April 13, 2024
"There are lots of bad human drivers we never hear about. Are AV’s really more dangerous, or just more annoying?" a Roadshow reader asks.

Q: I’m sympathetic to SF drivers inconvenienced by AV’s (autonomous vehicles), especially those that stop awkwardly, block traffic, and don’t move. But imagine if there were a daily report on the actions of the worst drivers in the city that day, both incompetent ones who inconvenience us and dangerous ones who cause accidents. There are lots of bad human drivers we never hear about. Are AV’s really more dangerous, or just more annoying?

The big difference between human and AV drivers is that AV computers are getting smarter every year and eventually will be safer than human drivers. We’re suffering now through their learning curve but they can’t learn without real-world testing.

John White

A: A good point.

Q: My son works for Cruise. Their vehicles presently have limited hours and a limited geographic area in San Francisco in which they can operate. They don’t do HOV lanes, so that’s a future concern.

John Beck

A: AVs in HOV lanes may be here sooner than we think.

Q: I have a 2022 self-driving Tesla X and love the feature. But you are responsible for the vehicle, and must be in control of it. Making a 90-degree turn off one 4-lane road that has poles for safety gave my car the fits and I had to take over every time I traveled that route. It must be learning, however, as it does a good job there now. It learned to turn on the signal, turn off the freeway, stop for the red light, and when the light turns green, drive again and turn right to follow the route.

Charlie Johnson

A: Interesting to see that the vehicle improves with experience. Now, a very different challenge, smog-checking a classic vehicle.

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Q: I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to find a smog-check place for my 1994 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon. It’s 100% stock, has only 150,000 miles on it, runs perfectly, and has never failed a smog test. Yet every smog-check place I’ve contacted refuses to do it. How do owners of old cars comply?

Bob Lee, San Jose

A: Does anyone have a smog-check site for him?

Q: I travel on Camden Ave and Blossom Hill Road a lot, rather than the freeway for just a few exits. But it is maddening! These are major east-west arterials, yet one car will force me (and my posse) to stop at lights, over and over again. the technology exists (think 19th Avenue in SF) to make lights all green, if you travel the speed limit.

Let’s save money, gas, time and road rage and get these lights coordinated!

Roberta C. Howe

A: A long stretch of greens is a wonderful thing.

Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at [email protected].

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