Submitted by laflizzy t3_120ldxm in CambridgeMA

Craziest thing I’ve ever seen - small SUV (Nissan Rogue?) around 30 minutes ago. Appeared to be making a routine 3 point turn on Cambridge St until the car went insanely fast in reverse, across the street, over the sidewalk and blasted the front of Atwood’s. Didn’t penetrate the building but did destroy a bench on the sidewalk. Glad no one was hurt

Cops and fire here but I don’t know wtf is going on or really even wtf happened



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Nabs617 t1_jdhtl8k wrote

A week before Atwood's closes for good. Crazy.

Good thing no one got hurt. Any earlier, and there could have been school kids or bikes around.


jasongetsdown t1_jdhxb53 wrote

Sounds like a classic panic stomp on the gas thinking it’s the brake.


BAM521 t1_jdipk1f wrote

If we had sane driving laws that prioritized pedestrian safety, accidentally hitting the gas when you meant to hit the brake would result in a automatic license suspension and a mandatory remedial driving course until you can prove that you do, in fact, know how to do the most basic thing we expect drivers to do.

But instead it’s just another oopsie that, fortunately, didn’t kill anyone this time.


jasongetsdown t1_jdj7oxg wrote

The scary thing is that it’s something that can happen to anyone. It doesn’t really mean you’re a bad driver. It’s a slip of the foot and when the car doesn’t do what you expected a switch flips in your brain, you panic, reason goes out the window, and you double down on what your panicked mind thinks will help. There’s no chance you will pick up your foot in that moment.

You’re right, a panic response like this has killed people, but vilifying the driver doesn’t help. It’s also hard to see how a law would. This kind of thing is probably already covered by reckless driving or something similar, and if you actually wanted to create a law that targeted hitting the wrong pedal how would you prove it?


BAM521 t1_jdju6q0 wrote

> There’s no chance you will pick up your foot in that moment

I don’t know, if we can teach people to turn into a skid, can we not teach them to pick up their foot in a sudden acceleration?

> This kind of thing is probably already covered by reckless driving or something similar, and if you actually wanted to create a law that targeted hitting the wrong pedal how would you prove it?

I mean, the signs are pretty easy to spot. And the thing is, I’m not sure this falls under aggressive driving. Would be happy to hear of a case that says otherwise, but it seems like these are generally treated as accidents.

I’m not saying throw the person in jail. But driving safely requires good reflexes, and an accidental acceleration suggests the driver’s reaction time is deteriorating. Maybe we have them take a test and they do fine, it was just a one time thing. Fair enough, give them the license back. But it would be nice if the system actually tried to proactively weed out bad drivers instead of waiting for the worst.


ScrappyHammer t1_jdl16pv wrote

I'm fine with that, as long as they issue steep fines and make scofflaw pedestrians take a course on proper etiquette when they are caught walking into Central Sq on a "Don't Walk" signal when oncoming traffic has the green light.


baazaar131 t1_jdllbbt wrote

There is no switch. It's just shitty drivers. Some people are just much better at driving than others.


vhalros t1_jdhw6vs wrote

Seems like a pretty busy road to try a three point turn on in the first place. It sounds like they probably forgot to take it out of reverse before hitting the gas, and expected it to go forward. Although why they felt the need to press it so hard is a mystery.


whymauri t1_jdi3wqi wrote

If I had a choice between a three point turn on that road and simply taking a side road to get back on track, I would take the side road 100% of the time.

I bet the time difference is in 1-2 minutes top.


medforddad t1_jdkgm87 wrote

Except when it turns out that you get caught in a web of one ways that don't lead back to Cambridge st and you get dumped out in Kendall.


tagsb t1_jdilv8r wrote

I've seen so many people starting to run reds and do three-points on busy roads since the start of the pandemic. If there was ONE thing I'd want more cops to do it would be getting these people tickets, points on their license, temporary suspensions, etc, until the behavior became socially unacceptable again. It's starting to feel legitimately unsafe to exist as a pedestrian.


tagsb t1_jdimgud wrote

Was waiting at the light to turn onto Riverway the other day and EIGHT cars sped through the red light they had, almost had to wait another cycle. The world is going bonkers


Lovebird8 t1_jdhzyj3 wrote

It’s a good thing no one was sitting on the bench!


nhf1918 t1_jdi839w wrote

Did it damage the building facade or just the bench?


SignalRefrigerator9 t1_jdl25im wrote

Why do these people make U-Turns on such a crowded street cutting into lanes of opposing traffic? Is that even legal?


MyStackRunnethOver t1_jdifzt1 wrote

Once saw a Denny's with an old lady's Buick driven right through the wall, in the middle of a(n empty at the time, thankfully) booth. The place had parking spots perpendicular to the exterior wall - panic hit the gas instead of the brake, jumped the curb and drove it right over the sidewalk and into the restaurant


bonefish t1_jdkehgg wrote

This is why I am always posting on Nextdoor that we need to get rid of the bike lanes


themaverick7 t1_jdipmsp wrote

Everyone's saying it's panic hit-the-gas, which likely, but there are documented cases of cars uncontrollably accelerating without the accelerator pedal being depressed at all.

It happens when the voltage to the ECU fluctuates so much that it bugs out and gets stuck sending a 100% accel signal to the engine. Cars these days are governed by hundreds of chips and have numerous electronic components, so makes sense that they glitch from time to time.


WaitForItTheMongols t1_jdiylhj wrote

> Cars these days are governed by hundreds of computers

That's an exaggeration. There is no car out there that has "hundreds of computers" in it, unless you take an extremely loose definition of "computer" that is something like "a chip with transistors in it". I think any reasonable definition of a computer involves being reprogrammable (even if only with in-depth servicing), and I don't think you'll find hundreds of devices in a car that meet that definition.


tagsb t1_jdj7g2g wrote

Vehicle programming standards are extremely strict (with the exception of autonomous driving which regulators have yet to catch up with). The sources used on that Wikipedia section cite a whopping single case of this happening outside a lab where they forced it


themaverick7 t1_jdkf1wu wrote

Completely agree that standards are very strict. That's why they're rare. But code are written by humans, and mistakes happen.

Remember the hundreds of Toyota acceleration cases? They attributed it all to faulty pedals or floor mats. But multiple lines of evidence has come out that the ECU code had a critical flaw and at least some were attributed to that malfunctioning.

ECU-related SUAs are more common than you think.


tagsb t1_jdl9jt3 wrote

The article you just provided shows a regulatory board finding issues with vehicle code nearly 20 years ago, with again no proof of ECU related SUAs other than "maybe it could happen". Not an overly compelling proof point