Q With the very tragic officer-related news lately, and in the interests of safety, respect and timeliness, what is the best scenario when pulled over by an officer?
Fumble through my purse and have my license and registration ready and available before the officer gets to my window? Or sit very still with both hands visible on the steering wheel, and only begin to look for my paperwork once the officer asks for it?
I have heard advice both ways, but would like to know what officers want.
A You ask a very good question, and sadly it is one I have addressed more than once after the shooting of an officer. The first time came several years ago, when San Jose Officer Jeffrey Fontana was gunned down. Here was what Officer Dennis Dolezal said at that time, advice that still holds up:
"Drivers of motor vehicles are stopped for a variety of reasons, the most common being due to a violation. It is only natural that the driver will be a bit nervous after seeing that big red light in the rearview mirror or hearing the blast of the siren to get their attention. At night there will be spotlights that further add to the nervousness. I wish there was a way to tell good guys from bad guys all the time; unfortunately that just does not exist."
Here's what he and the DMV suggest you do if stopped by police:
Go to page 77 of the California Driver Handbook for more tips.
Q Gary, your column used to contain letters from smirking Prius owners boasting about their mileage and perks. I see now that we can expect these to be replaced by letters from smirking LEAF and other EV owners. Sigh.
Q You asked in a column if anyone else wants to brag about their car. How about this? I bought a Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid in August, seven months ago. After nearly 9,000 miles, I am still on the original tank of gas that came with the car. This Volt has never seen a gas station!
A You have a right to brag. I'm envious.
Q I was looking for a more efficient car last year, and first checked out the Prius. I immediately discovered that it is really a compact car that does not fit a large person. Further research showed that most hybrids that will fit large people are SUVs that get less than 30 mpg.
I then discovered that Toyota had redesigned the Camry LE hybrid for 2012, increasing the efficiency 25 percent and reducing the price by $1,000. This is a genuine mid-sized car that will fit a large person, and is rated 39 mpg highway and 43 mpg city. It has the same 17-gallon fuel tank as the regular Camry, so has a range of over 650 miles.
A And ...
Q The Prius is the ugliest car since the Edsel, as a reader wrote? I think not! The Prius is both distinctive and functional, and that combination forms the basis of beauty. I'd nominate a Chevy Suburban for ugliest car on the road today. Or perhaps a Cadillac Escalade.
A Anyone else?