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Accidents Caused by Pedal Errors

Even the newest drivers know which pedal accelerates the car and which brakes the car. Nevertheless, pedal errors are a common and preventable form of automobile accident. Read on to learn more about how pedal error accidents occur.

Pedal errors describe an incident of mistakenly pressing the accelerator rather than the brake pedal. While this seems like an uncommon event, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that an estimated 16,000 accidents resulting from pedal errors occur each year. This number means that, on average, 44 accidents occur each day as a result of the driver confusing the gas for the brake.

Most often, pedal error accidents occur when drivers are traveling at low speeds, such as while driving in stop-and-go traffic or while driving through a parking lot, or when drivers accidentally press both pedals simultaneously. The groups most likely to be involved in these accidents are drivers under age 20 or over age 65. Whereas teen drivers’ brains are still developing, some older adults have begun to lose some of the mental sharpness that would allow them to quickly correct the error of pressing the wrong pedal. Additionally, older drivers may have begun to lose feeling in their extremities, preventing them from sensing which pedal they’re pressing. Older women are four times as likely to be involved in pedal error accidents than any other group.

The NHTSA offers several suggestions to reduce pedal error. First and foremost, do not drive while distracted. Second, always hit the brake in the center of the pedal, so as to ingrain the muscle memory of what it feels like to hit the pedal properly. Third, always wear lightweight, flat-soled shoes, and avoid flip-flops, heels, heavy boots, or other thick-soled shoes. Fourth, take time before getting behind the wheel to adjust the seat and mirrors to the optimal position, so that you can comfortably reach the pedals and see the road before you.

If you have been injured in an accident with a negligent driver, seek experienced, dedicated, and knowledgeable legal help in obtaining the compensation you deserve by contacting the Columbia personal injury lawyers at Peake & Fowler for a consultation, at 803-788-4370.