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Shot forward when parked [unintended acceleration - resolved by OP]

I parked my Model 3 on my level driveway this evening, opened my drivers door and as I put my foot out of the car to exit, it shot forward into the wall, and rammed the open drivers door into my daughter’s car which was alongside, slamming the door onto my foot which was now very painfully trapped in the door. I couldn’t open the door to release my foot or get my leg back inside to drive the car away from the wall and my daughters car. My grandson was in the back seat screaming and terrified and I couldn’t move. I put the car into reverse and brought my free leg across to press the accelerator pedal to reverse away from the wall.

I obviously did not press the accelerator to make it shoot forward. The proof of this is clear, because my leg was outside of the car. Can anyone tell me what the hell made my Model 3 shoot forward by itself after I’d put it into park? And will the sequence of events be saved on the memory stick in my glove compartment?

This is a photo of my bruised foot after I managed to release it.
 

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This is a pretty serious situation that won't be solved on a forum like this. Contact NHTSA and file a complaint, and work with your insurance to do an investigation. Yes, there is possibly some data stored on the USB stick (video) and the car has an Event Data Recorder that you can pull. Tesla will also pull this data (possibly without you even knowing) if they become aware of the claim.

But if this is real, you are in for an interesting ride around the world of unintended acceleration, Tesla Fanboys, Tesla Doubters, and the media. Buckle up.


Sorry about your foot. Glad that is the worst of it. I'd post a pic of the car/garage if you want more people to have more faith in your story. Right now the fact you shared just a picture of your foot makes this seem somewhat like a story made to harm Tesla's reputation with not a lot of data.
 
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jmaddr

Active Member
Mar 29, 2019
1,165
1,161
Florida
I’m always skeptical of unintended acceleration claims but one thing sticks out with your situation…
You had an open drivers door when this happened? For as long as I’ve had my car, Tesla’s model 3 automatically goes into park when the the drivers door is opened. You can over-ride this at low speeds but it would be a pretty deliberate action on your part of pushing down on the drive stalk while the door is open, not to mention then you would then have to press the accelerator pedal and the car would be screaming that what you are doing is not advised. I agree with what @gearchruncher said as you need to get to the bottom of this.
 
For as long as I’ve had my car, Tesla’s model 3 automatically goes into park when the the drivers door is opened.
From the Tesla manual:
1645059411419.png

and:
1645059421573.png


If the OP for some reason had the seatbelt still buckled and was in the seat when they opened the door, it doesn't go into park. I've done this exact thing on purpose when I want to move a car with the door open. There's also the edge case that the car was not actually at 0 MPH when other things happened. This is all speculation and why EDR's are so useful, and people's memory of complex and stressful events like this can be pretty flawed.
 

glide

Active Member
Jun 6, 2018
4,960
6,879
USA
Well…you would literally be the first person this actually happened to.

I don’t understand how the car could be in park, you have your seatbelt off, with the door open, and it’s still capable of moving.

Are you sure you weren’t buckled in, in drive, and had tacc/AP engaged. That would sure explain it.

Hopefully you can get some answers.
 
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Well…you would literally be the first person this actually happened to.
I don’t understand how the car could be in park, you have your seatbelt off, with the door open, and it’s still capable of moving.

This doesn't have to be unintended acceleration. You can put a Tesla in creep mode, open the door, take foot off brake, let it creep to 1.5+ MPH, unbuckle the seat, and get out, and it will keep going. This is by design so that failures of sensors don't throw the car into park at 60 MPH on the highway. Note there is no report the car was purposefully in park when they got out.

You have to make sure you don't read too much into hyperbole like "the car shot forward" and just think how this could be an edge case of expected behavior against an unexpected use case. This is exactly why Tesla warns people to not rely on the auto park feature, but may also be a case of where a feature that works all the time gets relied upon beyond it's designed safety criticality exactly because it seems to always work.
 
Not buying it.
1. This is your first post, from a brand-new account.
2. As @jmaddr mentioned, opening the door WITH YOUR SEATBELT OFF while in Drive immediately slams the car in Park.
3. The only way to keep the car in Drive with an open door is to keep your seatbelt on, but 1) you'll hear an error chime and see an error message on the screen, and 2) you mentioned you were trying to get out of the car, so we assume you took your seatbelt off.
4. Unless you're a circus contortionist, it's impossible to hit the accelerator with your left foot while your right foot is "stuck" in the door.
5. Even if you could, you didn't mention having to hit the brake to change to Reverse, which is necessary to switch from Park to Reverse.
6. You probably have substantial front-end damage, a banged-up driver door, and scratches and dings on your daughter's car, but all you can show is a foot with a small bruise?
 
