Q When you notice that the car in front of you has no brake lights, how should you inform the driver?
When stopped at a red light and it seemed reasonably safe to do so, I have jumped out of my car, walked up to his, knocked on the window, and told the driver that his brake lights don't work, that I nearly rear-ended him, and suggested getting repairs right away. But you can't do that when traffic is moving.
Is there a number you can call to report a car with faulty brake lights, or any other obvious problem, so the car's owner will get the message?
A No, there is no hotline number to dial. While I applaud your attentions, I also caution against getting out of your car. You are putting yourself at risk. My suggestion is to try to pull alongside him at a red light, roll down your window and tell him his brake lights are out. Anyone else?
Q I commute on my motorcycle as much as weather allows me to along Interstate 80. Now that daylight saving time has ended and darkness covers my commute both going and coming, I have this request of "cage" drivers. Please don't tailgate us.
A motorcycle's small taillights make the motorcycle look farther away from the driver following behind than we actually are. Sometimes I find drivers following much closer than I am comfortable with. My motorcycle will stop in half the distance of a car should an emergency arise and I have to brake. If the car hits me I will be killed or seriously injured. Plain and simple.
If I can't see both of your headlights in just one of my rearview mirrors, you are too close. If I can see one headlight in one mirror and your other headlight in my other mirror, you are way too close. In that case I might give a quick two flashes of my brake light to alert you that you are too close, and I'd be thankful if you backed off.
Don't take this as an act of aggression, as a driver of a pickup did several weeks ago on I-680 near Benicia, and then proceeded to try to force me off the road as he gave me the finger. My quick flashing of the brake light is only to get you to back off a bit. I promise to get out of your way as soon as traffic allows me to change lanes.
A Folks, heed Marvin's advice. Please.
Q I've noticed that when I am driving on a freeway water often collects in the slow lane during a rainstorm. Is there a lane I should use to avoid this?
A Stay toward the middle lanes -- water tends to pool in outside lanes.
Q Just a thought about safety and the crossing of train tracks after reading about the recent tragedy with the parade float in Texas. I have been guilty of stopping a few feet too far and had the crossing arm come down on my car. No big deal, as the arm is counterbalanced to weigh almost nothing. I could hold it off my head with one finger (I had the top down on a roadster).
A few years ago I witnessed a near-collision when a large truck and trailer stopped. But when the crossing arm came down onto the truck, the driver panicked and pulled forward into the path of the train! He just made it through with inches to spare, with train horn blaring and brakes screeching.
Please tell your readers that the crossing arm is not heavy and will not harm your car if you should be caught under one. Of course it is better to stop before the crossing arm. Be careful and do not panic.
A Good advice, especially along Caltrain tracks on the Peninsula and Union Pacific tracks in the East Bay.
Q We flew out of San Jose and had planned to park and shuttle to the terminals. I always used the lot in the past off De La Cruz Boulevard but was surprised to discover it was now closed. Why is there still a highway sign on 101 stating airport parking off De La Cruz? It's a good thing we still had time to park at the Economy Lot at the airport.
A Long before the airport had a west side long-term parking lot (now closed), there were (and remain) operators of private long-term parking lots along De La Cruz. Caltrans erected this sign on the freeway for the private operators. Airport officials have asked Caltrans to take it down, as it can be confusing for those wishing to park in airport lots, but that is unlikely to happen since it does point the way to other parking areas along De La Cruz.