That habitual harbinger of doom, the Daily Mail, has finally pushed me over the edge.
I hate the fact that this paper (which makes a speciality of fuelling our anxieties) has taken to encouraging Toyota owners not to drive their cars, apparently because their lives are at risk.
I’ve rarely heard such twaddle. The clear inference is that the recalled cars have been incompetently built, whereas the reverse is true. Today’s cars — especially Toyotas — are made with better attention to quality, safety and durability than ever before. But they’ll never be perfect.
There’s an argument that says some fault lies with the operators. Despite the increasing complexity today’s cars — a response to market demands — they have become extremely simple to operate.
The user no longer needs a scintilla of mechanical sympathy or technical awareness, to the extent that some drivers’ knowledge of what’s going on may well have fallen below a dangerous threshold.
If you were driving a car over some weeks, and its throttle return grew gradually weaker, would you, as a car-aware Autocar reader, drive on until it finally stuck open? Of course not.
You’d consult the dealer and do something about it. If your throttle did stick open, wouldn’t you know enough about a car’s mechanicals to declutch and get on the brakes? Well, of course you would.
But there are evidently people who know so little about driving that they’re incapable of making these connections. Should these people be put in charge of an alleged “lethal weapon” at all?
My feeling is that this controversy has been raging regardless of common sense. The sensible, obvious procedure for Toyota owners is clear: if your throttle isn’t returning slowly, you’re in no danger. Accept the recall if offered.
Meanwhile, drive happily onward (as we are doing in our iQ and Prius) and be strictly resolute about not reading the Daily Mail.