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Hopefully somebody knows the answer to this, or will at least believe me. I have a 2011 Sport with around 20,000. Second time I drove the car. I had just left my house, and had to turn around because I forgot my phone. I pulled up my extremely steep driveway and left the car running as I ran inside. I was inside for 30 seconds, heard a noise, thought something fell in closet. Out the glass door i see my car in my wooden steps. It accelerated from my driveway about 10 feet of flat ground. The problem is, it all happened so quickly I am not sure if the car was left in drive or park. I just backed it up to check the damage. I am quite an honest person but my in laws own a used car place, and say its impossible. They dont believe I was inside the house, and think I'm embarrassed I drove into the stairs. I want to prove them wrong. I am looking at the Hill Start Assist Control, The Downhill Assist control, obviously the unintended acceleration, the smart stop. A combination of them? Any thoughts?
Thanks
 

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Hopefully somebody knows the answer to this, or will at least believe me. I have a 2011 Sport with around 20,000. Second time I drove the car. I had just left my house, and had to turn around because I forgot my phone. I pulled up my extremely steep driveway and left the car running as I ran inside. I was inside for 30 seconds, heard a noise, thought something fell in closet. Out the glass door i see my car in my wooden steps. It accelerated from my driveway about 10 feet of flat ground. The problem is, it all happened so quickly I am not sure if the car was left in drive or park. I just backed it up to check the damage. I am quite an honest person but my in laws own a used car place, and say its impossible. They dont believe I was inside the house, and think I'm embarrassed I drove into the stairs. I want to prove them wrong. I am looking at the Hill Start Assist Control, The Downhill Assist control, obviously the unintended acceleration, the smart stop. A combination of them? Any thoughts?
Thanks
The RAV4 HAD to have been in Drive to be able to get enough momentum to "crash through" anything within 10 feet on flat ground without outside influence.

No question about it, as in Park it would have been impossible for the vehicle to move forward at all under any independent conditions. In neutral it *may* have rolled, but in 10 feet on flat ground there wouldn't have been enough momentum to do any damage.

It is 100% clear that this is either some form of operator error, or a fabrication, or likely both.

My inclination is to believe this because all kinds of warning chimes would have been sounding if you even just opened the door while in gear with the engine running.

Further, and most importantly, as soon as you let off the brake - even before getting out of the vehicle - on flat ground in gear with the engine running the car would have started rolling forward even at idle speed, which would have been impossible not to notice.

"The problem is, it all happened so quickly I am not sure if the car was left in drive or park." -- and what, when you got out there you didn't notice when you got in the RAV4 to back out to check the damage whether or not it was already in gear? Really?

Having the car running and in gear then leaving the vehicle under ANY circumstances is STILL operator error.

The only thing I can think of that could have remotely cause all that is if you were rear-ended hard enough to send the vehicle into the stairs, and the rear of the vehicle would have obvious damage to indicate if that happened.

Your experienced in-laws are right. No doubt about it.

.

(Shtrfm.)
 
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Dvs you are wrong on 1 point...if you push down on the brake after coming to a stop the hill start assist will engage and the brakes will hold the rav for 3 seconds or so and then release...my guess is the op was in a hurry and left it in gear...got out and ran inside...even at slow speed a 3800 pound car can hit very hard...as you said it is pretty much impossible to happen if the rav was in park...I do know that some of the full time 4 wheel drive systems on Jeeps will allow the Jeep to roll while in park, but only if it has a broken half axle...I chalk it up to operator error as well...
 

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I'm scared of you! Regardless of any other factors you left the car in Drive and got out ignoring any and all warnings.
Fix any damage and learn from it as I did once when I got out of my manual transmission '94 Accord and locked it w/o setting the parking brake. Watched it roll down the hill next to my house and get stopped by some brush which fortunately only scratched it up some and broke one light.
 

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Wait, so the OP is saying the car went up an "extremely steep driveway" all by itself with the engine at idle? I don't think it could do that even if left in drive with the parking brake released. It'd be much more likely to roll backward out of the driveway and into the street.

Sounds like a fake story to me.
 

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OP or someone from her family can simulate this exact situation and observe what happens.

In my 4.3. I4, it might hold still, move slowly forward or just back the hell down the driveway. All depends on the steepness.

I am not sure how a V6 behaves nor what the OP has.
 

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Only scenario I could think of is if OP had the car in drive and got out when there was a slight incline the car may have only been very slowly inching forward (maybe not even very noticeable) and by the time the car got up the incline (and op was already in the house) it was flat enough to get a little more speed (maybe 5mph) and hit the stairs.

Either way it was OP's fault for leaving the car and should replace the stairs regardless.
 

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He said the driveway was steep, but implied that it leveled off at the top where he stopped.
 

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You must have left it in gear. Be more careful in the future or you may injure or worse something more important than stairs.
 

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Agree with WJBertrand. Something appears fishy about this story. Accelerated on its own while standing in the driveway? Either it's fake, or very bad operator error.
 

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I ALWAYS engage the parking brake no matter if the car is running or shut off. When I leave the vehicle, it's in Park and the Parking Brake is always on....ALWAYS!

Sorry to hear of your accident, glad nobody was hurt! Any damage to the car?
 

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Was it in drive when you got back in to back it off the wood steps???? Had to be.
 

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Was it in drive when you got back in to back it off the wood steps???? Had to be.
Agreed, but I think he was so shook he didn't notice.
 

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Anyone checked the stair repair forums? :wink
 
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