From the Tesla manual:
View attachment 770031
and:
View attachment 770033

If the OP for some reason had the seatbelt still buckled and was in the seat when they opened the door, it doesn't go into park. I've done this exact thing on purpose when I want to move a car with the door open. There's also the edge case that the car was not actually at 0 MPH when other things happened. This is all speculation and why EDR's are so useful, and people's memory of complex and stressful events like this can be pretty flawed.
I was the parts manager at a combo Porsche/Audi and Fiat dealership in the late '70s when the Audi 5000's were first accused of unintended acceleration, Even got to try it myself on the very car. I've been a keen observer of this phenomenon since. More information must be known about this one.

You do present a plausible explanation. Occam's razor. How is it likely for such a thing to happen? Too many safeguards. I'm old enough to know how people's brains can trick them. Lord knows mine has to me.

Perhaps the EDR can shed some light on this. If there is indeed a safety issue here it needs to be addressed. This is the first I've heard of it.
 

cgell

Member
Supporting Member
Jan 30, 2020
335
449
NJ
First off, welcome to the forum and I’m glad you’re ok. There are so many factors that make this seem like human error (which can happen to anyone). This situation is as close to impossible as it gets. Sounds like you were creeping forward with your door open and your foot hanging out. It was never in park. The title is a bit dramatic as the car doesn’t just shoot forward for no reason. First time poster too, no offense. And then the icing is that the only pic is of a foot and not the damage or car. Key details seem off.

There are tons of stories of Teslas accelerating on their own and never the data to back it. What is more likely, human error and panic or multiple systems all failing at once and somehow shooting the car forward too? Teslas are quick and the accelerator will work if you press it - I’m willing to bet that’s what happened here. I would also bet that the investigation ends here as you know that the data will show what happened. Again, no offense, just calling it how I see it.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Moderator
Nov 28, 2018
14,582
18,651
Riverside Co. CA
(Moderator note)

So far so good, but this is a gentle reminder that TMC does allow disagreement, but does not allow personal attacks. As I said, "so far so good" but these "unintended acceleration" threads can get somewhat contentious at times, so this is a preemptive reminder.

====================================================

(Regular content, not moderation)

I am guessing the OP is not in the US based on the right foot bruise, etc. The sequence of events doesnt make sense unless the steering wheel is on the right side of the car. I only mention that because we would normally recommend "Contact the NHTSA" like @gearchruncher did in post #2, but the OP should do that with whatever their local authority is in their country.

I also agree with @gearchruncher that they are likely in for a "bumpy road" as once they make that complaint, with this story, it "should" trigger a bunch of data gathering and may also trigger a bunch of other questioning, since I dont think one of these reports has been actually proven as "the car moved on its own, without intervention". With that being said, I am certainly not accusing the OP of anything, just agreeing with @gearchruncher that there will likely be a "lot of discovery" and nothing (zip, nada) will be solved or even discovered by posting here about it.

All posting here will do is encourage people to dig into the story, and "help" by trying to poke holes in it.


====================================
(One more moderator note)

Sometimes, these posts are made by someone who does what I term as a "drive by" post. A new poster will come, make a post, then log off and never even log back on to see if they got any responses. When I see that, I consider that trolling. If that ends up being the case here, I will at a minimum lock the thread as trolling.
 
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“I put the car into reverse and brought my free leg across to press the accelerator pedal to reverse away from the wall.”

If your car was in Park, you would have had to press the brake pedal prior to putting it in reverse, but you claim to have put it into reverse, THEN brought your free leg over to back up.

I would bet that it wasn’t actually in Park and your accelerator foot was still resting on the pedal. When you rotated to exit, you inadvertently pressed on the accelerator which sent you forward.
 
Right foot bruise, the driver must be from the UK. That is a serious bruise. I would document everything. Lots of pictures, videos, of the other car, etc. Report it to your insurance. Report it to whatever automotive safety oversight agency there is in the UK, that might be able to come look over the scene while it's still fresh.
Location says Greenmount, Maryland. So, it's the U.S..
To the OP: Picture of the car/your daughter's car, or it didn't happen.
Brand new car, you're new to the forum, that's OK.

