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Lowering car windows can help disperse coronavirus ‘significantly’: Roadshow

Q: Is COVID-19 to be feared when driving in my car with family members? Or is my car a safe haven if I keep the windows up?

Fred Warner, Dublin

A: Surprise, surprise. It can be a safe haven, but a Harvard study suggests opening car windows a mere 3 inches can significantly help keep COVID-19 from spreading among people sharing the same vehicle. Because modern cars can be airtight, if the coronavirus is present, it has nowhere to go and is spread more easily to people inside the vehicle.

Asymptomatic people can spread the virus without anyone knowing they are ill, so opening a car window when traveling with others is prudent, whether you are in a personal vehicle or in a rideshare.

Q: Last month, while driving through an intersection in Foster City, I noticed a 40ish-year-old woman karate kicking a pole, attempting to activate the pedestrian button with her foot. Obviously, she didn’t care to use her finger for fear of contagion. Then three weeks ago, a teen girl wasted what I think was a kung fu kick to enable the “walk” signal, no doubt, to avoid disease. I yelled that her shoe was probably dirtier than her hand.

In each case, I think the health-conscious person could have used an elbow, paper towel or even toilet paper. Am I being a nitpicker?  Have any readers witnessed this sport?

Marvin Berkson, Foster City

A: You are the first, but this is no surprise. Several cities have readjusted pedestrian signals so people do not need to press the walk button as often. But some get frustrated and imitate Bruce Lee. It can help to carry a disinfectant wipe before touching the walk button.

Q: As my 8-year-old grandson would say, “LOL,” regarding San Jose’s ridiculous solution to traffic calming. Disabling pedestrian buttons and changing the timing of green lights have contributed to more dangerous driving. Certainly, downtown we see more motorcycles and cars speeding through intersections.

Roseanna Lavia, San Jose

A: Less traffic, yet more reckless behavior. This is not good.

Q: The Memorial Day weekend scene on Highway 9 and Skyline Boulevard highlights that the whole roadway is descending into chaos with speeding and racing. Why do authorities refuse to enforce the most basic of traffic laws?

James Wilkerson

A: The CHP has begun a motorcycle safety campaign through September on Highway 1 and other mountain roads, like Skyline. Last year, there were 111 injury crashes and five fatal crashes involving motorcycles on the Peninsula due to unsafe speed, following too closely, unsafe lane changes, improper turning and other violations by both motorcyclists and other drivers.

Join Gary Richards for an hourlong chat noon Wednesday at Look for Gary Richards at or contact him at  or 408-920-5335.

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Author: Gary Richards

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