EAP in LA (highway) traffic - or any other major urban area where everybody drives like a lunatic

EAP in LA (highway) traffic - or any other major urban area where everybody drives like a lunatic


M3 owner here in LA.

How useful do you guys find EAP (TACC and Autosteer) in LA, especially when commuting on freeways? This of course applies to any other area with MAJOR traffic.

Even with distance to car in front set to 1, people are constantly cutting, which leads to the car braking heavily. This applies to stop-and-go as much as to driving at freeway speed (70ish). Especially during rush hour, every time this happens, I'm afraid the car behind me is gonna crash into me. With more fluid trafffic and a little more space, it's kinda ok, but ppl still cut.

Not on freeways, but still: at traffic lights, the distance to the car in front is way too much. Slowly creeping up to the car in front is also tricky, cause the car will brake abruptly.

Thoughts? Remedies?

Ehecatl | March 15, 2019

I'm a new owner as well and noticed what you stated. I'm in Seattle and I don't trust EAP at freeway speeds in heavy traffic, which is about 55 to 65. As fast as people drive in LA with heavy traffic I definitely wouldn't use it.
In true stop and go traffic, from 0 to 30 MPH it's a God send. Not having to keep your eyes glued to the car in front of you and shifting your foot from brake to accelerator makes rush hour traffic bearable.
I don't use EAP on surface roads.

nhunguyen | March 15, 2019

have 3 car distance and enjoy it! no problem for me.

cascadiadesign | March 15, 2019

What do people think of Autosteer? I'm on day 3 and I just can't get used to it.

For starters, I tend to drive a little to the right of center on the freeway, especially in the fast lane next to a barrier. Not to the degree that people honk, but I guess it's a lifetime habit. Do you eventually re-calibrate yourself to driving in absolute center of the lane? At the moment, Autosteer makes me uncomfortable.

Second, if the car seems to wander slightly off the exact path I expect it to take, I correct the wheel which of course disengages AP. Is it a matter of developing trust in the system that it will remain centered? I'm talking about a slow drift, not a sudden change in direction. It feels strange to let it go to see if it will correct. I'm talking about clear, well marked, highways with little traffic. I'm a ways off before even trying moderate freeway traffic.

ccash | March 15, 2019

I’m finding you have to relegate yourself to the fact that people are going to cut while using AP. I keep my distance at 1 when at highway speeds. Sometimes I back it off in bumper-to-bumper.

I just don’t think TACC is aggressive enough for LA traffic. One thing I do a lot of is ridie the accelerator even when TACC is engaged. It’s a balancing act to keep the car braking smoothly and keeping that gap small enough that people don’t keep diving in. I override it a lot too when it does phantom slow-downs.

Today was really bad though, and I think it may be because of a new software download. I came to a hard slow-down 4 times for no reason (no reason that I could see). Traffic was very heavy. One of those times I was going about 70 with no one in front of me, and it just hit the brakes and dove down to about 30 before I overrode it. The car behind me must’ve wondered what the hell was wrong with me. I know I would. I’m glad he was paying attention.

I know it doesn’t sound like it, but despite the hiccups, AP is making my commute much less stressful.

ccash | March 15, 2019

Cascadia - I think it’s a trust thing, yes. It feels very abnormal to me to always be centered, especially next to a tractor trailer, or in the far left lane. I always cheat away from cars in the lane next to me. This is “robot driving”. I use Autosteer less than 25% of the time that I’m using TACC — usually in very heavy bumper to bumper or very light open freeway. The middle ground is where I feel vulnerable.

ccash | March 15, 2019

Referring to Autosteer as “robot driving” — black and white.

CST | March 15, 2019

Set it to 7 and don't work about it.

ccash | March 15, 2019

You’re a better person than me, CST.

I just. can’t. do it.

2015P90DI | March 16, 2019

Nav on AP is a party trick at best for now. Best used if there's virtually no traffic. In heavy traffic or even moderate high speed traffic it scares the crap out of me or annoys me. I'm not a lunatic driver, but also not remotely a "grandma" driver.

