Earlier this month I had a frightening and painful experience while driving.
I always leave more room than most people seem to leave when they roll up on other cars stopping in city traffic, so this afternoon I was sitting more than a car length behind a car full of teenagers when my vehicle suddenly went haywire. My car was fully stopped in drive gear, my right foot was firmly on the brake, my hands were at my customary 2 and 10 o'clock, when suddenly my 2003 Hyundai Elantra just went rouge. The throttle* went full on, the Hyundai roared then leapt up and down against my old right foot. The car was trying to launch at 100 mph, and the only thing holding it back was my old, right foot. That mechanical bucking against my foot hurt a lot but I dare not let go of it because my car kept inching up on the car ahead of me. The force even cracked up my leg and against my right hip so badly that it still hurts weeks later.
I kept mashing the brake into the floor but the Hyundai kept bucking against me, revving like crazy, and blue smoke fumed from underneath. The kids in front of me swiveled around to look at me with surprise and smiles, they thought I was playing when actually I was doing my best not to ram into them. I shifted from drive to neutral to reverse and back without results, the Hyundai continued to leap and roar. I slammed the gearshift into park and pulled the key. My car was quelled, after twenty seconds that seemed like a proverbial eternity it stopped.. I was afraid to start it up again, but I did so that I could drive directly to my car repair garage. I asked them to check for tampering. There are still a lot of unanswered questions in this episode.
My favorite auto repair shop gave my car back to me running sweet and true, smooth as silk, and the bill was not bad.
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* throttle [ˈTHrädl] has numerous meanings, primary among which is:
a device controlling the flow of fuel or power to an engine.
Example: "the engines were at full throttle"
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Alternatively: "When a car's distributor cap becomes faulty, the sequence of the functions of the engine will become out of order and will begin to fail. This can cause the car to have higher revolutions per minute, shake while idling, produce a high-pitched squealing noise and even begin to stall or backfire."
Caption: Faulty Throttle
collage by Annmarie Throckmorton 2019