You'll run into lot of flack; that might put you off. Don't worry about it. Several things, in no particular order:
  • There's safety things up the wazoo that, if this did happen, had to have failed in order for it to happen.
  • I diagnose large, complex, software/hardware driven electronics for a living. There's three things:
    1. The Bathtub Curve. X axis: Time, sometimes log time. Y axis: Probability of failure. At t=0, with spanking new hardware, there's a relatively high failure rate because Brand New Stuff sometimes comes with manufacturing defects. Those die early on. After one gets past this, there's Poisson-distributed random failures, at a low level, over time. Finally, at the End of Life, we get wear-out errors, and the probability of failure goes up. The shape looks like a cross-section of a bathtub.
    2. Infant Mortality. Failure rates are high at the beginning of life of any product. It's why test equipment, when built, gets (typically) baked at 100F for hours to days before being sent to customers, the idea being to weed out the weak ones. They don't bake entire cars; but failure rates of components are measured. Those with high failure rates get redesigned, parts, if necessary, get extra inspections, and Screaming At Vendors when bad lots of parts show up is a Thing. This is the reason that cars (and pretty much everything else) has warranties.
    3. FIT rate. Stands for Failures in 10^9 hours. Handles the Poisson-distributed stuff. A single resistor has a FIT of 1.0. Complicated ICs can have FIT of 10-100, depending upon I/O. (Interestingly, the more I/O on a device, the higher the FIT tends to be.). Add up all the FITs of all the parts, and, typically, the total FIT is the FIT of the board. A typical PC has a FIT of around 2000-3000. So: If one had a board with billion resistors on it, one would expect one failure, per hour, on average. But if one has boards with 1000 resistors on them (that's easy), and one has built 1,000,000 boards, then one would expect one board to fail an hour. This is why auto manufacturers have service locations.
  • Having said all that: The question now is, if your story is true, what are the minimum number of things that must have failed to allow the car to do what you relate? We're likely talking sensors, here, since those are (typically) physical parts that can die/snap. Door switch? Seat belt switch? Device that picks up these things at some central module and provides that information to the car computer (bad bus with all 0's coming out..) A lot of such mixed SW/HW problems are amenable to diagnostic tests, not to mention parity and CRC checks to detect stuck-at faults and such.
  • Having said all the above: None of this kind of error checking is new or limited to Tesla. Car manufacturers have had fail-safe on drive-by-wire systems; gas pedal angle, electronics tests, etc., for a couple of decades now. But.. stuff happens.
First things first. As I said, first we need more than a picture of your bruised foot. I used to hang out on Tesla, Inc.'s forums before they got shut down. They got shut down in large part due to trolls, short-sellers, and other malefactors seeking to harm Tesla in one form or another, and Tesla's unwillingness to dedicate the necessary expense to moderate those forums. One of the Bad Guys tricks was a one-and-out: Post some utterly false, damaging statement, and then never show up again.
On the other hand, sometimes we did get people with odd-ball stuff happening. Back in 2018/2019, M3's were new, there were a lot of new users, stuff happened: Busted roof/rear window glass, etc. Those people, we helped and gave solid advice to. I'd say about 3/4 of the mad-as-hell posters who showed up had, well, user errors. It ain't an ICE. The other 1/4 had varying problems, usually solved with warranty repair.
So, ante up. Got some pictures of the damaged cars? How about a VIN number, or at least when the car was manufactured? What was Tesla's reaction when you told them? We're willing to talk, but you got to talk back.
 
Location says Greenmount, Maryland. So, it's the U.S..
To the OP: Picture of the car/your daughter's car, or it didn't happen.
Brand new car, you're new to the forum, that's OK.
I don't see the Maryland either on Carolespirit's post or profile. All it says is Greenmount. If you click on the Greenmount on either the post or the profile, it brings up a map of Greenmount Cemetery in Durango, CO. I'm pretty sure this is a prank poster.
 
I’m in Greenmount in the Uk. Lancashire. I’m going to Tesla in Manchester Uk to show them the damage and ask them what they think happened. I’m also going to watch the recording and see if I can understand what happened. I’ve attached a photo of the damage to the front. There’s no damage to the door at all, and now that I’ve calmed down, I’m believing that I can’t have put it into park. Since I always have it on creep it must have just kept moving? The odd thing is that I wouldn’t have opened the door unless it had stopped. So why did it move when I was exiting the car?
 

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I posted the picture of my foot to prove that it was outside the car and not on the accelerator when the car moved forward. I am not upset with Tesla. I absolutely adore my car. I always had good cars, Mercedes, BMW. But nothing compares with this amazing car. It’s the best thing I’ve ever driven. Just don’t want to be making any more mistakes. Can’t understand what happened. I’ll be paying for the damage to be repaired myself. Not really that bothered about the small amount of damage.

Was most bothered about my very distressed grandson who when he could see that I was trapped climbed into the front seat and opened the passenger door to get out and go for his daddy who was inside the house. At that very moment I had brought my free foot across and gone into reverse. The car reversed off the drive as my grandson opened the door and he fell out.

So my next question is. Did the car automatically stop when he opened the door? I don’t remember if I slammed my foot on the brake? It was all just too fast and alarming. The car stopped I jumped out with a horrible vision of him under the wheel but he just got up and ran in to his daddy. We were all very shocked.

Lessons learned of course. But why did the car move forward in the first place when I believed it was in park?
 
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