Q: Your reader referred to the head restraint as a headrest. They are not for comfort, but are an integral part of the restraint system designed to reduce head and neck movement in a collision. Altering the size, or worse, removing it could have serious consequences. She should learn to back up using the three mirrors and camera system installed in most vehicles.
Ted Atlas, Campbell
A: You’re one of several people concerned about safety issues if a car’s head restraints are changed.
Q: Hopefully, when Sue Kayton modified her car’s headrest, she did not increase the risk of whiplash injuries. As for removing headrests on rental cars, this is a bad practice. Even if hit from behind by a slow-moving vehicle, one is still at risk without a headrest. One solution is to increase the viewing area by moving the driver’s seat back as far as possible while still being able to reach the pedals, and moving the passenger seat forward. Also, adjust your mirrors. There are mirrors and dash cams you can buy to increase the visibility behind you. When I went to the US Army flight school, we were told on the first day on the flight line to get our heads out of the cockpit and become aware of everything around us, not only to the front and to the sides, but above, below and behind.
Bruce Beyer, Sunnyvale
Q: It is very difficult to see how you are lined up when approaching the (Bay Bridge toll) plaza, and does lead to swerving. Paint clear markings that extend quite far back to make it clear that you shouldn’t drive there.
A: Thanks for your observation about the area near Bay Bridge toll lane 14, which is closed.
Q: I have greatly enjoyed your column over the years. Thank you for the work that goes into it.
I’m sure other readers mentioned that your response to a reader’s inquiry about work on San Luis Dam (actually B.F. Sisk Dam; they confusingly don’t always give dams the same names as their reservoirs) inadvertently mixed in the work being done at Anderson Dam.
At B.F. Sisk Dam, they’re adding a berm on the highway side, and raising it. At Anderson Dam, they’re replacing the whole dam. Both involve a whole pile of money, and there are lots of smaller bits to each project, as you noted.
As a geologist, I’ve been lucky to have worked on aspects of the Anderson Dam project (but not the B.F. Sisk one).
A: Thanks, and yes, the response to that question did require the clarification that you and several other readers provided.
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