Q Wow, red-light tickets are expensive at around $500! Here are a few tips that might help some:
Your TomTom GPS, or the Waze GPS app for your phone (probably others too), can notify you when you approach intersections armed with cameras. If you want to turn right on red at an intersection with a camera, park your butt at the line for a full three seconds before even thinking of moving.
In this time of tight budgets and strict enforcement, driving carefully doesn't have to be a chore. It's a statement of "Guvmint, you ain't gettin' another %$@$*# cent out of me in traffic fines!"
A You won't have to curse over hefty red-light camera tickets in Redwood City anymore. The city has ended its camera program and joins Hayward as one of two towns in the Bay Area to turn cameras off. The main reasons: As more drivers stop at red lights, revenues to cover the costs have declined, rear-end collisions often increase and most tickets are written for right-turn violations, where the safety risks are lower.
Will there be more cities yanking out their cameras? San Francisco and Fremont, for example, say they will keep theirs.
Q Sorry to read about your foot problems and having to become a full-time car passenger, at least for the next several months. I always play a what-if game with myself when I read things like this. What if that happened to me? What if the foot problem was permanent? And then I wonder, can a regular car be temporarily converted to hand controls? How long does it take to learn how to drive a hand-controlled car? Does anybody rent hand-controlled cars? Could you ask your readers? They are a treasure of information.
A That they are. But first ...
Q You don't need to purchase a special car in order to have hand controls; you can have them installed in your current vehicle for a few hundred dollars. NorCal Mobility in Burlingame or Economy Medical in Concord are good places to start. It would be nice to have a road warrior advocate for those of us who use hand controls.
A Hmmm. An interesting tip. Many rental car companies also rent vehicles with hand controls, and several readers recommend renting one for a day and testing it. I'm not ready to go down this path yet, but I won't rule it out either.
Q I just couldn't believe what I saw one day and had to share it with you. I was on 101 (not THE 101, just 101) traveling north from Morgan Hill. Just past Cochrane Road, I came up behind some guy doing between 50 mph and 70 mph in the middle lane. That's right. He'd speed up, then slow down.
So I signaled and went around him and as I passed by he was on his cellphone, giving his credit card number to someone on the other end, buying something. How did I know that? Because he was holding his credit card in his left hand, and his cellphone in his right! He was holding onto the wheel with two fingers while he held his card!
If that doesn't beat all, I don't know what does.
A That is today's cellphone horror story. I'll run one every day from now on during April's crackdown on texting and cellphone abuse.
Q My 151/2-year old daughter has her permit. If I am in the car with her while she is driving, is it permissible for her to have a friend in the car with me present? And once she gets her license, what is the period of time before she can drive someone her own age?
A She can drive another teen with her permit as long as there is a licensed driver over the age of 25 with her. Once she gets her license, she cannot drive anyone under 20 years of age -- except a sibling, with the parents' permission to places like school -- nor can she drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. for one year.