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Car hits a person giving directions while reversing

May 2021

Examples of accidents & crash tests

Mix-up between brake and gas pedals

Sktech car hits a person giving directions while reversing

Sequence of events:
A 79-year-old car driver was backing out of her driveway. Due to the poor visibility, she was receiving directions from a second person on the other side of the road to help with the backup procedure. The car (which had an automatic transmission) accelerated backward suddenly, hitting the person stood on the opposite sidewalk who had been helping the driver to back up. This person was crushed between the car and the wall of some steps.

Persons involved in the accident:
Car driver and pedestrian

Consequences/injuries:
The pedestrian was fatally injured.

Cause/problem:
The technical inspection of the automatic car revealed no signs of any defects that could explain the sudden acceleration. Furthermore, the mirrors were set correctly and it was possible to activate the vehicle backup camera, so the driver should have been able to see both the wall and the person helping her to back up. It is presumed that either the 79-year-old driver mixed up her brake and gas pedals, or her foot slipped off the brake pedal while she was backing up.

Avoidance measures, mitigation of consequences/ strategy for road safety measures:
Regular health checkups, an honest appraisal of one’s own cognitive and physical abilities, and listening to advice from family and friends regarding one’s ability to drive safely can help with such situations.

People providing directions to maneuvering vehicles or helping to keep them safe should never stand directly behind or in front of the vehicle in question.

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