As noted above, especially in L.A. where leaving any space in front of you just invites people to cut you off, AP creates an undesirable situation that allows others to take advantage. "mad max" mode just brings Nav on AP up "grandma" status. Not sure what you would call the other choices, maybe "6 feet under" mode as I can't imagine any live person driving like that.

Naturally, Tesla is taking the over cautious approach. But in places like L.A. where drivers are already highly stressed, having the car in front of you (the Tesla) hit the brakes every time to change lanes or exit the freeway just sets them off the deep end. Have had many horns blown at me when trying to let it do its thing. Most of the time, I'm too impatient to wait for the car to make its own lane change and just grab the wheel and do it myself.

Also, find myself keeping my foot on the accelerator to keep the gap in front closer in heavier traffic so I don't get cut off. For me, it has no practical use. I use it only because I feel its my obligation to assist Tesla in letting the system learn from use.

Hoping someday it learns to drive more like a real world driver, but based on where it's currently at, in addition to how it performs on tighter roads with several turns (not well), I see that we're still many years away from true FSD becoming a reality. What does this prove? Only that, "It's not easy to develop a self driving car". Tesla appears to be ahead of everyone else, but we're still a ways off. Either that, or Tesla is the only one willing to release these features before they're 100% ready for use. Basically, Tesla is using us to help the system learn. The bigger manufacturers may not be willing to do that. So who knows, could be other manufacturers well further along that just release a FSD car all of sudden once they've mastered it??? Only time will tell.

I miss the original AP without all the nags, but for those that didn't have the luxury of experiencing AP1 in its original form, then the current version is likely the greatest thing since sliced bread to you. I only have disappointment in the system because I loved the original version so much. Unfortunately, all the people that posted videos showing how stupid they were with abusing the system has led us to where we are with it today. Everyone paid the price for a select few. But, it's still a fun party trick and still a nice feature on wide open roads. Unfortunately, in L.A., it's rare to be on a wide open road.

Bulldawg | March 16, 2019

I don’t have much more time to decide but I’m thinking about paying the reduced $2k price for AP for the TACC feature. It was the only part of the free trial I was happy with. Now y’all are reminding me of all the reasons it might be a waste of money. Atlanta driver.

M3phan | March 16, 2019

Been using EAP since last summer. Took me two days to “trust” it, now use it and Nav on AP almost everyday. I dislike the occasional hesitancy but here’s the thing: of all the data that Tesla aggregates from its fleet re autopilot, i read that they especially focus on disengagement events. That is, analyzing all the circumstances around when and why a driver takes over from autopilot and disengages the system. Those events are especially ripe for neural net learning and improving the system. So in my very small contribution, even when the system goes wonky and I have to take over, I want to use my EAP and future FSD (whatever and whenever that is) as much as poss to help the system learn and improve.

richmond1508 | March 16, 2019

We purchased EAP on our first M3. My experience has been the same as others above. It works well in certain situations but in LA freeway traffic it has its limitations. We now have an order in for our second M3 and I’ve decided to skip AP/FSD completely. The M3 is a really fun car to drive and I enjoy driving it more than letting it drive itself, so I’m going to save the money and just drive it like I’ve been doing for many years. If AP/FSD improves significantly I can always add it later, but I suspect that I will not want it until I’m ready to trade in my M3 for the next generation of technology in EVs, years from now.

MalibuRed | March 16, 2019

Hello my commute twice a week is from Malibu to Burbank. I use this all the time. The trick to a smoother ap/fsd is to adjust the distance ahead of me from 7 down to approx 1-2 this way when the ICE cuts me off ...haha...try that. Love my ap/fsd in LA but dislike the idiot drivers... ps haven’t been cut off by another tesla yet, but a Volt/bolt a couple times... Jealousy ha

TorstenTheTesla | March 16, 2019

Yeah, don't get me wrong, I actually bought EAP yesterday after we had 2x 30-day trials. It works great for very slow stop-and go traffic (up to 20ish mph), cause that's the point where I usually get bored, ADHD kicks in and you start fiddling around with something else in the car (screen), which, of course, you shouldn't.

