Study: Women Twice As Likely To Hit Gas Pedal By Mistake

A new study commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that women are more likely to accidentally step on the gas when they really mean to hit the brake. Just hold off on the jokes about women drivers, okay? Shh — stop it.

CBS 3 in Philadelphia says that women are twice as likely to goof up on the accelerator than men are. The study did not, however, dip into men’s inability to admit they’re lost.

Data from police crashes in North Carolina and news reports on accidents occurring elsewhere contributed to the study. When acceleration was unintended, women were at the wheel about 65% of the time.

It ain’t just the ladies making missteps — older and younger drivers are also dangerous near the gas pedal. Those kinds of accidents happened mostly with drivers under 20 or older than 76 in North Carolina. But across the nation, those over 76 were found to be responsible for 40% of all unintended acceleration accidents.

Women Are Twice As Likely To Hit The Gas By Mistake [CBS 3 Philly]

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  1. clippy2.0 says:

    It looks like you’re writing an article on “The Great Gatsby”. Do you need help with that?

    • lilacjive says:

      I needed a new keyboard anyway, you just sped it along.

      Thanks for the laugh, I needed that.

  2. MutantMonkey says:

    …while talking on the cell phone.

  3. AlteredBeast (Version 2.0) says:

    Neither woman in that car looks very happy at all.

    Also, I wonder if this is less likely to happen to women driving a manual transmission?

    • Rebecca K-S says:

      All bad outcomes are more likely when I’m driving a manual. It’s so pathetic.

      • Captain Spock says:

        When I drive a manual, I find that I am (truly or not) in better control of the vehicle. If I were to hit the gas pedal by mistake (or if it gets stuck) my first instinct is to break, at which point I am always jamming the clutch pedal to the floor killing any acceleration.

    • Jimmy60 says:

      What I’ve read about unintended acceleration suggests that it is typically higher end, luxury cars with automatics.

      I have personally witnessed several unintended acceleration events on motorcycles with males driving. These bikes were all manual shift with a clutch. I feel what happened is that they were not ready for the sudden acceleration and got what I call ‘throttle shock’. That’s where it starts to accelerate so quickly and suddenly that the operator panics and freezes. Probably happens at some point in many unintended acceleration events.

      It can easily happen on a motorcycle with a new rider who hasn’t been properly instructed on how to hold the throttle. People have died because of it.

    • Free Legal Advice! says:

      I was thinking the same thing. The only accident I was ever in was in my 10 year old manual transmission car. As soon as I was t-boned on the passenger side, my left foot flew to the clutch and right foot to the brake. I actually had leg cramps for a week I was standing on the brake so hard.

      Another difference, the brake was at a different height from the clutch. This car was an 86, but it was the same with my 02 jeep. The brake was always higher than the clutch, but far enough away that if my foot slipped off the brake (stupid flip-flops), it would just fall to the floor rather than the accelerator. With automatic transmissions, the much larger brake pedal means that the right foot is closer to the gas.

  4. GMFish says:

    Let’s turn this into a debate between using your right foot for both gas and brake or using your right foot for gas and your left foot for the brake.

    • AlteredBeast (Version 2.0) says:

      I use my left foot for gas, my right foot for brake.

      • LabGnome says:

        I naturally did that starting out, but had to learn to use the right only for both to get my license and just kept up the practice. Still not sure I get the why of it but oh well.

        • Rebecca K-S says:

          I would be very surprised if you “naturally” used your right foot for the brake (which is on the left) and the left foot for the gas.

          • GMFish says:

            Sure, without a clutch pedal, it’s completely natural.

            • clippy2.0 says:

              I don’t think the left foot on the gas is ever natural, unless you are in a right hand wheel car. Or don’t have a right foot/leg

              • Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

                When I drove in England and my fathers imported London Cab with right hand drive, the gas pedal was still on the right, with the brake in the middle and clutch on the left.

                The hardest part was getting used to the shift pattern. In American cars, 1st is closest to you and you move away. IIRC, in right hand drive the pattern is the same. My brain said 1st-closest to you, but first was actually the furthest away. I could shift with my left hand, just kept reversing the pattern.

                • AlteredBeast (Version 2.0) says:

                  I always think, I’d have a hard time driving as a guest on Top Gear, shifting with my left hand.

