New Tesla vehicles are starting to get banned from driving schools in Norway, where Tesla is becoming the most popular car brand. The problem? Tesla’s new turn signals.
I learned to drive in my dad’s old GM SUV. I can’t even remember the model.
In Norway, where electric vehicles are the norm and virtually every new car sold is all-electric, kids are now starting to learn to drive in electric vehicles, and Tesla is the most popular brand.
But now some driving schools in Norway are banning new Tesla vehicles from being used due to a feature that Tesla first introduced in Model S and Model X, but it more recently made its way in the more popular Model 3. That’s the lack of stalk for turn signals.
Instead, Tesla is using force touch buttons on the steering wheel.
Tesla’s reasoning for going away with a method universally used for signaling turn for decades is that it enables them to remove a physical part, the stalk, and it believes activating a turn signal will soon be unnecessary with the advent of self-driving.
Whether you believe Tesla’s self-driving promises or not, in the meantime, it is almost universally seen as a worse way to use turn signals.
Jåhn Hansen Øyen, who runs the Harstad Traffic School in Norway, was looking for a new vehicle for his school, and Tesla was at the top of his list. He said (via Motor).
Many of my colleagues have today’s Model Y as a school vehicle, and they are satisfied with both the car and the service. I was really set on a Tesla.
He ended up testing the Tesla Model 3, but he not only didn’t like the turn signal, he also found a specific case where they are dangerous: roundabouts/
In Norway, you have to indicate your exit in a roundabout by activating your turn signal, and he found it difficult while turning the steering wheel, which you have to do in a roundabout. A driving student would fail their test if they don’t activate their turn signal in a roundabout in Norway.
I tested the Model 3, and noticed that I lost both focus and direction in roundabouts. It’s not directly life-threatening, but you run the risk of both driving on curbs and other cars if there are two lanes.
After posting his findings in a group for driving schools, he was met with agreement by many other instructors who said that they experienced the same issue and the risk is much higher with students.
Many of them decided to ban Tesla vehicles with the force touch turn signal buttons for that reason.
Lars-Inge Haslie, a senior adviser in the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, said that he will look into the issue.
I don’t know if banning them is the right move. If a student plans to drive a Model 3, might as well learn to drive with it, but I have to admit that Tesla’s force touch turn signals is worse than a stalk.
It’s the first time I’ve even thought about the new turn signals being used in roundabouts, and I can clearly see how that can be a problem.
I think this is clearly a problem with Tesla’s aggressive approach to changing hardware in its vehicles in anticipation of its software solution to self-driving, which has yet to come and could potentially still be years away.
It doesn’t seem like a smart approach to me. Solve self-driving, then adapt your hardware to it. It doesn’t seem smart to make the driving experience worse in the meantime.