The Mercury News
Sometimes a light `toot' is necessary for traffic flow
QI hope you can clarify what a driver should do when another driver is causing a potentially dangerous situation, though it is not an emergency.
I was trying to merge onto northbound Highway 85 from Central Expressway in Mountain View. The driver in front of me did not speed up to near highway speed for safe merging, but stopped at the merge point, backing up the entire highway entrance, potentially causing a dangerous situation for all of us trying to merge onto 85, as well as for oncoming traffic.
It isn't clear what I should have done. I took down the driver's license plate number and called CHP's non-emergency number to report the driver and situation. They said I should have called at the time of the incident. This strikes me as not being the safest option. CHP also advised that I should have called the local police station in Mountain View. What would you advise drivers do in a similar situation where they notice a driver not following the rules of the road?
Thank you for consideration of my question. I've been reading your column since I was a teen driver growing up in San Jose and have enjoyed and learned a lot from your responses to fellow Bay Area drivers! — Judy Wang, San Jose
There is not much you can do. In a situation like you describe, the offending driver would be long gone by the time CHP could arrive to deal with the issue in an official way. A light toot on the horn may be helpful but don't expect that to solve the problem, and some people get upset at any use of a horn. Keep calm, and help traffic move along safely yourself, which is sounds as if you already do.
I travel daily on Interstate 800 north toward Highway 101. On 880, as you approach the Alameda exit, there is a very bad water leak. It affects lanes 3 and 4 and the right shoulder. I have reported it to the city, but they have not addressed it. It seems to be getting worse and the road shows damage. — Penny Ralston
And … Q Ever storms since recently, the big there has been water on 880 north immediately before the Alameda exit. It could be a road hazard, and at the very least, it's a waste of precious water. — Jill Prestigiacomo
Several years ago when water leaked like this on 880, Caltrans dug up the road and poured more concrete under the level of the normal road bed to try to stop the leak closer to its source. No word yet if Caltrans believes major repairs are again needed here.