For anything that's not hyper-dense traffic, it also works GREAT and it is actually very helpful. We did a few medium long road trips and it was a blessing (LA to Sequioa, LA to Death Valley, LA to Joshua Tree). On our recent round trip to New Orleans we didn't have it, but I sure wish I HAD had it.

The thing about driving in LA is the urge to have to go fast too and cutting ppl off is actually pretty infectious :D and I can't stand people cutting me off, which has nothing to do with ego or rationally saving valuable lifetime (2 mins? come on). Not trying to justify it, but it still is very real.

There should be an option to set the car distance to a REAL 0, or in current metrics to -3 so it can compete with other drivers.

As ccash stated, overriding TACC is very useful and helpful and I d that al the time, but sometimes you still have to remind yourself that when you are on the electron pedal, TACC won't brake, which is the whole purpose.

rdm227 | March 16, 2019

Even if you don't use autosteer very often I think for $2,000 for TACC primarily is still a good deal. It really helps in both stop and go traffic and also on longer trips when one would normally use normal cruise control. I also find it very helpful on the 2 lane roads when you are behind people without any real passing options (I don't use autosteer on these roads, but TACC works well and of course you have to be ready to brake hard at any time) as it does a great job of slowing down and speeding up for you. Like others have said AP will continually evolve and I think mostly it is a trust thing with people that are new to using it. All the people I talk to with Teslas swear by it.

texxx | March 16, 2019

Just can't trust it. EAP still feels like a 16-year-old driving the car. The centering issues, wandering toward off or on ramps when EAP isn't sure where my lane is, not seeing far enough ahead to anticipate what I can see is obviously about to happen, which then leads to abrupt corrections. Like I said, all the things a new driver goes through when they are learning.

Now in slow stop-and-go, as many people have mentioned, it's great. But do I trust my life to it on open roads at high speed. About as much as I'd trust a new driver with little actual driving experience. I'm never going to not be watching very closely and ready to take over at a moment's notice, and that means maintaining situational awareness 100% of the time. May as well be driving, so I do.It will get there, but there's a long way to go.

howard | March 16, 2019

I don’t use it. It is just not relaxing enough to fool with it. Paid the 2k for FSD counting on EAP really improving.

charles.a.braun | March 16, 2019

Just remember that if you set it to 1 and you are killed in a crash, Tesla will let the world know that you had the follow distance set to 1 and do so in an effort to shift blame to you for using an unsafe setting.

I recall that being in Tesla's report on the Model X crash in the bay area a year or so ago.

billlake2000 | March 16, 2019

The bigger question for me is, why are they driving like lunatics? Let's meet at brunch and discuss it.

eplaskett | March 16, 2019


I use EAP (TACC+Autosteer) every day on the Connector, mostly in the HOV lane. It has fundamentally changed my commute from extremely stressful one pretty relaxing. I am extremely vigilant and keep my hands on the wheel and foot resting lightly against the accelerator at all times, but 95% (or more) of the time, I don't have to do anything at all. I am gladiator to have paid $5,000 for it at delivery; $2,000 (albeit with a slightly reduced feature set) is a bargain.

jim | March 16, 2019

I use EAP in heavy SoCal traffic. It's okay but not perfect. As many others have pointed out, even with distance set at 1, LA drivers will cut in front of you all the time. I've learned to relax and let it happen. The reduced stress is worth an extra 5 minutes of drive time. I don't see how TESLA can do anything about this as the problem is the aggressive stupidity of LA drivers. In there minds, it's better to risk a rear end collision than to let someone else in or increase your commute time by 5 minutes. The result is dozens of avoidable collisions every day. I can't imagine TELSA deciding to let EAP tailgate someone at an unsafe distance just so people can't cut you off.

kevin_rf | March 16, 2019

Not, SOC, but I use it every day on 495 in Boston. When traffic is bumper to bumper EAP's a life saver. Of course I keep the car in Chill and spend a fair amount of time in the right to lanes.

twistedskipper | March 16, 2019

Could somebody describe what exactly is happening when somebody cuts you off in LA? Are they moving in to your lane slower than your lane is moving or reducing your spacing uncomfortably or making the TACC hit the brakes or ??

