Safety

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#1
Given Tesla's obsession with SAFETY and its considerable success in obtaining the highest safety ratings for its cars, I thought a thread dedicated to SAFETY issues in the broadest sense ought to be justified.

I personally am extremely excited about the entire autonomous car discussion and note that Elon Musk believes autonomous cars would need to demonstrate being at least 10 times [!] safer than a human driving See from 18 min 55 sec:

youtube.com/watch?v=Y_e7rA4fBAo

This seems an incredibly high hurdle. A far more logical one to me would simply be the "better than human" hurdle, though I understand where Elon is coming from.


A completely different consideration is that of safety in relation to SUVs. At the risk of offending some Members, I declare that I belong to that part of the population, that refers to these as "Suburban Warfare Vehicles". While I am not aware of any definitive scientific study demonstrating that SUV drivers are the most dangerous driver cohort on our roads, I am certain that this is indeed the case. I have not been able to prove it, but I am convinced that the following equation holds true:

Danger to other Road Users = Driver's competence x (Car Size)^2

Hence, even if we give SUV drivers the benefit of doubt and assume they are as competent as other car drivers (maybe a bit of a stretch), their car size works against them both in terms of danger to other drivers as well as nuisance factor once it comes to parking.

Anyway, what is my point? This is not a criticism of the Model X, as I appreciate that there will always be practical reasons for a certain portion of the population wanting to drive an SUV.

However, I really wonder if the high safety performance of Tesla cars could actually lead to an eventual reduction in percent of SUV on our roads, as for at least some SUV drivers, a key motivation for driving a massive SUV appears to be the perceived higher safety this type of vehicle offers the driver.


So, do you think that at least some current SUV drivers might switch to the smaller but demonstrably safer Tesla Model 3 as it assuages their insecurities about their driving? Are you perhaps already one of them?

Do autonomous cars really need to demonstrate being more than 10 times safer than human drivers before regulators will allow these on our roads?

Do you have any questions/comments about any Tesla Model 3 safety features?
 

MelindaV

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#2
here's my question on the autonomous driving...
First, I totally trust what Tesla and Elon have planned for the Tesla vehicles and that it will go over great and be successful, but in general I am concerned that autonomous features will make bad drivers worse.

My experience being from work related road trips with my boss in his Infinity between Portland and Seattle (roughly 3 hours ea way). in his previous vehicle without as many sensors (I think it has a backup cam and parking proximity sensors) he wasn't a great driver and I would spend the entire trip watching the road and reminding him he was coming up on a simi truck 30mph faster than the truck, warn him he was about to change lanes into a car, pull into an intersection in front of a car, etc... you get the point. He sucks at driving for one reason or another. With the Infinity with blindspot warnings, beeps & shakes if you cross the lane lines, parking cameras on the front and back and front end collision warnings, he never looks in a mirror, swerves across the freeway lane like he is playing pong and changes lanes without any consideration to other traffic (more than once has cut off a car in the far lane already moving to the lane he is changing to). I don't think he has parked down the middle of a space in 6 months and his answer is "the car says it's ok". maybe the sensors are just not as precise as I would expect on that car, but regardless of the vehicle's ability, the driver's skills took a huge drop.
 

garsh

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#3
...I am concerned that autonomous features will make bad drivers worse.
Sure, there's probably some truth to that, since people may end up with even less experience driving. But the end goal is to make bad drivers into passengers. If people have the option to be chauffeured at any time for free versus driving themselves, then the only people left driving will (hopefully) be those people who take it seriously and are decent at it.
 
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#4
... I am concerned that autonomous features will make bad drivers worse.
Scary observation MelindaV, but perhaps I agree with garsh that it probably is true. The moment we start using autonomous car features the human brain will more or less quickly lose the skill of driving.

I guess the situation you describe though is a below average driver in combination with a poor "autopilot". Hopefully, a Tesla "autonomous car" will be better than the average driver. I am just not sure that it needs to be 10x better to gain regulatory/consumer acceptance.
 
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#5
Your boss shouldn't have a license!

Autopilot should enhance a driver's situational awareness and for the foreseeable future not replace the driver. Untill all roads have some form of enbedded markers to define lines there are way too many roads that either do not have painted lane stripes, are under repair (don't know about too many other states but here we have winter and road contruction seasons, forget spring, summer, and fall), too narrow, and a host of other inconsistencies for autopilot to be completely autonomous.
 

TE3LA

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#6
A semi-autonomous vehicle has features that will certainly enhance vehicle safety, e.g. emergency stopping, blindspot correction, etc., but it seem to me that it must also create certain dangers.

Image yourself on a long roadtrip. You just finished supercharging (and a big meal) and now you have to drive another 3 hours on a long boring stretch of freeway. You feel yourself getting a little droopy eyed so you pop on the autopilot...3...2.....1.....zzzzzzzz. An increase in SLEEPING drivers must be an unintended consequence of autopilot!

Does anyone know what the Model S does when in autopilot mode and the driver falls asleep?

