Woman trapped in tesla

An Arizona woman who found herself trapped inside her Tesla has criticised the company for insufficiently informing drivers on safety protocols, particularly for incidents beyond the owners' control.

On Wednesday, June 19, a Tesla Model Y owner named Diane recounted her concerning experience to On Your Side. Diane, who had owned her Tesla for three years without issues, detailed how she became trapped inside the vehicle.

A Frightening Experience

Despite enjoying her Tesla Model Y for years, Diane recently faced a terrifying ordeal. While attempting a routine drive last month, she discovered she couldn't open the car doors. "It was fully charged," she asserted.

"I unplugged the car, got in, shut the door, and everything just shut down. I couldn't open the windows, I couldn't unlock the doors—I was just trapped." Frustrated, Diane attempted to consult her Tesla manual for escape instructions. Unfortunately, with the car powered down, she couldn't even open the glovebox to retrieve it.

Tesla Secret Latch
The "secret latch" Tesla representatives told Diane about on the driver's side of the Tesla Model Y (Screenshot: On Your Side)

Still trapped, Diane called a friend for assistance, but they, too, could not open the door. With no other options, she turned to the Tesla app and requested emergency roadside assistance. Tesla representatives reportedly texted Diane about a "hidden latch" inside the car door she could use to escape.

"It was scary and very unnerving, to say the least," she said. Since the incident, Diane has spoken to several other Tesla owners who, like her, were unaware of how to open the doors when the car has no power. The cause of the shutdown remains unclear.

Calls for Better Safety Education

Following the incident, Diane conversed with many Tesla owners who were also unaware of how to open their car doors when the vehicle had no power.

Diane believes Tesla needs to improve the education of owners about this critical safety feature. She urges the Elon Musk-led company to take more significant steps to ensure all drivers know how to exit the vehicle in such situations.

Interestingly, Diane is not the only Tesla owner who has faced a similar issue. Last month, Brianna Janel shared a comparable experience on TikTok. While parked at a Chick-fil-A, Janel attempted to update her car's software, expecting it to take around 24 minutes.

However, she found herself trapped inside for a gruelling 40 minutes, with temperatures reaching a scorching 39 degrees Celsius. Unlike Diane, Janel knew about the manual door release. However, fearing she might damage the car, she chose to wait out the ordeal in the stifling California heat.

Adding to these concerns, reports have emerged of a similar incident involving a toddler trapped in a disabled Tesla. The 20-month-old granddaughter of Renee Sanchez was stuck inside the vehicle.

Broader Safety Concerns

Safety controversies have recently marred Tesla vehicles. In March, tragedy struck when Foremost Group CEO Angela Chao's Tesla ended up in a ranch pond. Police reports indicate her car collided with a nearby wall by the pond.

The impact caused two large limestone blocks, each over three feet tall and weighing around half a tonne, to dislodge. This forceful collision sent the SUV flying before it "landed and rolled into the water." The incident raised questions about the safety features of the electric vehicle, which should have prevented the collision.

Even the design of their vehicles, such as the Cybertruck, has caused accidents. For instance, a man cut his finger while inspecting his new Cybertruck and had to be brought to the ER.

These recent incidents have sparked discussions about the importance of clear and accessible safety information in electric vehicles. Tesla has faced criticism for its reliance on digital interfaces, especially when a car's power is depleted.