P49X | March 16, 2019

I use NoAP whenever possible, otherwise TACC/Autosteer, otherwise just TACC. TACC almost always engaged.

Despite the marketing names for these features, I use them as driving assistance. They are in Beta for us to help refine the capabilities. I don't depend on them, but do find them to reduce fatigue, especially in stop-and-go traffic.

TACC does leave a lot of space between cars so I often creep the car forward. If the creep is done with little accelerator pressure, there is no sudden stopping, just a gentle creep forward.

Autosteer is unnerving on sharp curves where there is a concrete barrier or other obstruction close to the lane boundary. I typically don't use it in those areas. I think it keeps the car mostly centered, but with +/- deviations at high speed, I end up correcting it out of Autosteer, so it's not helpful.

Interestingly, I don't get annoyed when a car moves into my following space. I guess that's because TACC automatically adjusts and I don't have to jump on the brake like I did without TACC.

dmanincali | March 16, 2019

Agree with @richmond1508. Bought EAP for my M3P but the car is just so damn fun to drive that I end up very rarely using EAP. EAP doesn't take advantage of the amazing acceleration. On my MX on the other hand I use it all the time.

dmanincali | March 16, 2019

@twistedskipper - TACC very aggressively maintains the prescribed following distance. So one of 2 things happens:
1. Since the gap in front of your car will be one of the biggest gaps on a busy aggressive freeway, everyone who is looking to move over will move in front of you (as opposed to other cars that keep much smaller distances). Probably a safer way to drive but is annoying in busy and aggressive areas.
2. When someone does move in front of you, normally you can ease of the gas and slowly increase the distance. TACC sometimes hits the breaks to very quickly get back to following distance. This actually isn't safe as it makes you ripe for being rear-ended.

TexasBob | March 16, 2019

@2015P90DI "Nav on AP is a party trick at best for now. Best used if there's virtually no traffic. In heavy traffic or even moderate high speed traffic it scares the crap out of me or annoys me."

I have seen you post this sentiment on numerous threads and I have to say my experience with NoAP could not be more different. I drive NoAP literally every day on I45 in Houston and 610 in Houston and at least once a week on I10 west of Houston (which has the dubious honor of being the widest freeway in the world with 26 lanes). I find that it works incredibly well. (Where I drive is not as congested as some places but still in the top 100 most congested stretches of freeway in America.) To offer an alternative view to balance the "party trick" perspective here is what I have learned:

* EAP works much better on NoAP because the car knows where it is supposed to go (just like human drivers I guess)
* I never have experienced the "lurching" into the entrance ramp that some report and it has gotten very good at recognizing others merging into my lane and giving them space
* the auto-lane-change works flawlessly for me, I do not even look over my shoulder anymore (I still check mirrors) although it has on occasion self-aborted in mid lane change when the person in the adjacent lane started to encroach
* It manages freeway interchanges without issues nearly all of the time

TexasBob | March 16, 2019

Here are the things it still does not do well:
1) It cannot merge very well when my lane disappears so I use auto lane change to position the car out of lanes that are disappearing
2) It takes flyovers with sharp bends a bit too fast for my taste about 20% of the time (I have gotten to where I almost never intervene because I have learned to trust it, but still unnerving)
3) There is one place where the maps are out of date and it always wants to go the wrong way. (The traffic was rerouted about 6 months ago so really Tesla get you act together on this!)

TexasBob | March 16, 2019

Just yesterday I took NoAP on the 26 lane freeway, it automatically changed freeways, managed the auto lane changes from merge onto the freeway across traffic out 40 miles and back. It just works well for me.