                  • Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

                    The left hand shifting was pretty easy to do, believe it or not. It was just getting the brain to accept that first gear is AWAY from you, not next to you. Now, granted my driving was not Top Gear driving, but I don’t think it would take to long to feel comfortable performance driving and shifting with the left hand.

                    I learned to drive on a stick the proper way. My father told me he would smack me upside the head if he ever caught me looking at the speedometer to figure out when to shift. It ingrained getting a feel and listening to the sounds to know when to shift.

          • Captain Spock says:

            Whenever I drive an Automatic which is rarely, I occasionally slam on the break as my left foot automatically goes for the clutch and clips the overly large break pedal in an automatic and goes flush to the floor.

        • GMFish says:

          The theory behind the “why” is that if you panic and push with both feet, gas and brake, the car will continue moving forward. But I don’t think that’s ever been proved with any real evidence.

          I think the real reason is that we used to have the third pedal in our vehicles, the clutch. So you needed the right foot for both gas and brake and the left foot for using the clutch. The whole safety consideration was just contrived to make people doing it the old way feel good.

          I use my right foot for both because I learned that way driving a stick.

          • Hi_Hello says:

            i thought is so you don’t press brake and gas at the time time.

            new driver to hover over the control. whether it’s foot over the clutch, brake, gas, or hand on the shifter.

            Imagine someone hovering over the brake while on the gas and then their foot got tire..and accident fell down while going 60mph.

            that’s my theory anyway.

      • MutantMonkey says:

        ROFL, you got a bite.

      • SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

        see it’s stuff like that that probably got v1.0 banned

        /i lol’d

      • Blueskylaw says:

        Did you play Twister when you were a kid?

    • dolemite says:

      What’s to discuss? Right foot = gas and brake. Left foot = clutch. No debate.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        i would like to add to the discussion:
        Left foot = Foot rest pedal or clutch
        Right foot = Brake or Gas unless performing the heal-toe method then you can do brake and gas.

        When electric car, I would like to replace Gas with the word Accelerator.

        • Bibliovore says:

          Good suggestion, but “gas” for vehicles may stick in the vocabulary like “dial” has for telephones.

      • shepd says:

        Left foot = Parking brake and clutch

        Right arm = Tree shifter

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      I drive a manual. But whenever I’m driving someone’s automatic, I use the left foot on the brake.

      That’s the way my dad drives, and that’s the way I learned. The big no-no reason you’re not supposed to do it is that people rested their left foot on the brake pedal and burned out the brakes. If you know not to do that, there’s no reason to not drive that way if you want to.

      I drove a commercial vehicle like that in city traffic 6 hours a day for 6 years with no problems.

      Also, if you hit both the gas and brake using both feet (like if you panic and just put both feet on the pedals and push), any car’s braking system should override the engine power and bring the car to a stop. Cars are built that way – the brakes are stronger than the engine, not the other way around.

      • Laura Northrup says:

        My dad’s been driving automatics for more than 20 years now, but the previous decades of habit driving cars (and tractors, before he was licensed to drive a car) have him still driving this way.

      • MrEvil says:

        You’ve never driven a Diesel pickup. My F250 Powerstroke EASILY overpowered the rear brakes. Of course, my intention was to do a burnout.

      • perruptor says:

        Left-foot brakers are the ones whose brake lights go on for no apparent reason, while they’re cruising along with nothing whatsoever happening in front of them. It’s one of the things that cause traffic tie-ups, because there’s usually someone behind them who thinks they are actually braking, and who steps on their own brakes. I have found that, unless I’m following too closely, taking my foot off the gas is an adequate response 80% of the time when brake lights go on in front of me on the highway.

    • Jimmy60 says:

      Left foot braking is what almost all racers employ. It does give you more control because there are times when you want both gas and brakes. Also racers these days almost all have a karting background. You couldn’t right foot brake a kart if you wanted to (without moving the pedals). So left foot braking is the norm for high performance driving these days. I’ll even left foot brake a standard but it can get busy.

      For everyday driving it isn’t needed because you shouldn’t be driving that hard.

      • headhot says:

        Racer here. No one I know uses left foot breaking. The left foot is for the clutch. Now, heel – toe is used a lot.

