Nancy Bernstein feels lucky to be alive after her Toyota Prius kept accelerating, no matter how hard she hit the brakes.

"The car's going about 70 miles an hour. And I'm beginning to get scared because it's not slowing down," she said.

Nancy was finally able to bring her car to a stop without injury. But the brakes of her car were completely burnt out.

At Consumer Reports', test-track engineer Jake Fisher simulates a sudden unintended acceleration. Even though the brakes are fully engaged, he can't stop the car.

"As hard as we put our foot on the brake, the car slowed down a lot, but wouldn't come to a complete stop," he said.

And Consumer Reports' analysis of US government data from the 2008 model year shows that sudden-acceleration incidents aren't limited to one manufacturer.

Over 40 per cent of sudden-acceleration complaints involve Toyotas. Ford is second, with 28 per cent, and other companies also had complaints.

But it is possible to design a car where the brake can bring the car to a stop.

"Some manufacturers, particularly European companies, offer a technology called Smart Throttle. This allows the brake pedal to override the accelerator," Jeff Bartlett said.

"And this is technology that Toyota will be looking to add to production in the near future, as well as retrofit to some existing models.

In Canada, Toyota has announced a "safety improvement campaign" to reconfigure the gas pedal on specific model years of the Prius, the Tacoma and Tundra pickups.

It will reconfigure the gas pedal and add a brake override on the Lexus IS 250 and IS 350.

It will also reconfigure the gas pedal, add the brake override and increase space between the gas pedal and floor in Camry, Avalon and Lexus 350 models.

While Consumer Reports says the risk of sudden acceleration is low, it's important to know what to do. Apply the brakes firmly, and put the car in neutral without taking your foot off the brake.

The engine will rev but you'll be able to bring the car to a stop and turn it off.

By following this advice, you can do your best to come through it safe and sound.

Toyota and Transport Canada say the problem is caused by floor mats sliding forward and trapping the gas pedal.

So use the floor mat clips and never put a winter floor mat on top of the existing floor mat -- there isn't enough space.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Chris Olsen