I am not disputing your experience, but as I said, I ride on NoAP a minimum of 500 trips a year and it works great. I honestly do not drive myself when I am on the freeway anymore. In heavy, rush hour traffic I will tend to reduce following distance to 1 or 2 and normally drive on 3.

Now, to be clear, I NEVER, EVER use autopilot when I am not on a restricted access divided highway. So your comments on other threads about canyon roads ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I totally believe you that it does not work properly and I would never even begin to trust it on those roads. But on the roads for which it is designed, I use it every day and it works great.

kcheng | March 16, 2019

Setting of 1, is only ½ a second, right? People are diving into a gap of only ½ a second? That's gotta be unnerving.

texxx | March 16, 2019

@texasbob - I live in Houston too, and while I'm proud of all the concrete on I-10 it's nowhere near 26 lanes of freeway. Pretty sure the I-405 guys have us beat. (And many others.)

And I still wouldn't trust my life to EAP on that road. Way too many asshats that love to run up the right-hand lanes and cut in because they just HAVE to be in front of you.

Madatgascar | March 16, 2019

Kcheng, a setting of 1 gets horns from the cars behind you in LA. Especially when you’re in the fast lane and the 4th car comes in front of you. Just have to keep your foot on the accelerator.

casun | March 16, 2019

i use eap all the time in southern california and find it very useful, especially in heavy traffic. thats the best time to use it.

Garyeop | March 16, 2019

EAP is very useful on long drives. I just took a trip from Kansas City to north of Memphis. I set up automatic lane change. Once I set my destination and speed, it was amazing. Gives you a vibration, changes lanes, passes, then back into non passing lane. It made the trip seem much shorter.

Two issues. I drive way too fast. By letting it run near speed limit my trip was an hour longer. Also when returning to right lane it does not notice onramp traffic. Twice I had to deny the lane change by tapping the steering wheel left.

Still love it.

Bulldawg | March 16, 2019

@eplaskett I’m gonna go ahead and get it. My commute is Jackson County to Cobb Galleria. Yes, I’m insane. Lots of construction right now on I-85 so that’ll worry me til they’re done next year. But as I mentioned, I did like TACC so at this price it’s an offer I can’t refuse.

mrburke | March 16, 2019

I assume you have to be a lunatic to drive on LA's freeways.

kevin_rf | March 16, 2019

Only during rush hour. Which extends from 12am to 11:59pm.

sbeggs | March 16, 2019

Will only drive thru LA Sunday mornings seven am!

TexasBob | March 16, 2019

@texx - sneaky mayor!

I just did round trip today from 45 to bw 8 on 10 (trip to the costco!) running EAP. Worked fine both ways. Obviously, YMMV, but it consistently does very well for me and I am looking forward to the HW and SW upgrades in FSD to make it even better on the freeway. Not sure I will every trust it on surface streets, but I am looking for full-on movie mode on the freeway to dallas.

jim | March 16, 2019

@mrburke said "I assume you have to be a lunatic to drive on LA's freeways."

You don't start out being a lunatic, you just end up that way. In SoCal, if you try being smart and moving closer to your work, you'll get laid off or your company will move. So you become fatalistic and accept a long miserable commute as part of your daily life. After 10-20 years of spending a couple of hours a day in bumper to bumper traffic with idiots, you end up going insane.

SPeditor | March 16, 2019

I drive in LA. The 5, 170, 118 freeways daily. Autopilot in the fast lane no matter the traffic was more challenging for various reasons. I decided to go to the slower lanes with 2 car distance on autopilot. So far that works best with the LA traffic for me.

jfulton67 | March 16, 2019

I love using EAP on the surface streets going home from work. I just have to watch to make sure there is a car in front of me. I've used it in LA traffic several times, and I like it especially in bumper to bumper traffic, but changing lanes in bumper to bumper traffic sometimes means erratic slow downs to change lanes. But, for just going in traffic it is fantastic!

apodbdrs | March 16, 2019

I don't have any problems using EAP while driving my Model 3 in LA, I just set to about a 3 car distance and relax. I driving from Pismo to Orange County about a month ago and all the freeways were at a standstill, thank goodness for EAP, what a joy! I have driven ICE cars all over the US and traffic has increased everywhere in the medium to large cities during certain times, so it isn't just LA.

