A completely bizarre accident yesterday, which saw a Tesla Model S veer straight into a sign at Tesla's Fremont factory and store, was the result of a driver slamming on the accelerator instead of the brake, according to a witness at the scene. And, weirdly enough, they'd had the car for a while.
When we first saw the crash yesterday, the only primary witness account was from a person who said that they believed the driver was "someone who just got their car." Maybe they didn't know how it worked, or maybe they were distracted by the giant infotainment screen in the middle. It can happen in a lot of cars.
A lot of commenters cast doubt on that theory, however, specifically noting the HOV lane stickers attached to the car, which would imply that the owner had possession for at least two months, simply because of the lovely bureaucracy of the California DMV.
We received a tip from a witness at the scene who wished to remain anonymous this morning, and their account backs up those initial doubts. It wasn't someone who had too much champagne in anticipation of their new Model S, but someone who was simply trying to charge their car. And there was still plenty of human error involved:
The story I overheard from the woman who crashed was that she had turned in preparation to back into a supercharger, meant to throw it in reverse, but didn't, and then got "scared" when she hit the accelerator and started moving forward so she accidentally gunned it instead of jumping on the brake.
It was a stupid mistake, but it wasn't some alcohol induced delivery drama. It was someone who was legitimately scared who hit the wrong pedal.
Say what you will about hitting the wrong pedal, but it's actually a malady common to all cars, not just the Tesla Model S. Until we all hand control over to our new robot overlords, it's never going to be eradicated.