NHTSA Safety Advisory on Pedal Error
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently issued a safety advisory about pedal error crashes. Although most people use their brakes and accelerators without incident every day, pedal error actually accounts for approximately 16,000 preventable crashes each year. Even at relatively low speeds, in parking lot settings, pedal error presents a huge safety risk to passenger vehicle occupants, other motorists, pedestrians and property.
Pedal Error Crashes
Pedal error crashes can happen in a few different ways. First, the driver might mistakenly hit the accelerator when he or she means to hit the brakes. Second, the driver’s foot slips off of the brake and onto the accelerator. This is a common problem when drivers are wearing inappropriate shoes for driving. Although many of these pedal error crashes occur initially at low speeds, if you stomp down on the accelerator like it’s a brake pedal, you and everybody around you could be in serious trouble. These wrecks frequently happen in parking lots. When somebody drives through the front of a store, house or restaurant, it’s usually a case of pedal error. The NHTSA has a variety of tips for reducing the chances of a pedal error crash.
Preventing Pedal Error Crashes
- Get Familiar- Adjust your seat, mirrors, steering wheel and pedals (if you can) properly before you start driving. This is especially important if you’re in a car you’re not familiar with.
- Aim for the Middle- Always aim for the middle of the pedal when you apply the brakes. This will help to reinforce muscle memory on the proper location of the pedal and reduce the chance of error.
- Avoid Distractions- Always keep your focus on the task of driving. This includes when you’re shifting into park or turning the engine on or off in a parking lot.
- Be Cautious- Proceed with caution when pulling into and out of parking lots and spaces.
- Wear the Right Shoes- Light-weight shoes with flat soles are the best choice for drivers. Flip flops, heavy boots and high heels can increase the chances for having a pedal error crash.
After a Pedal Error Crash
Pedal error crashes are completely preventable. If you or somebody you love has been injured in a crash due to pedal error, contact a skilled personal injury legal team.