There has been almost a panic created by the media over the recent “stuck accelerator pedals” in various Toyota vehicles. Just this week in San Diego, an older gentleman called 911 with an out of control Prius and drew the CHP to his rescue. It has also been suggested that in some of these cases, the incidents were not because of a stuck pedal, but due to driver error or even mis-aligned floor mats.
Regardless of the cause, when something like this happens, the worst thing to do is panic! The simplest, safest thing to do is to simply put the car in neutral, turn on your flashers, and coast to the side of the road as soon as possible. This will not hurt your transmission. When the car is in neutral, you still have your braking and steering power, so you will be able to guide your vehicle to a safe place and use the brakes to stop. Shutting off the ignition is not recommended as then your steering and braking capabilities are gone. A recent Washington Post article and an October 2009 Consumer Reports article discuss these issues in more detail.
Hopefully, something like this will never happen to you, but if it does, just remember: put both your emotions and your car in neutral!