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Study examines gas pedal mistake accidents

Car accidents are caused by a number of things in the Seattle area. Among common reasons are driver negligence, including driving impaired or driving distracted, as well as external factors like road conditions or weather. Another driving mistake that results in car accidents is accidentally hitting the gas instead of the brake pedal.

While gas pedal accidents are generally not too dangerous, they happen often and there have been instances where such accidents resulted in multiple fatalities. A recent study by the Highway Safety Research Center found that female drivers are more likely than male drivers to hit the wrong pedal and cause an accident in a parking lot, garage or driveway.

The findings are interesting because 60 percent of all car accidents are reportedly caused by men, while the majority of this type of accident is caused by women. Gas pedal accidents are also most common among those under 20 years old and those over 76.

One of the worst gas pedal accidents took place in 2003 when an 86-year-old driver accidentally stepped on the gas instead of the brake and crashed into an outdoor market. Ten people were killed and 63 people were injured.

There is no definitive reasoning why gas pedal accidents are more common among women, young drivers and the elderly. Some sources point to the fact that in both younger and older adults, the areas of the brain that deal with mental processes like planning, attention and organizing, are functioning at a lower level.

Whatever the reasoning, this should be a reminder to all drivers to drive attentively and responsibly. Those who have gotten into small fender-bender gas pedal accidents in parking lots may be wise to take a driving course or some type of refresher in order to ensure they do not make the same mistake in a more dangerous area.

Source: The Seattle Times, "Study: Most gas pedal accidents involve women," Joan Lowy, April 13, 2012

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