Q I have been reading your column for many years, and like many of your readers I feel that most (not all) Prius drivers are rude and drive very unsafely. A friend of mine has a Prius and she drove us to an A's game. I now will only take BART or drive myself. She drives very offensively.
Why do you think Prius drivers have this bad rap?
A Beats me. We are among the most humble and safe driving folks around -- right? You reference a New York Times article three years ago that is now regaining Internet steam, with emails flowing into my inbox at a rapid pace. A researcher with UC Berkeley concluded that data show that drivers of BMWs and other high-status cars (including Prius hybrids) were more likely to cheat at four-way-stop intersections and are among the most obnoxious on the road.
I thought we were beyond this, but apparently not. So to the anti-Prius and BMW crowd, let 'er rip.
Q Recently I was driving east on Mariani Drive in Cupertino at the light to turn left onto De Anza Boulevard. That turn has two dedicated left-turn lanes, and I was in the right one, since I wanted to end up in the right lane so I could get onto I-280.
The light turned green, I checked for stray pedestrians and went -- and so did the 5-series BMW in the far left turn lane. We turned, the BMW pulling slightly ahead, and I aimed for the right lane.
To my dismay, but not my surprise, the BMW also aimed for the right lane. Not wanting to cause a scene or crunch metal, I slowed slightly, let the driver in, sighed and continued.
Usually this is where this all-too common story ends. Not this time!
A So what happened?
Q Then a white Santa Clara County Sheriff's car pulled up past me, turned on its lights and siren, and pulled over the BMW. As I passed to get on the freeway, I saw the driver with an expression of "What did I do?" I think he was about to find out.
I just had to share this "good guys win" story.
A I love stories like this, especially after a similar thing happened to Mrs. Roadshow and me as she made a left turn from Payne Avenue to Saratoga Avenue and the car to our left veered directly in front of us. Folks, stay in your lane when there are multiple turn lanes. Please!
Q I cannot believe that Lexus has the lack of common sense as to depict its ES model speeding through city streets, around corners and past parked cars in commercials. And then there is the sexist aspect. In each case, the driver is an attractive young man, and his passenger is an attractive, young, demurely smiling woman. If I drove like that, my wife would be screaming to get out of the car.
A Mine, too.
Q I rented a Volvo once that had a blind-spot detection system. A light on the outside mirror went on whenever there was someone in my blind spot on either side. I hope that they make this feature standard on all cars.
A This is becoming common in most luxury models, and Joe-the-Cars.com-Guy says it's spreading to non-luxury vehicles, too, including Chevrolet and Ford.
Q It's a shame I have to bug you about closures of Interstate 5 rest areas, but Caltrans can't seem to keep its website up to date. We travel to Los Angeles every month and the Coalinga Avenal rest stop is perfect for us. It has been out of commission for some time, with the posted opening of July 2. But in mid-August it was still closed with no sign of any activity as we cruised by. What the heck are they doing? Do they need any help? I have some spare time.
A This is true relief. The rest stop opened last Friday.
You can find Gary Richards' columns at www.mercurynews.com/mr-roadshow or www.mercurynews.com/traffic. Follow Gary at Twitter.com/mrroadshow, look for him at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-920-5335.