar and simple, too complicated otherwise :lol:

But yeah, I'm highly skeptical of the "I couldn't stop it" story. He was being escorted by an emergency services vehicle for most of the "ordeal" (and more than one for some parts) so there was little/no traffic within 10 metres of the car. On what is a mostly straight motorway. I'm pretty sure he could have turned the key completely off like Spectre described and coasted to a stop- on some of the areas of that motorway, he could have done that safely even with the steering locked.
 

Hbriz

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http://media.theage.com.au/national/national-news/chase-weirs-000-call--part-1-976035.html?
Thats the emergencey call that has been released in the media. He does sound pretty genuine, but I'm skeptical. To not be able to do anything at all to stop the car, thats a bit rich.

That doesn't look like a factory RHD production dash. Does Ford Aus take LHD trucks and convert them?
I'm not sure, usually RHD American cars we get come from or are designed for the Japanese market.
 
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M_Bolc

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I drove a Ford once, the cruise control stuck on at full throttle.
I beleive him, I was lucky to be able to shift into neutral and stop with the engine revving of the rev limiter, but didn't care.

Will not drive a Ford with cruise control ever again!
 

Canuck

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however, would you remember to do that while in panic, i don't think so. This is remarkably similar to a old case in which a woman in the U.S was driving a red Jetta when the pedal jammed and drove 100 miles or so.

When panic pops out you don't think, props to the guy for how he stopped, in the jetta case she just kept on going till she ran out of fuel.

I feel like this would be a much smarter course of action than scraping your car along the divide? He had police escorts so it wasn't like he would crash if traffic bogged up.
 
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Jay

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I am thinking that he is trying to, after hearing about the Toyota debacle, cash in on fears of sudden acceleration. Let's pretend he is sick of his Ford, needs some money and is a good liar. In America, that is a lawsuit waiting to happen, and many lawyers would line up to represent him.

Then again I do not know how Australia is when it comes to civil trials and tort lawyers. Hopefully in regards to your tort laws you are very UNLIKE us.
 

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my dad is general manager of operations for 000 and his department have been looking into records of crashes with ford explorers and apparently this has happened on several different occasions in many different countries... i have heard the audio of this guy and the cop talking to him, its definitely legit In the end they stopped the car by having a truck run ahead of the explorer and brake slowly once the car locked onto the back of it, this eventually stalled the engine and he came to a stop. when he applied the handbrake the engine just revved higher to maintain speed.
 
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Dsemaj

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He didn't get fined or lose his license for driving while talking on a mobile phone? What a lunatic! He deserves to be locked up and have the key thrown away, the menace!
 

BerserkerCatSplat

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my dad is general manager of operations for 000 and his department have been looking into records of crashes with ford explorers and apparently this has happened on several different occasions in many different countries... i have heard the audio of this guy and the cop talking to him, its definitely legit In the end they stopped the car by having a truck run ahead of the explorer and brake slowly once the car locked onto the back of it, this eventually stalled the engine and he came to a stop. when he applied the handbrake the engine just revved higher to maintain speed.

I can understand why a stuck CC could cause the engine to keep revving, but there's still no reason he could not shift into Neutral or shut the engine off in a vehicle with mechanical-linkage controls.
 
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