Monday, April 11, 2011

Mistaking the accelerator for the brake

There's a show on TV at the moment called 'Destroyed In Seconds' which is a showcase of exactly what its name implies. One of the staples of this program is cars running into store fronts, down steps, up lamp posts etc. In every case, the excuse given by the driver is that they mistook the accelerator for the brake.
I must admit I'm mystified by this. The pedals are in a different place, they're a different shape and size, and the back pressure is different on them. I'm honestly not sure how people can genuinely do this. In most of these cases, I reckon it's actually distraction. People think they've moved their foot to the brake when they haven't, then step on the gas. Even then I wonder how it's possible that they don't realise what's going on and swap to the brake.
Have you ever done this? And what was the cause?


Vlado said...

Well this obviously happens to some people, because I have also seen movies with people accelerating instead of braking and then crashing (several times in some cases). And I also remember one of your previous articles about Toyota and the "sticking" gas pedal :). But I really cannot understand how this could happen. I mean those are reflexes that are formed in the first days when driving. It's like riding a bicycle - you cannot forget it. I never saw someone fall of the bike and say - "Oh, sorry. I just forgot how to ride for a second"

jeanfromcornwall said...

Seems to me it happens quite often to elderly people. Elderly people have quite often been put on statins by their doctors. Statins can often cause peripheral neuropathy. That means loss of sensation in hands and feet. Am I on to something? Statins can also cause unaccountable lapses of memory - the sort of thing that really could make someone forget how to ride a bike in mid journey.

Sorry, it is a bit of an issue for me - bad experiences.