        • wrbwrx says:

          If you drive a turbo vehicle, especially on dirt or in the snow, you would understand that left foot braking is important to maintain boost by keeping the turbo spooled with throttle. You adjust speed with left foot braking, and once you hit that apex and let off the brake you are off at max potential.

          It is TOOL that does not always need to be used, but it is useful nonetheless in the right application.

  5. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    North Carolina. Well, then.

  6. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

    Does that explain what happened to the Enterprise D when Deanna was at the wheel?

    • Blue Moonlight says:

      She crashed the Enterprise in Nemesis too, for those who could bear to watch it.

      • and_another_thing says:

        Nemsis is to STTNG as The Final Frontier is to STTOS. But slightly better, thanks to Brent Spiner.

    • LanMan04 says:

      Hey, Space Cheerleaders can be pretty good drivers!

    • Bort says:

      If they still had money, i bet her insurance rates would skyrocket
      Besides, if she hit the ‘gas’ by mistake, it would have had the positive effect of outrunning the shockwave

  7. Fiona says:

    Alternate interpretation of study data: women are more likely to admit it.

    • MathMan aka Random Talker says:

      Or use it as an excuse for “distracted” (texting, eating, make-up, shaving [heh.]) driving. I am NOT saying women are more often “distracted” behind the wheel. I am just agreeing with you that the fact that this sample is from reported accidents and not a controlled situation that there are many other explanations given for why women are “twice as likely.”

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I agree. The last episode of Mythbusters was a “Battle of the Sexes” and one of the things they tested was whether women were better at reading emotion. Women responded faster and slightly more accurately. The thing I think the Mythbusters gang missed was the fact that psychologically, men are just not going to want to admit to being wrong. And they’ll take more time to respond if they think they’re under pressure to get it right in front of a panel of judges.

  8. borgia says:

    In talking to women, I noticed that a lot of this problem seems to be car fit. In particular for short women. They often have a hard time reaching the pedals with the size of a lot of cars and this seems to be a large cause of a lot of the accidental pedal presses.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      i never understand why I see a lot of small lady driving big suv or big truck. You can barely see their head. I can’t imagine they can see over the bash board… I don’t even want to know how to reach the pedals…

    • zippy says:

      There’s no link to the study, so I can’t check, but I also have to wonder if they controlled for age (older drivers are more prone to this and women live longer on average), and if they controlled for passengers in the car (women are more likely to have children in the car, especially young children) who could be a distraction.

  9. Rebecca K-S says:

    Well, it was a woman who plowed into and did $5k worth of damage to my parked car and claimed to have done exactly this when a bug flew into her car and freaked her out, so… I confirm the results of this study!

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Since you’re a woman, are you SURE you didn’t have your foot on the gas instead of parked and away from the vehicle entirely? Be honest now.

    • wade says:

      I know that anecdotes aren’t equivalent to data, but I know 3 women who have crashed through storefronts because of accidentally stepping on the gas instead of the brake while trying to park. So far, none of my guy friends has yet done so.

      • Lt. Coke says:

        Wait, how do you know 3 different women who’ve done that? I was under the impression that this was rare. Do you attract disaster-prone women?

      • Doubting thomas says:

        another anecdote that isn’t data but still relevant.
        The restaurant I bar tended for had its front awning run over twice. Once by an elderly woman who hit the gas instead of the brake. The other by a 19 year old girl who hit the gas instead of the brake. .
        Both women were startled by someone backing out at the same horrible blind corner of our parking lot (too much landscaping).
        Judging by these anecdotes and my own observations of my mother and wife driving I think women are generally more prone to panic than men and this accounts for some of the difference. Example; both my mom and my wife when frightened in the car will scream and take their hands off the wheel to cover their face. They are both highly educated intelligent women who when behind the wheel of a car faced with a sudden life or death situation react in the worse way possible. Your tiny arms aren’t going to stop the tree, truck or whatever you hit from crushing your head, however if you keep your hands on the wheel you at least have a chance of steering away. They both know this, and if they aren’t panicked both are good drivers.

  10. Hi_Hello says:

    I never understand why insurance rate are cheaper for women than men. We all make our own unique mistake, why can’t it not be base on sex?

    • ramzafl says:

      Men on average drive more (distance) then women per year.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        so if you drive a lot, your rates go up? i figure, if you drive more, your rate should go down because you are more experienced.

        would you trust someone to drive your car who drives once a month or someone who drives everyday?

