Q What are your pet road peeves -- the things other drivers do that annoy you most?
A I dislike it when drivers slow down to a near-stop as they look for particular streets, addresses or businesses. I also disdain drivers who pull into a business driveway and take forever to complete their pull-in while I sit behind them in a traffic lane that should be moving.
This may be a result of my own principle that I never want a driver to be held up by my driving. I don't want to be accused of that sort of interference. It goes back to my high school driving class, where I learned that you should use blinkers as a way to communicate with drivers behind you about your intent. I signal every lane change and turn and constantly watch my rearview mirror so I'm not in the way of other drivers who want to go faster. I won't stall other drivers. Most of all, I hate drivers who don't make room for you to change lanes or merge, which you often have to do when near an exit.
Q What is the Golden Road Rule According to Woz?
A Don't offend other drivers. This falls into what I said above. Choose your lane appropriately. The general rule is that slower traffic should stay in the rightmost lanes -- in our country. Although we all hate reckless drivers racing and cutting in and out of lanes, I don't want to interfere with motorists who simply want to go faster, even faster than the speed limit. Road conditions are better at some times and they might have somewhere important to get to, like an airport. Assume that other drivers are good like you. We all want to get somewhere. Let everyone in. It's OK to touch your own brake. We all help each other get to where we are going.
Q What are your best driving habits, and what are your worst?
A My best habits include use of blinkers and not blocking others. I keep a good distance behind the car in front of me. I never tailgate. Also, I buy and study the large DMV handbooks from the first page to the last. I would never lie in traffic court. Once I was asked if I could have been going 75 mph and I told the truth, that I didn't know because I hadn't looked at my speedometer. I lost on that one.
My worst habits include sometimes making a decision that I know violates a traffic law. I don't always adhere to the speed limit, although I find that when I do I am not bothered. I have a very low-anxiety life and don't force myself to be faster than others or first in lines. But sometimes I speed when it seems normal in terms of nearby traffic. With a Prius, when you are not using the speed control it's very hard to tell your speed. Recently in New York in a rental car, with which I was not familiar, at night, I'd notice my speed varying between 60 and 80 mph, in a 65 mph zone. I'd notice the speed high and I'd slow down. I did get pulled over but told the cop the truth and he let me go.
My worst driving habit of all is probably relying on my GPS navigation systems. Every one leads me into horrible decisions that I would never make without them. We all know that but we rely on these systems.
Q Is there anything about your driving that annoys Mrs. Woz? Anything about her driving that annoys you?
A When I make a lane change, I pull over just a couple of inches as I turn to get a better look. Janet always jumps and jerks her head around and sometimes there is even a car in my blind spot. The method of barely moving, even out of a driveway, is as good a safety measure as not doing things too quickly.
Nothing bothers me about Janet's driving ever.
Q Good answer. Anything you'd like to say about your Prius? And aren't you tempted to get a Tesla?
A I have had nine Priuses. We currently own four and they are in full family use. It's quiet and comfortable and adequate and large. I fit two Segways in the far back and still have room for all 5 passengers. I do have a large Hummer (the original) and a beautiful Mercedes-Benz convertible. We talk about getting a large luxury car -- actually I wish I'd talked Janet into ordering the Tesla Model S -- but we never come up with as many benefits as we get from our Priuses.
By the way, when I get a new car I go through the manual from the first page to the last, underlining everything that might not come to your mind without reading it. I also note errors. I put Post-it notes on those pages (20 or 30 notes for my latest Prius, a 2010 model) and take notes on separate sheets of paper. I like to tell others things about their Priuses that they might not know.
I try to educate Janet from my own learning but she doesn't remember subtle things that one never uses. So one time, to better educate Janet, I pushed the button by the driver's left knee (2009 or earlier models), which disable the keyless entry system, and the ability to start your Prius without putting the key into the ignition. As I drove toward home in my Prius my cellphone rang. It was Janet screaming that I was driving away with her key. I'd just driven her Prius to a parking spot by my own Prius. But now her Prius would not start. I calmly told her that I did not have her key. It took awhile to ask where she'd put her key and to calmly tell her to look there (her purse) and she found it. Then I told her calmly to put it in the ignition. When she got home I showed her the button. She will NEVER forget that lesson. I consider it an example of good teaching.
Q Any tips on Segway etiquette?
A On a Segway you are a pedestrian by California law. Be polite to other pedestrians, even more polite than normal. Be a good ambassador. People have commented to me in Los Gatos how lazy I am but I just think in my head how they drove to the town so they could walk and shop, while I rode the Segway all the way from my home. On a Segway I obey every rule I would as a pedestrian, mainly pushing pedestrian "Walk" buttons and waiting.
Q Anything you'd like to say to Mr. Roadshow?
A I am so thankful to Gary. His column is my favorite column and is useful, entertaining and educational to me.
Steve Wozniak is the cofounder of Apple. The real Mr. Roadshow, Gary Richards, will return soon.