When Will Teslas Stop Crashing Into Buildings?



How long before we stop seeing embarrassing scenes like these? Does the latest Tesla hardware/software update prevent this from happening? What level of machine intelligence is required for walls to be recognized as impassable? Seems it should be the first line of programming code in any “smart” car. Here’s how it should be entered:

“See that big flat thing in front of you? That’s a wall. Yes, it might have some transparent rectangles in it. In fact, the whole thing might be transparent. But it’s still a wall, and you cannot drive through it. Even if the driver has his foot in the accelerator, guess what, you’re stopping anyway. Ditto signage. There’s no circumstance under which it’s acceptable to smash into these things. Do we understand each other?”

Editor’s Note:  A Tesla Model S 70D also took flight, jumped some bushes, on top of a new Mercedes, then into a dealership on Thursday as well (story & video here)

We all know that cars of all brands drive into buildings. We see this on the local TV news almost daily. TeslaMondo has no reason to believe Teslas are more prone to these incidents than any other car.


Is it possible that the combination of an unusual “ignition” sequence (just press the brakes), unusual “gear” selector (just tap a steering wheel stalk) and unusual silence when pressing the “gas” pedal could contribute to driver confusion? Is Tesla foisting new tricks upon old dogs?

Let’s hope the rise of machine learning brings the demise of these parking lot disasters. They’re long overdue for eradication, and Tesla should be the first brand to eradicate them. “Sudden unintended acceleration” is an American term for a conspicuously American phenomenon. The Audi fiasco of the 80s and Toyota fiasco of 2009-2011 never left our shores despite worldwide use of the same products. So it’s incumbent upon an American company to erase the term from the vernacular.

Then again, America did invent the drive-thru. Maybe this is in our blood. Oh dear.

*Editor’s Note: This and other Tesla-related posts appear on TeslaMondo. Check it out here.

Categories: Crashed EVs, Tesla

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

52 Comments on "When Will Teslas Stop Crashing Into Buildings?"

newest oldest most voted

I can see a meme forming here, just like with the infamous cars-and-coffees-leaving, man-eating Mustangs …

Why do Teslas keep hitting buildings? Simple: Many Tesla drivers think roads are racetracks.

It would be safer to put my dog in the drivers seat with autopilot on, than let a Tesla be driven by many of the young guys in my college town. Their loud pickups roar by my window everyday, flattening squirrels and scaring every dog and cat around.

Our 25 MPH speed limit is a “suggestion” to daredevils who imagine they drive in NASCAR.

Three guesses what they would do to a Tesla. It would hug a building real fast. 🙂

One crashed into our local Lure Seafood Restaurant.

“Excuse me, is this a drive-thru dealership?”

“It is now.”

Uh–its not cars that are causing this, its their DRIVERS who are not being careful enough!!!!

UA has never been the car’s fault; it’s always the operator hitting the wrong pedal and then failing to apply brakes fully.
No car can overcome fully applied brakes.

Not true. My first gen Prius would release the brakes going over manhole covers etc. This resulted in surging forward, not accelerating. This is documented to have resulted to pedestrian accidents. This was a software issue that was eventually addressed by Toyota.

Perhaps the “brake release” was really ABS actuating?
That whole Prius UA BS was proven to be a hoax when NASA got the software and couldn’t reproduce the UA events.

The wrong question. It should be: when do people stop crashing through walls when they have the power and torque of a Tesla?

This. People make mistakes all the time. Only in a Tesla are the results so catastrophic.

Sorry. I don’t use my words so well

Yeah, they really should have code that prevents sudden acceleration if radar (or whatever is the proper sensor sees a wall ahead.) Maybe allow it to “creep” forward but not allow sudden acceleration.

I’m not sure why this hasn’t been changed.

Because what if the baddies park their evil van between you and freedom? You’re gonna have to ram it.

Don’t take away my right to ram things!


Next you’ll tell me I can’t mount fully automatic weapons to the roof of my Model 3.

Only in some US States. If you cross borders, you’ll have to remove your “Open Racked” Machine Gun. 😉

Reminds me of the most accident prone of all the dinosaurs.

Just in case you not aware, it was the
Tyrannosaurus Wrecks.



+1. You win one internets.

Being the quickest-accelerating production car that mere mortals can purchase may have something to do with it.

One of the people in the Dutch forum I frequent had his wife park the ZOE into a wall, you don’t need over 300hp to bridge the 3 meter gap from the sidewalk into the side of the building before you can react.