        • sponica says:

          but the odds of something happening to the car increase when it’s on the road more often. if all you do is drive the 5 miles to the grocery store and back once a week, there’s not really a high chance of something happening to the car.

          if you’re driving 50 miles each way, the odds increase…

          I don’t legally need auto insurance, and while I mostly trust my ability to drive, I don’t trust other people…

          • Hi_Hello says:

            higher rate of accident in parking lots of grocery store vs 50 miles on highway with no intersection.

            too many stats, and tooo many factor that can increase/decrease accident.

            • sponica says:

              yes but the low speed impact in the grocery store parking lot will either not be fixed because who wants to file a claim for cosmetic damage or damage just less than the deductible…high speed impact on the highway, that can be pretty expensive…

              i think the most accident prone location in America is the post office parking lot…or at least it used to be

        • Thopter says:

          If you drive more, the odds of being involved in an accident of some sort go up.

          • Hi_Hello says:

            I call BS on that. I want to see the DATA. I figure truck driver has more mileages than another and as long as they aren’t sleepy, are probably safer than the rest of the drivers. Which make me think, it’s not the mileages that affect the accident.

            It’s like saying, if you step out of your house, you increase your chance of getting struck by lighten.

            Plus whatever happen to practice make perfect?
            And if driving soo much has a higher increase of accident, why do new drivers (in some states) are require to obtain x amount of driving time before they can upgrade their permit to the license.

            • pop top says:

              Do you think that insurance companies don’t have data to back that up? Come on.

              • Hi_Hello says:

                i think they have data and use stats to make up anything they want.

                90% of insurance stats are bogus.

            • shepd says:

              Well, here’s an irrefutable data point:

              Chances of an accident while sitting at home: 0.
              Chances of an accident while driving: More than 0.

              More time not driving means more time at a guaranteed 0 accident rate. Sounds good to me.

      • Not Given says:

        I’ll bet women make more trips, though. Most of it start and stop while running errands, etc, in town.

    • girly says:

      Insurance companies aren’t being nice. They care about the bottom line. Men have a higher accident rate.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      My personal experience (so take it with a pound of salt) is that men are more aggressive BUT more accurate divers. They are aware of the other cars around them and can mentally keep track of what’s going on. Women are safer, but sometimes to the point of being dangerous, because of indecision and obstructing the flow of traffic. I find this oftens comes from NOT being able to keep track of multiple factors on the road at once.

      Just a generalization, YMMV.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        that’s my personal appearance also…

        my mom is a ‘safe’ driver..but she does some crazy stuff at very very low speed. When I said crazy, i just mean stuff that doesn’t make sense to me.

        I think she is more likely to get someone else into an accident than to get into an accident herself.

        • Geekybiker says:

          I’ve always wondered about that. Women do some really unsafe unpredictable things on the road by hesitation and indecision that likely cause many accidents they aren’t directly involved in. I wonder if anyone has every managed to quantify that?

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            If they aren’t involved in the accident itself, I’m guessing the insurance companies don’t care.

      • GirlWithGloves says:

        But tracking the driving environment is part of the fun! Also spares one from possible run-in’s with any idiot out on the road.

      • birdieblue says:

        I’m a woman, and this jives with my own personal experience, as well. I consider myself a perfectly average driver, but many more of my female friends make me nervous with their inability to make a decision, or braking unnecessarily when driving (ie, stopping at a yield sign when there’re no cars for miles, except the one behind us that’s going to be very surprised), while I have more male friends whose aggressive driving seems unsafe to me.

    • longfeltwant says:

      Men cost more in payouts. End of discussion, that’s why it costs more for men. Whether that should be legal, I don’t know, but that’s the reason. You can’t apply logic to try to get to the conclusion; you need actual facts, and the fact is men cost more in claims.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        really? I never heard this before.
        Interesting.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          This jives with what I have heard (no citation to provide). When men get into accidents, more damage or injury is involved than with women, statistically.

          I thought I remember hearing that women are actually involved in MORE accidents than men, but more minor, but I’m not sure if I just remember that how I want to remember it. : – )

    • mikedt says:

      I always felt if you wanted a fender bender, you looked towards a woman. If you wanted a car totaled you look for the man. Based on anecdotal evidence of friends and their wives, the women don’t destroy the car, just just dent every corner of it. On the other hand, too many of my male friends have stories of demolishing cars.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        hmmm come to think of it…. hahahah except for one exception… this is true in my life too.

