The convenience features of Tesla’s Autopilot, like Autosteer and Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, are meant to reduce the driver’s workload and make driving a Tesla more convenient, and according to a Model X driver in Missouri, it can also help you survive a medical emergency when you are on the road.
Joshua Neally, an attorney in Springfield, Missouri, credits the Autopilot of his Model X for helping him drive himself to the hospital while suffering from a pulmonary embolism, which made him temporarily blind at times, while on his drive home from work on July 26.
Missouri’s News-Leader reported on Friday:
“It was excruciating pain,” Neally told the News-Leader Friday. “I’ve never had such pain in my life.”
His breathing was limited. He struggled to place a call to his wife, and gasped in pain during their conversation. At times, Neally said, he couldn’t see.
The drive, however, didn’t end in a crash, or with Neally pulling over to the side of the road, although he concedes the latter might have been the recommended practice. Instead, he told the News-Leader, he successfully drove to a CoxHealth facility in Branson for treatment — thanks to the fact that the vehicle was doing most of the work.
Neally felt a pain in his chest all week, but he thought he might have pulled a muscle. When the pain was too much to handle on the highway that Tuesday night, he realized that he needed to get to the emergency room. He said that he couldn’t see properly at times.
The Autopilot helped him stay safely in his lane and by the time he reached the exit for the hospital, the pain had diminished enough for him to disengage the Autopilot and drive the few blocks to the hospital.
They told him he had a pulmonary embolism, a blockage of an artery in the lungs, and he was given blood thinners to help him recover.
Neally concluded that if he was driving a car without Autopilot, he probably would have had to pull over and call an ambulance. He thinks he got there faster by driving himself using the Tesla Autopilot.
While pulling over and calling 911 would have been the recommended action due to the risk of him falling unconscious at the wheel, if the driver stops being responsive to the Autopilot, the system will flash the hazard lights and try to pull over to the side itself if the conditions allow it.
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