The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is taking active measures to help reduce the number of pedal error accidents across the nation, which occur with alarming frequency. Mistaking the accelerator for the brake is a common occurrence, leaving drivers mere seconds to react and hit the brakes. Unfortunately, experts say that majority of motorists act one of two ways when such a mistake occurs: they either start pumping the gas pedal or hit it even harder, making the problem even worse. During these fleeting seconds, drivers are typically too panicked or confused to know what to do.
Statistics on pedal error crashes in the U.S. are not encouraging; the NHTSA says that roughly 16,000 preventable accidents happen every year on our nation’s roadways – this breaks down to almost 50 crashes a day. These accidents often result in serious harm to vehicle occupants, pedestrians, other motorists, not to mention property. In light of these grim numbers, the NHTSA released a safety advisory to help prevent pedal error accidents, and bring attention to such an important hazard.
Edelman, Krasin & Jaye hope that increased awareness and preventive measures will reduce the number of needless car accidents and tragedies arising from pedal errors here in New York. As veteran Long Island car accident attorneys, our firm has a keen understanding of the devastating emotional, physical and financial burdens suffered by accident victims. If you or a loved one has been harmed in a crash and you believe pedal error on the part of the other driver was to blame, you may have legal rights to compensation.
How to avoid a pedal error accident
According to a study by the NHTSA, pedal error accidents are more likely to occur in drivers under the age of 20 or those over the age of 65. Pedal errors may happen when the driver’s foot accidentally slips off the brake onto the gas pedal, or when the gas pedal is mistaken for the brake. In either situation, this results in rapid vehicle acceleration, usually at full-throttle, with little opportunity to slow the car down. Research shows that accidents related to pedal errors typically occur when traveling at slow speeds, when motorists are backing out of driveways or maneuvering in parking lots.
Highway exit ramps and intersections are also common sites for these crashes, since frequent braking is often needed.
In order to avoid preventable accidents from pedal error, the NHTSA offers the following tips:
- Get familiar with your vehicle–If you are about to drive a new vehicle, adjust your mirrors and seat and get familiar with the feel and location of both the brake and accelerator pedals.
- Use the middle of the brake– Muscle memory is important when driving; always aim for the middle of your brake pedal when driving to avoid slippage and error.
- Be alert when backing out or pulling into parking spaces.
- Stay focused–Distractions such as cell phones and in-vehicle devices are a recipe for disaster. Stay 100 percent focused on your driving until your car is parked and the engine turned off.
- Wear the right shoes –High heels, flip flops and other footwear without flat soles can hamper your ability to safely operate a car. Try and avoid heavy boots and wear flat-soled shoes when driving.
Help filing a pedal error accident lawsuit on Long Island
Long Island residents who suspect their accident was caused by another driver’s pedal error are encouraged to seek legal counsel right away. You may be eligible for monetary damages to account for your car’s damage, medical bills, lost income and other related losses.
Call Edelman, Krasin & Jaye at 1.800.469.7429 to learn more about filing a car accident lawsuit on Long Island.
- NHTSA, NHTSA Safety Advisory: Reducing crashes caused by pedal error http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/2015/nhtsa-pedal-error-safety-advisory
- LA Times, Control Unlikely After Pedal Error, Expert Says http://articles.latimes.com/2006/sep/29/local/me-weller29