    • human_shield says:

      Men also drive more. The more you drive, the more likely you get into accidents. Just sit on a corner and watch cars go by. If couples are together, the man is almost always driving.

    • human_shield says:

      Men also drive more. The more you drive, the more likely you get into accidents. Just sit on a corner and watch cars go by. If couples are together, the man is almost always driving.

  11. Nobby says:

    Having to deal with pedals, steering wheels, and other motorists is a major distraction for many drivers.

    • elangomatt says:

      Yeah, especially when having to work the wheel and pedals is interfering with your phone call!

    • SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

      I know right? If we could just get rid of that car thingy, driving would be so much easier

  12. ChacoKevy says:

    Hurry, Google car, hurry!

  13. do-it-myself says:

    I’m a man, so does this mean my insurance will go down?

  14. MathMan aka Random Talker says:

    What percentage of drivers over 76 are women? If 80% (made up number) of the population over 76 is women and 40% of the unintended acceleration accidents were cause by people over 76 this may skew the data simply given the fact that most people over 76 are women.

    I know, many made up numbers, but “studies” like this irk me.

  15. do-it-myself says:

    Also, if more cars were manual, it would be near impossible for accidents like this to happen.

  16. PadThai says:

    my first thought was footwear. The only time I have problems with the petals is footwear based. Not always heels either, sometimes weird issues arise with sandals or heavy winter boots too.

    • ams199 says:

      Yes, this was my thought, too. I’ve had a couple of close calls with platform flip-flops before, scary enough that I don’t drive with those shoes on anymore. They make it difficult to tell how far down on the pedal my foot is, as well as having the nasty tendency to get caught on between the pedal and the floor.

    • Quake 'n' Shake says:

      Exactly what I thinking too.

    • Jimmy60 says:

      That would still be a driver error. Unless someone forces you to drive in inappropriate footwear.

    • justhypatia says:

      Yeah I’m surprised the comments got this far before somebody said it.

      High heels and wedges are probably a big factor AND so many other shoes you would not automatically think as horrible have just about zero traction. Flip-flops, Uggs, ballet flats… all horrible to drive in and mostly worn by women.

  17. Hi_Hello says:

    hmmm come to think of it…. hahahah except for one exception… this is true in my life too.

  18. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    Actually, they meant to hit the gas pedal and it’s your fault.

  19. kobresia says:

    My mom has had several fender benders for this reason, and also demolished someone’s front porch. There was also a rash of incidents a few months ago around here, in which women drove through businesses and restaurants (for example, a Subway) that did not have drive-thrus.

    It kind of seems that when women are at fault in an accident, it’s often the result of ineptitude, simply not knowing (or caring) how to use the various controls and mirrors effectively. The accidents are more likely to be at slow speed, involve stationary objects, and do a lot of property damage while not causing any serious injuries.

    Men, on the other hand, tend to be more proficient at operating vehicles and react more appropriately to situations, but they also tend to put themselves in worse situations by being overconfident and pushing the limits too far. While it seems to be fairly rare that a man drives through a storefront, they sure roll vehicles and lose control at high speed a lot, which cause more severe injuries.

    Also unsurprising are the increases in ineptitude accidents with inexperienced drivers as they skill-up, and elderly drivers as they skill-down and become impaired by age. I guess that’s the reason nobody ever looked into mechanical causes for the unintended acceleration issues that plague Oldsmobile and Buick, but were quick to blame the car when it involved some Toyotas.

  20. Mackinstyle1 says:

    I’M NOT LOST, OKAY? I JUST GOT TURNED AROUND.

  21. AngryK9 says:

    Personally, I don’t believe it. I don’t think gender has a darn thing to do with it.

  22. framitz says:

    darn those pesky heels

  23. dotyoureyes says:

    Next question: Did they study look at whether there were kids in the car at the time?

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see a strong correlation between unintended acceleration and distractions from young children… which would explain more why there are more women drivers in those crashes.

  24. cspschofield says:

    Perhaps women are more likely to be driving a largish vehicle full of fighting kids?