Of course, if the Model 3 ends up being fully autonomous, then we're all good :)
 

MelindaV

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#7
I watched a couple 'test drive' videos of the Model S/X autopilot and the vehicle does beep at the driver when it feels they need to take the wheel. I don't remember any mentioning what happens if they don't react within the time the car expects.
 

TE3LA

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#10
Man, there are some really nasty comments in that thread! I'm glad this forum has so far been very respectful. I think we can all agree that what the Model S does in this situation is WAY better than when someone who falls asleep with a typical cruise control on, but that doesn't get us past the question of whether the autopilot increases the likelyhood of someone falling asleep at the wheel. It only seems natural that it would as less attention is required to keep the car on the road. Fully autonomous cannot come soon enough!
 

MelindaV

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#11
(OT) I've also noticed that both the forum on teslamotors and the teslamotorsclub forum have much more attitude. Maybe just because they have been established and some longstanding members feel it's important to be a-holes behind a keyboard...
But even within the Model3 sections, and by members with signatures indicating they've reserved a Model3, there is a lot of "Model3 owners will be a 3rd class citizen" attitudes and the general tone that Model3 owners are not as deserving as the upper crust that own a (or multiple) S/X's. Especially in conversations on Superchargers and features the early Model S didn't have but will be included (likely) on the Model3.
I for one appreciate that @TrevP set up this site so we can choose to be isolated from that if we like :)
 

garsh

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#12
Back on topic, the feature as currently implemented seems pretty good. I think the beeping would wake me up if I were actually nodding off while behind the wheel. And if I actually were incapacitated (say, from a heart attack), Then this is actually probably the safest thing to do that will actually cause a passer-by to stop and see if I need help. If it pulled over instead, everybody would probably just ignore the car.
 

TrevP

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#13
(OT) I've also noticed that both the forum on teslamotors and the teslamotorsclub forum have much more attitude. Maybe just because they have been established and some longstanding members feel it's important to be a-holes behind a keyboard...
But even within the Model3 sections, and by members with signatures indicating they've reserved a Model3, there is a lot of "Model3 owners will be a 3rd class citizen" attitudes and the general tone that Model3 owners are not as deserving as the upper crust that own a (or multiple) S/X's. Especially in conversations on Superchargers and features the early Model S didn't have but will be included (likely) on the Model3.
I for one appreciate that @TrevP set up this site so we can choose to be isolated from that if we like :)
Thanks!

I have nothing against TMC. I've be been a member there for many years. But like you, I have noticed some members have attitudes and it makes participating difficult at times because of the signal to noise ratio.

I wanted to create a focussed community for all of the new Tesla enthusiasts coming into the fold because of Model 3. My other venture through my YouTube channel is one of education and to show newcomers what Tesla is all about, and to teach them how the company and the cars work.

I have one other project in the works that will come to light shortly that I think many will really appreciate ;)
 

Dan Detweiler

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#16
On safety. The silence of EVs has been cited as a threat to pedestrians and cyclists. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
That was a big source of contention when the Volt came out. I have driven one for four years now and it has never been an issue with me or anyone that I know that has one. Much ado about nothing it seems.

Dan
 

garsh

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#17
On safety. The silence of EVs has been cited as a threat to pedestrians and cyclists. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
And the silence of bicycles is a threat to pedestrians. Do you remember how many people used to die when those damn quiet horses were trotting all over town? It was a massacre!

I hate this line of thought. Cities are so damn noisy. I can't wait for the day when every car is electric and the city is just so much quieter. The only people who should be relying on only their ears to navigate around vehicles are the deaf, and they're smart enough to listen for the cross walk signals.
 

Charlie W

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#18
I drive a 2012 Plug-in Prius. When I accelerate up to about 20 mph, an artificial motor sound can be heard coming from under the front hood (on the left side, I believe). As I speed up, the sound goes up slightly in pitch. (When I'm at a full stop or go above that speed, the noise stops.) When I bought the car new, the salesperson told me that the law required EVs to make some noise for safety reasons, (i.e., pedestrians), so Toyota put a speaker under the hood for that purpose. Whether that's true or not, I don't know. I've been told a LOT of things by car salespeople.
 
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#19
I would not completely dismiss any safety concern due to the silence of EV vehicles out of hand (notwithstanding Dan's observations above). Just like cyclists and pedestrians can become a safety issue, EVs and pedestrians could, if we are not considerate.

Half of the issue can probably be addressed by EV drivers simply being AWARE that their cars might be inaudible to pedestrians and for them to act with appropriate caution and courtesy (just the other day I saw a lady on an electric wheelchair drive aggressively from behind an even older lady and totally unnecessarily startling the poor old lady - it was shocking). I also hope that in a worst case scenario, the Tesla car's safety feature will prevent accidents with pedestrians.

It is the other half of the equation - the pedestrians themselves - that also need to be aware that roads are meant for cars and as pedestrians they need to take appropriate caution. Maybe future mobile phones can be designed so their screens blank out while crossing streets or when EVs are approaching.

What Charlie describes above seems like a pretty "sad" solution - but maybe necessary. There certainly needs to be behavioral change. Just like pedestrians and cyclists can get along in some places but not in others, we all have to make sure that EV cars and pedestrians is the non-issue that Dan says it is.