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The 'Fishhook' in Santa Cruz, on a stretch of Highway 1 nominated by one Roadshow reader for the Dirty Dozen

Q Do you include Santa Cruz County in your Dirty Dozen list of the worst roads? Highway 1 from the Fishhook to Aptos is a daily nightmare. ... You forgot southbound Highway 101 to south 87 interchange slowdown. ... Highway 101 south through Santa Clara -- even after 7 p.m. it takes 25 minutes to get from Sunnyvale to 87. ... Interstate 580 at El Charro and Fallon Roads through Livermore, even as shopping traffic has subsided some, is really bad. ... South Highway 87 near the 280 onramp, where unmetered traffic from 280 causes a daily merging nightmare.

Steve Bennett, Nik Fahreal, Michael Cushing, Dennis Boegel, Roger Miller and many more

A The Dirty Dozen is my annual list of roads we most complain about, not necessarily the most congested. Highway 1 has been as high as No. 4 in previous Dirty Dozen rankings, but complaints this past year were few.

I have a theory as to why: We howl in frustration for a period, then give up complaining when it seems like nothing will be done. The fixes on Highway 1, for example, include adding more merging lanes but additional carpool lanes in each direction is a long, long way off.

Adding an exit lane from south 101 to south 87 has been planned for nearly a decade, but no one really knows when construction will begin.


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Q Something happened over the holidays and I'd like your advice. Late on the evening of Dec. 22, I was driving south on Interstate 880 in a heavy rain. As I approached 280, a driver in the far left lane cut across all lanes of traffic to the far right lane without signaling.

The driver zipped past me. About 15 seconds later, I noticed the car's taillights had gone from red to white. Then I realized that I wasn't looking at the car's taillights. They were oncoming headlights! He was going the wrong way.

Two things crossed my mind: What the heck do I do? I'm on the interstate and can't just turn down a side street. And I can't even call my mother and tell her goodbye -- hey, I'm sentimental.

This car started bouncing around, spun out, then hit the far right concrete barrier and came to a stop. I hit my brakes hard, threw on my hazards and came within feet of hitting the car. He was stopped. I was stopped. Cars were swerving to avoid hitting us.

I finally crept around and made my way to the Hamilton Avenue exit. As I got to the offramp, that same car came flying by behind me, its hood smashed, its passenger side crushed in. It wasn't exiting -- instead it just sped south. Once I got onto Hamilton, I pulled over and reported the driver. Scary.

My question: What should one do when on a freeway and a car is coming head-on?

Daniel Ferrante

Campbell

A Boy, this is a tough one. My suggestion is make sure you are going at a prudent speed to give yourself time to react to this situation. Assume other drivers can always do something stupid, and it's up to you be the careful one on the road -- especially late at night when drunk drivers are more likely to be out.

Q I seem to recall being able to locate an online fee schedule listing the various fines for parking violations in San Jose. Is this not available any longer? My uncle received a $312 fee for blocking a wheelchair ramp on a sidewalk corner. He claims the officer told him that all parking violations in San Jose are now $312. This doesn't make sense.

Steve Lachance

A It's not true. A list of parking penalties for the city isn't available online but can be requested from the city clerk's office. The current fine for parking in a disabled spot or blocking access to a disabled ramp or space is $310. Other parking fines range from $30 to $285. Go to www.mercurynews.com/mr-roadshow and look for the fine list.

Q If you have time, check out the terrible bumps on the south side lanes of Wolfe Road in Cupertino where it goes over I-280. The approaches on both sides are in dire need of repair.

Jon Higashiuchi

A A project to smooth out this road is scheduled for later this year.

Follow Gary Richards at Twitter.com/mrroadshow, look for him at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335.