While a Jeep Patriot may stop unexpectedly, the NHTSA has been receiving reports that old Ford Taurus and Mercury Sables have been experiencing the opposite problem—they can’t stop when you want them to.
According to 50 complaints sent to the NHTSA, some of the cars are having issues with their throttles becoming stuck in the “on” position. Apparently, a break in the cruise control system can cause the speed control cable to stick and hold the throttle open by about 26%.
A security investigation is under way, covering in excess of 310,000 cars. The Taurus and Sables that seem to be affected are 2000-2003 models that use 4-valve, 3-liter V-6 Duratec engines. Ford says they are undergoing their own analysis in addition to the official one, and says that, until they determine the cause of the open throttles, they cannot advise car owners on the best safety procudures.
Fortunately, there have been no reported crashes or injuries yet, but should a throttle stick open, drivers should put the car in neutral and push as hard as they can on the brake to try to stop the car.