2014-mazda-mazda3_100445254_l

Elderly Couple Almost Die After Being Trapped For 13 Hours In Unlocked Car

An Alexandra couple hope others can learn from their near-death experience after being trapped in their new ”keyless” car in their own garage for almost 13 hours recently.

Mollieanne (65) and Brian Smith (68) are still coming to terms with the early November incident when confusion about operating their Mazda 3 hatchback led them to believe there was no way to get out.

The pair were stuck after a series of ”Murphy’s Law” events, including leaving the car’s manual in the house, leaving the transponder outside the car and a combination of stress, night-time, and what they called a lack of information from a car salesperson.

After becoming trapped about 7pm on November 5, their attempts to escape included sounding the horn and trying to smash a window with a car jack.

Mrs Smith said it was Guy Fawkes night, and no-one would have noticed the horn due to fireworks.

When they were freed by neighbours about 7.45am the next day, she was unconscious and her husband was struggling to breathe.

She said they were told by emergency services if they had spent another half hour in the car and they could have died.

Afterwards, Mrs Smith spent three days in Dunstan Hospital. Mr Smith, who considered himself ”very methodical”, said he could not find the unlocking mechanism.

”Once I found out how simple it was to unlock it I kicked myself that I did not find the way out … I had this mind-set that I did not have the transponder [so I could not get out].”

The car salesperson had made it seem the car would not work without the transponder, he said.

He now knew the manual lock was the same as the inside door handle on many other vehicles.

Mr Smith said his message for owners of ”keyless”cars – not just Mazda models – was to educate themselves on how to operate their car before using it.

Mrs Smith said she had decided to ”go public” as people needed to be aware of the risks of keyless cars, particularly older people inexperienced in new technology.

She had received phone calls from about five people reporting similar keyless-car experiences.

Mazda New Zealand general manager Glenn Harris said the report of the couple being trapped in the car in that manner was an industry first.

”It’s not a design flaw with the car … what we have said to the network is, with new technologies, don’t forget to show customers how to use them in their entirety [and] how to override them. There is always a manual process to override them.”

Mr Harris said he ”completely” empathised with the couple, and said the company needed to ensure it did not happen to anyone else.

24 comments

  • Glenn Downey 5 days ago

    Really? 13 hours “trapped” in an UNLOCKED car? How stupid can you be? It wasn’t the manufacturers fault. It wasn’t the salesman’s fault. It was the fault of two people that don’t have the intelligence, together, to know how to manually open a door. These two shouldn’t have an automobile with doors. They really shouldn’t have access to anything more complicated than a wheelbarrow! And don’t try saying “well they are older” my DOG can open the door of my truck from the inside. The thought of actual reaching out and pulling on the door handle never occurred to them? Amazing how utterly stupid people can be in this day and age.

    Reply
    • jennie 5 days ago

      Hey A-hole – what if it were YOUR parents?

      Reply
      • phukyou 5 days ago

        My parents know how to operate a door handle.

        Reply
      • 4 days ago

        If it were MY parents, they would be losing their license. If you don’t know how to open and unlocked door, you no longer get to operate a motor vehicle.

        Reply
    • 5 days ago

      Wait until you get old and you will find out how dumb you can be.You will get it one of these days. I have a friend in his 70’s brilliant member of Mensa, Nulear Physicist but with new technology it does not show. Beware or you will eat your words. I know not so smart people that can still do all the present technology but can’t write , read or spell.

      Reply
      • Audie 5 days ago

        Sorry to hear your friend has some bad genes. Everyone in my family who have lived into their 70s, 80s, and even 90s, maintained their ability to use common sense and reason, so I have no doubt, that as a matter of genetics, I shall, too. Of course, if you don’t have any common sense to start with, I don’t believe aging is the problem.

        Reply
    • 5 days ago

      My mother is 94 and she can still spell, write, and read better than the present college graduates. She went to college when colleges were tough. Most of these kids now can do the technology but if ever have a Cyber Attack,they will be lost.North Korea got us already and there isw more to come. Guess that is why we are 28th in the world for education. Their kids are way ahead of ours.

      Reply
    • Glenn Downey 4 days ago

      If these two were my parents, I myself would tell them to their face just how stupid they are. To be trapped in an unlocked car for 13 hours has to be the height of idiocy. To not have the common sense to pull on a door handle. And to have one of the people pass out from being in the car. An UNLOCKED CAR! How stupid can people get. If it were my parents. I’d never let them forget it!

