Dealing with Jammed Gas Pedal: What to Do and How to Avoid It

A jammed gas pedal, otherwise known as a stuck accelerator, refers to the situation where the gas pedal remains in a depressed position and fails to release. It is usually caused by mechanical issues such as a bunched-up floor mat, a damaged throttle spring, or a dirty throttle cable. This issue is one of the leading causes of unintended acceleration, posing significant danger to drivers and other road users alike. 

A jammed gas pedal, especially while driving, is considered to be a serious emergency. To survive one while driving, the Land Transportation Office (LTO), via the Land Transportation Management System (LTMS) portal, offers several tips including staying calm, shifting the vehicle into neutral, and gently pressing the brakes to slow down. Pulling over to a safe stop and understanding that there are things that can be and cannot be done to address this mechanical issue can prevent potential accidents and keep safe on the road. With this guide, we will walk you through the necessary steps to safely manage a stuck accelerator, keeping you and others on the road safe.

dealing with jammed gas pedal driving

What is a Jammed Gas Pedal?

A jammed gas pedal is a malfunction where the accelerator gets stuck in a depressed position, preventing it from releasing. It refers to the situation where the pedal fails to return to its idle position, causing unintended acceleration. Usually, it occurs when there are mechanical issues such as a bunched-up floor mat, a damaged throttle spring, or a dirty throttle cable.

When the gas pedal gets stuck while you are driving, it involves a loss of control over the vehicle’s speed. This can be extremely dangerous, leading to potential accidents if not handled correctly. Immediate actions must be done to safely manage the situation and avoid accidents.

Why Your Gas Pedal Might Stick

A jammed gas pedal often happens due to mechanical issues. Common causes include:

  • Bunched-up floor mats: Floor mats can slide under the pedal, preventing it from moving freely.
  • Damaged throttle spring: This can cause the pedal to remain in a depressed position.
  • Dirty throttle cable: Debris can accumulate and obstruct the cable’s movement.
  • Deferred car maintenance: Neglecting regular vehicle maintenance can lead to various mechanical problems, including a stuck accelerator.

What to Do If Your Gas Pedal Sticks

Experiencing a jammed gas pedal while driving can be terrifying. Knowing what to do in this emergency situation can make all the difference. Whether you’re driving in the Philippines or anywhere else, these tips are helpful for your survival. 

So, if you ever find yourself in this situation, follow these steps:

Step 1. Don’t Panic

Stay calm. Panicking can lead to rash decisions that may worsen the situation.

Step 2. Maintain Control

Keep both hands on the steering wheel and turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers. This signals them to stay clear of your vehicle.

Step 3. Do Not Pump the Gas Pedal

Avoid pumping the pedal, as it can cause sudden acceleration. Instead, try to gently release it by sliding your foot under the pedal and lifting up.

Step 4. Shift to Neutral

This disengages the engine from the wheels, preventing further acceleration. 

Step 5. Use the Brakes

Gently press the brakes to slow down the vehicle. Avoid slamming on the brakes to prevent losing control.

Step 6. Pull Over Safely

Guide your vehicle to the side of the road and bring it to a complete stop.

Important! Do Not Turn Off the Engine

Turning off the engine while the car is in motion might seem like a good idea, but it can actually make the situation more dangerous. Shutting off the engine can disable power steering and brakes, making it harder to control the vehicle. As a result, you might lose the ability to steer effectively and stop the car safely.

This can increase the risk of an accident, especially if you’re driving at high speeds. Therefore, it’s necessary to keep the engine running while you shift to neutral and gradually bring the vehicle to a stop.

After the Incident

Once you’ve safely stopped the vehicle, it’s important to address the issue. To do this, you will need to do the following:

  • Refrain from Driving: Driving with a stuck accelerator is unsafe.
  • Call for Help: Contact a tow truck and have your car taken to a mechanic.
  • Get a Diagnosis: Have a professional diagnose and fix the issue to prevent future incidents.
  • Check for Recalls: Ensure there are no manufacturer recalls related to your vehicle’s accelerator.
  • Inspect Floor Mats: Make sure your floor mats are properly positioned and not interfering with the pedals.
  • Schedule Regular Maintenance: Keep up with routine vehicle maintenance to catch and fix potential problems early.
  • Stay Informed: Educate yourself on how to handle similar emergencies and keep your vehicle’s manual handy for reference.

Preventive Measures

Naturally, you can always avoid the trouble and risk. To do that, you simply need to make sure that you observe these preventive tips religiously:

  • Regular Maintenance: Regular maintenance is key to preventing a jammed gas pedal.
  • Routine Servicing: Make sure that your vehicle is serviced regularly and that components like the throttle and floor mats are checked routinely.
  • Clean Throttle Body: Keep the throttle body clean to prevent debris buildup that can cause sticking.
  • Check Floor Mats: Make sure floor mats are properly secured and not interfering with the pedals.
  • Monitor Throttle Response: Pay attention to how your gas pedal feels and responds, addressing any unusual stiffness or delay immediately.

Video: How to Deal with a Jammed Gas Pedal?

For more information on how to deal with jammed up gas pedal by watching this video from ExpertVillage Leaf Group;


Handling a jammed gas pedal requires calm and decisive action for safety. By understanding the causes and knowing how to respond, you can effectively manage this emergency situation. Regular maintenance and preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of experiencing a stuck accelerator. Always remember to stay safe on the road by prioritizing regular vehicle maintenance, keeping your vehicle in top condition, and being prepared for emergencies to avoid these situations altogether.

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