Thursday, August 11, 2011

Habits Are Hard To Break

I recently had the opportunity to drive and review a Chevy Volt. During the week I had it, I used it as much as possible, including driving friends around.

One fine Friday afternoon, a nameless friend and I were driving from an afternoon of shopping to meet our husbands for dinner. As I was driving, we chatted about the car and its features. I bemoaned the lack of chargers plug ins, and she asked for more details. As I shared my frustration with having my phone plugged into the back of the car, as opposed to the other alternative of the top of the dashboard with cords and phone hanging down from there, she nodded sympathetically.

I thought the conversation was over, driving 45 miles per hour (the speed limit, mind you) the car suddenly jerked and slowed a good twenty miles per hour. I looked briefly panicked at the dashboard to ensure there were no warning lights or engines blown or anything that I'd done to break my loaner vehicle. I hadn't.

My friend was sitting in the passenger seat, looking around her, quite perplexed. Fortunately, I figured out our problem within seconds - somehow. I'm still not sure how I figured it out.

Erm. Yeah, she'd accidentally pulled the parking brake. Which is exactly where the power cord would normally plug in. And I sorta get why. After all, the button is in that place, a parking brake isn't usually a button like that, and the button did have a "P" on it, albeit with the circles around it that denote parking brake in car symbol language. Fortunately, I'd done this myself - in the parking lot when getting familiar with the car, so I could easily and quickly press the button again to turn off the parking brake and return to normal speed.

Not quite understanding what had happened, my friend simply looked at me. "What? Why did you slam on your brakes like that? I don't see a deer or anything, and there aren't any cars in front of us..."

I burst out laughing. It was several minutes before I could explain the parking brake issue to her. She was indignant, insisting that I tell everyone that it isn't her who was stupid, it was the car. I won't judge... but I will laugh.

And umm GM, I promise, no damage was done. Promise. And it's probably not the first (or last) time this has happened. That said, I don't recommend pulling the parking brake while driving 45 miles per hour. I'm guessing it isn't part of the recommended maintenance.

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Tara R. August 12, 2011 at 4:34 PM  

I'm impressed you figured out the problem. I would still have the parking brake on. Still an odd placement for the brake.

Joanna Jenkins August 12, 2011 at 10:06 PM  

Lucky you to get a test drive :-)

The brake is in a very strange place and I'm guessing you're not the first people to have that problem. If I owned the car I'd need to put a big red sticker on the button so I wouldn't touch it.

Cheers, jj

Melisa with one S August 12, 2011 at 10:47 PM  

That would've scared the crud out of me. EEK!

septembermom August 13, 2011 at 11:14 AM  

Whoa! That would have freaked me out. I'm not going near that car.

Pat August 13, 2011 at 2:14 PM  

How frightening! I hope GM takes note of that problem. It's a good thing you knew just what to do.

Not a Perfect Mom August 14, 2011 at 8:19 PM  

ha! totally something I would have done!
and awesome review opp!

Heather E August 15, 2011 at 5:56 AM  

I am laughing so hard cause I've always wanted to pull a parking break while going the speed limit. Random spot for that parking break though. Seriously.

Michelle August 15, 2011 at 10:18 PM  

Tara - Welllll again, since I'd done it myself already, that gave me a bit of a clue ;)

Joanna - So lucky, and it was so fun! I'm guessing that no we weren't the first ones the have the issue. Oops.

Melisa - Oh, it did. I thought I broke their car at first!

Kelly - It's not something to make you avoid the car. C'mon, you can still drive it. It was just a special ummm feature :)

Pat - I don't know if they consider it a problem or not. I'm guessing if you live somewhere with lots of hills, that's a really convenient spot for the parking brake.

Holly - Ummm yeah. Me, too. Obviously! And yeah, it was fun. I loved driving a car so unique and different like this.

Heather - Go for it. Apparently it doesn't break the car. Though you might want to try it with a rental car just in case. And when you're sure no one is behind you!

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