      Reply
    • randall 2 days ago

      a-hole

      Reply
  • mrawesomesauce 5 days ago

    I cannot fathom just how stupid one has to be. Good thing I’m going to die sometime soon so I don’t have to deal with retarded people like these two.

    Reply
  • 5 days ago

    The compassion some people don’t show is stupid. If the salesman had explained to technology to them in a way they would have understood it this would not have happened. I volunteer to do income taxes for the elderly for free, they don’t understand it. When some of you get older if you live that long maybe you will understand. The world has changed alot in my 62 years on this earth. So next time you open your mouth try not to let shit spill out of it.

    Reply
  • Larry Dickman 5 days ago

    NEVER have compassion for stupid people. Life is tough already. It is even tougher if you are stupid. Have you ever tried to show an older person how to do something? You show them at a very slow pace and they say things like, “Okay I got it,” or “I already know how to do that,” or “I’ll figure it out as I go.” These are famous last words.

    Reply
  • Dee 5 days ago

    First of all, 65 and 68 are not elderly (my parents are both around those ages and aren’t at all *elderly*), second of all…I don’t have a car like this, so I’m not sure..but did it say that just pulling handle was the way out? I don’t understand why this wasn’t tried…someone from back in the *old days*, before keyless cars, would automatically pull the handle when trying to get out of a car, so I find it odd that they didn’t try it….65 and 68 aren’t elderly or reaching the point of dementia in most people, so I don’t believe their age had anything to do with it….

    Reply
  • James Timme 5 days ago

    Don’t blame it on the car or the salesman… It’s the two stupid people!

    Reply
  • Skip Dunning 4 days ago

    If I lose the ability to use the door handle on my car to open it, please shoot me.

    Reply
  • Jenny 4 days ago

    @ Glenn Downry you are areal. Douche dag POS. I can’t wIt till you are elderly and get some of the same treatment. You are showing your Ignorance. Your parnets did not teach you any manners or respect . It will come back to you ten fold. You should apolize to those ppl. You douche.

    Reply
    • Glenn Downey 4 days ago

      It’s like this Jenny. If I EVER get that stupid, I will have already lost my ability to drive. And I would like to say that nothing you can say to me or call me will change my mind. I’m 58 years old right now and I hope and pray that if I ever do something that stupid on purpose, I sincerely hope somebody kicks my ass for being that dumb.

      Reply
  • Kay 4 days ago

    Shame on you guys. The older some people get the more confused they become. Yes the salesman should have been more clear. Some days are clear for the elderly and some not so much. Im sure he feels bad enough without you guys making it worse.

    Reply
  • Zaire67 4 days ago

    Interesting, I thought this was an article referencing an old Polish joke.

    I travel a lot and as a result experience a variety of car makes and models. When I find the “modern technology” of any vehicle confusing, I always fall back to the tried and true methods of operating a vehicle. You’d think after the first couple of hours one would at least pull on the door handle. What did they think would happen if they tried that? These people clearly should no longer be allowed to operate a motor vehicle.

    Reply
  • Jeff Chaney 4 days ago

    Since when is 68 and 65 elderly, they obviously had enough wits about them to go through the process of getting a new car.

    Reply
  • Jerry Travelstead 4 days ago

    This must be a story from “The Onion”, correct? If this is true, they should have to re-take a driving test and get a full physical to ensure mental competence.

    Reply
  • 4 days ago

    How can you be competent enough to buy a new car and drive this car but not have enough sense to be able to figure out how to open a door from the inside? I mean, how could they not try to pull on the door handle?

    Reply
  • mitzy 3 days ago

    Talk about not so bright. I hope Your parents decide to smartly cut you out as an heir with your arrogant and disrespecful attirudes. Everyone just loves a malicious know it all.

    I remember when steering wheels first had locking features with a lever to release to get your keys out. I borrowed a boyfriends new car, I drove it but couldnt get the key out of the ignition to go into work. Someone leaving their shift that happened to pass by had to show me. I was 23. Stuff happens.
    Sometimes the obvious escapes us. I used to work at a major city pilice dpt , people repoet cars stolen when they forgot where they parked, forget their own address in an emergency and all manner if “dumb stuff”.
    Lighten uo. Someday this could be you. It happens All the time with newer and newer innovations. The obvious escapes us all frequently.

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published.