It seems that every few months there is a report about some freak accident in which a person drives through the front window of a store, or crashes inexplicably onto the sidewalk. After further investigation, many of these accidents turn out to have been the result of some medical emergency. That is, the driver that caused the accident suffered an unexpected seizure or had some other condition that rendered the driver unconscious or otherwise unable to control their vehicle. Unfortunately, little can be done to avoid these types of car accidents.
You may have heard about the tragic and unusual fatal accident last week in which an older driver sped out off control off the highway and crashed into a gazebo and struck and killed a woman. The California Highway Patrol is now saying that while they had initially thought that the crash may have been the result of the driver having suffred a medical emergency but it now appears that this was not the case.
Another driver who witnessed the accident said that the driver was initially travelling at a normal rate of speed then suddenly accelerated to over 70 miles per hour before leaving the highway and crashing into the gazebo where the victim was sitting.
The driver told the police that her brakes had failed causing the accident, but the CHP says that a simple failure of the brakes would not have accounted for the sudden acceleration. No skid marks or other obvious sign of an attempt to stop the car were found on the highway. It could be that the driver became confused and stomped on the accelerator rather than the brakes in an attempt to stop the car. The driver had previously had a clean driving record.
Source: The Press Democrat, "CHP rules out medical emergency in freak accident that killed Petaluma woman," Randi Rossman, Feb. 24, 2012