Apparently just 67kW is enough to smash into things, so no, I don’t think capping power will help.

The author poses an interesting question…

Answer: When humans no longer drive.

Nailed it.

Answer: When buildings learn to get out of the way. 😉

Answer: when building stop suddenly appearing before speeding cars.

And we have a winner.

When husbands stop letting their wives drive their Teslas.


Based on purely casual readings of these accidents– it does seem like there is a slight gender bias in terms of poor driving skills and hitting buildings.

When idiots stop buying them !

So glad nobody was killed!!

That pic above is like a CD/album cover of my favorite band’s greatest hits. 😉

Tesla’s Greatest Hits.

Love it. 😀

Lol. Majority of these crashes are from women driving.
Says a lot


Jesus was apparently male, and powered vehicles didn’t yet exist in his day. Not sure why you’re invoking that particular deity…

You should try this one instead, taken from WikiPedia:

In 1925, Pope Pius XI declared her the patron saint of automobile drivers because of a legend that an angel used to light the road before her with a lantern when she traveled, keeping her safe from hazards. Within the Benedictine Order, she is also honored as a patron saint of all oblates.

Then there is also the more well known, St. Christopher, whom you could invoke, instead. It’s probably just as effective, either way.

Right, no powered vehicles in Jesus days. But long before him:
‘The Spaceships of Ezekiel’
He’s describing a four thruster vertical landing aircraft in his first chapter.

But this is way out of topic because that aircraft didn’t ram anything, unlike our Tesla here.

Do you have stats to back up that it’s mostly by women or are you making s**t up? I would’ve thought it’s more to do with age than gender.

Probably more related to “Body Awareness” of where exactly your feet are in space? So, maybe there is a gender / experience bias that contributes to hitting the incorrect pedals (and then blaming the car for it)? But many of these Tesla accidents are new customers, or people with low hours of experience driving them…

Anon said:

“…many of these Tesla accidents are new customers, or people with low hours of experience driving them…”

Yes, so if women drivers are more likely to experience this type of accident, I would expect unfamiliarity with the car to be the cause, and not that women are actually poorer drivers than men in any objective sense.

Generally speaking, women are safer drivers than men. Whether or not they’re “better” is highly subjective. When surveyed, most people consider themselves significantly better than average drivers. This is an example of illusory superiority.



I thought these cars had a crash avoidance deal….might need to be activated for 5 minutes once the car is started.

Yes this is a american problem. They seem to be unable to distinguish between the pedals.

Sure, because you guys are driving off the TOPS of buildings with your cars. We’re just doin’ it at ground level. 😉


Okay, when ONE person does that in the rest of the world, it’s news. In America, its only news when so many are doing it becomes a syndrome and you have to invent a name for it.

America found a plaintiff-friendly name for it because we’re over-lawyered.

When they stop being driven by humans.

My brother-in-law had my nephew’s girlfriend drive his van right through a plate glass window at their local Chevy dealer! Everyone was stunned. Nobody hurt. Some folks really lack hand-eye coordination!

By the way, wasn’t it confirmed the flying Model S
guy was in Europe, and was driving at a high rate of
speed while intoxicated? American problem my arse!

Local news have reports of elderly people or drunks / recless drivers / distracted drivers / incapacitated drivers driving into buildings all the time. Don’t need a Tesla for that, can be donen with any car. Also happens to busses, trucks and sometimes trains, also the last one is quite difficult to accomplish and therefore rare, but it happens nevertheless.

The accelerator and brake are too close together. My big feet press them both simultaneously fairly frequently.

Whilst you would have to be not at your sharpest to get them confused, it only takes a one in 100,000 mistake, and the car has fantastic acceleration which assists with ending up unintentionally inside a building.

We all marvel at the speed off the line. This is an unfortunate side effect.

What is the distance between the pedals?

Maybe some real driver training as prerequisite for getting a drivers license might help.

When they are all autonomous, of course.

I absolutely think the reason this happens so often is because the car is completely silent. If a driver accidently pressed the accelerator, when attempting to press the brake, they would be instantly alerted to this mistake by the engine beginning to roar to life. The delay would give them plenty of time to correct, which would happen instinctively. Since the car is completely silent, people aren’t alerted to the mistake they’ve made and panic, assuming the vehicle has been possessed.

If Creep mode is on there should be less errors like this. The driver will realize more which way the car will move…