  25. Press1forDialTone says:

    As long as we continue to “guide” girls and boys differently throughout
    school into “female appropriate” and “male appropriate” education and
    knowledge and as long as other kids make fun and bully kids of make
    “gender inappropriate” decisions about what they want to learn about,
    the jokes about women and machines and guys and “I can do anything”
    will continue and the reality will be born out by research. We need a
    fundamental social change that allows teaches both sexes what they need
    to know in our 21st century world to be successful and allows them to learn
    about and excel at jobs and hobbies they are really fulfilled by. I lived my life
    (and was mostly supported by my parents) regardless of being bullied and
    “guided” by school counselors. I took home economics -and- shop and
    mechanical drawing. I learned how to sew and make clothes. I learned how
    to do household chores effectively (yes, dear whites in hot, everything else
    in warm or cold and don’t use so much detergent). After I grew up I found that
    I was damaged emotionally by the constant bullying but I graduated at the top
    of my class in high school and college and made more money than all the bullies.
    I only hope we can make this change fast enough. The anti-bullying efforts and
    GLEE are hopefully the tip of an iceberg of change for the good.

    • VintageLydia says:

      So much this. A big problem is the gender funneling in education is unconscious. Girls aren’t taught mechanical things because it’s just assumed they wouldn’t like it and they’re not really given or pushed into at least trying it first. I was one of three girls in my shop class and the teacher more or less ignored us except to give us basic instruction and make sure we didn’t chop our fingers off. This was compounded by my parents’ divorce and my dad not having the opportunity to teach either my brother or I much of anything. My husband is extremely mechanically and technologically inclined and we already agreed, son or daughter, our kids will learn what he knows like it or not. His entire family is extremely self-sufficient and I don’t want my possible future daughters left out of that.

      • Press1forDialTone says:

        Thank you Lydia!
        I just thought it needed saying (over and over and over again) :-)

  26. Caveat says:

    I am sure it has to do with high heels or Lady Gaga shoes…

    • AndroidHumanoid says:

      LMAO!!! I’m 4’11″ and when I’m headed somewhere in my “Lady Gaga shoes”, I wear my flip flops and leave those suckers on the passenger seat. They can wait to be put on my feet. I can’t drive with an extra 5″ or 6″ strapped to my legs!

  27. frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

    UGH… I have been accused of having “Fred Flintstone feet”. That being said, combine my skateboard width foot plus the nerve damage from too many back surgeries and I have found my foot pushing on the wrong pedal numerous times. I’ve asked both my back surgeon and family doctor to put the kibosh on my driving. Neither has stepped up as of yet.

    So I just don’t drive anymore.

  28. Extended-Warranty says:

    Discrimination only occurs when something unfavorable happens to minorities or women. When it happens to males and a race can’t be determined, then there is nothing wrong with that. Because OH YOU MEN HAVE IT SO HARD, RIGHT?

    • VintageLydia says:

      Wait. What does this have to do with anything? Besides, there is a huge difference between a systematic (though largely unconscious) difference of treatment received by women and minorities than the occasional shitty thing that might happen with straight, young, white, middle-class males. Not that they don’t face any discrimination or prejudice occasionally, but it’s not nearly the same scale as minorities who could write entire books about instances they experienced of discrimination before they even leave high school.

  29. sadie kate says:

    Pointless anecdata time: When I managed a bookstore, I had an elderly woman come to the counter and ask me to page whoever was driving a white minivan in the parking lot. I asked if the lights were on; she said no, she had “dinged” it with her car. I glanced out the window behind me while I picked up the handset and did a doubletake. There was an SUV ON TOP of a minivan. Apparently, she had pulled into the spot, hit the accelerator instead of the gas, ad jumped the curb with so much force that the undercarriage of her SUV was resting squarely on the minivan’s hood, and her front bumper was up to the windshield. It was like a monster truck rally.

    The minivan turned out to be a rental belonging to a middle-aged couple who were in town taking care of the wife’s mother who had dementia while her usual caretakers were on vacation. One of my employees gave the wife and her mother a ride home so they weren’t stuck; the husband had to wait hours for a tow truck to come and for the rental place to deliver a new car. The police were finally able to track down the husband of Demolition Granny to pick her up; she spent the intervening hours shopping, totally blase about the whole thing. She came back several times after that, but she always got dropped off.