Q Google's autonomous vehicles may be the wave of the future. One thing you may be sure of, if they are properly programmed: They won't have the infuriating human defects we suffer from daily.
A Such as ...
Q They won't be road boulders or absurd speeders.
They will keep to the right except to pass.
They will signal their intentions (what a concept!).
They won't tailgate.
They won't leave immense gaps that delay the traffic behind.
They won't use cellphones to talk or text, which endangers us all.
They won't be distracted by applying makeup or fixing their hair.
They won't have an automated middle-finger salute when someone does something spectacularly stupid (or innocent).
Maybe driving might become slightly more civilized, eh?
A Oh, we can only wish.
Q I approached a gray Nissan Cube one recent morning on Highway 85 and noticed signage on the rear saying "stay back, caution" or something along those lines. Curious, as I passed I looked over to see who was driving and I could swear it was a mannequin (I admit my eyesight is not what it once was). Could this have been a robot-powered vehicle? Or, do I need to get to the eye doctor pronto?
A I hope you need to see the doc. If this was a driverless car being tested, a licensed driver should be behind the wheel.
Q I drive a 4WD Subaru Outback. The owner's manual and dealer both told me to NEVER put chains on the car since it will damage it. But the R2 requirements you printed said that drivers of 4WD vehicles must carry "traction control" equipment. Does a bag of kitty litter and a shovel count? Is it safe to put cable chains on the Outback? Or do I toss a set of chains in the back knowing that I can't put them on the car? I'm sure there are other perplexed Subaru drivers out there who would appreciate an answer.
A Nyet on the kitty litter. But cable chains are OK.
Q What is the advice from the experts about locking or not locking your doors when the car is in motion? On my 2009 Camry, they lock automatically. On my 1993 Toyota truck (where nothing is automatic), they don't. But I leave them unlocked, on the assumption that somebody will have easy access to me in case the truck overturns and I need to be rescued. What happens with modern cars (like my 2009 Camry) if the car flips? Do doors unlock automatically? Or is somebody going to have to waste precious time to break a window before getting to me?
A Police say it doesn't make much difference, and, added Mike-the-Traffic-Cop: "If it was my preference, I would rather have self-locking doors on a vehicle anytime."
Q What is going on with the Highway 152-Ferguson Road intersection east of Gilroy? The road seems done, yet they have not turned on the new signal. What's up with that?
A Some finishing work remains and should be done by the end of January. Caltrans is realigning Route 152 and installing a signal at Ferguson Road.
Q A former co-worker who owns a 2007 Prius mentioned that her mileage in the winter drops to about 30 mpg from about 45 mpg in the summer. Since you own a Prius, would you mind sharing what your mileage variance is between the seasons?
A I get about 48-50 mpg in warm weather, which drops to 43-45 in the winter when the heater is on more often.