Bloob | March 16, 2019

Ya know... I used to be one of those guys who lived in the passing lane, constantly trying to shave as much time off my drive as possible. I've decided it's not worth the stress and aggravation (and the close calls.) Now I just cruise along in the right lane, a little bit slower than everyone else wants to go (maybe 5-7 mph above the speed limit.) So everybody passes me, and there's no one in front of me, and I can just relax. Takes a little longer, but I am in much better shape at the end.

Because of this, I question whether I should spend thousands of dollars on AP and FSD. I kinda want to have all the cool tech and play with it, but I feel like after a while, I'll stop using it and it will be a waste of money for me. I don't even drive that much, because I work from home!

JAD | March 16, 2019

Guess what, it is too cautious for some and too aggressive for others. Everyone drives differently and it won't exactly match your style. If you relax and accept that, learn what it does well and what you should take over for, it is an amazing benefit. It isn't exactly how you would drive, but it works well.

antikreligion | March 16, 2019

I have AP.

Use it everyday on the 405.

It is amazing. No issues. No issues the OP mentioned. It has been a life save. I am in bumper to bumper for 3 hrs a day and the AP handles everything. I sit back and relax and just put one finger on the bottom of the steering wheel or will touch it when prompted.

Has made my daily commute amazing.

On longer trips where there is light to minimal traffic it is amazing too. It works great In every situation. I was so blown away during trial I ponied up and bought it. It is the real deal. I didn’t believe it but it was.

No issues with bs drivers cutting in and in very rough bumper to bumper traffic. It works amazing. Buy it. Seriously.

ccash | March 16, 2019

This has been an interesting read. TexasBob, I’m going to try NoAp on my next drive to work.

As just about everyone else has said, in bumper-to-bumper, it’s a life-changer. Sometimes people sneak in but it’s not that big a deal. AP handles it *pretty* well.

Last thing: I think auto lane change is almost always useless in LA traffic. I put on my turn signal and it waits, waits, waits... “C;mon car, you gotta get in there when you can!”, ha. Half the time it seems like it aborts, other drivers think I’m nuts or can’t drive, so I just takeover and make the lane change myself. I don’t even try it any more.

2015P90DI | March 17, 2019

I agree, it's great for bumper to bumper traffic. Not so much Nav on AP if it needs to change lanes. I LA traffic, you have to force your way in most of the time. A blinker in L.A. to other drivers means "Oh shit, speed up". So Nav on AP struggles in that respect. But it's amazing at dealing with the stop and go part in the same lane. Only down side is that it leaves too much space, so you do get cut off quite often.

It's also amazing on long trips out in the middle of nowhere with minimal traffic.

Someone equated it to a 16 year old. I equate it to a 5-7 year old. Great for simple tasks, not so much for complex ones. Again, it's not easy....for any manufacturer, that's why FSD doesn't exist yet in the real world. Some day, just many days from now, possibly years.

The downside is, many people expected to much of from it and got stupid with it. They so desperately wanted it to be a driver replacement, which it absolutely is not. Tesla screams that at you. Unfortunately, many people don't listen and Tesla has had to react by reducing what it will handle on its own for now.

If you purchase it and use it as its intended, then it can be a great feature. If you're purchasing it with the hopes that you don't have to do much, you'll be disappointed. If you actually put too much faith in it, you might end up dead. Again, great system, if you understand its limitations and use it as directed. But, much like a 5 to 7 year old, it can handle simple tasks, but not the complex ones. If you trust your life to a 7 year old, your odds are not good. While lane keeping and TACC is great, NAV on AP and beyond, needs a lot of work. Thus, the $3,000 is worth it for AP. The extra $5,000 for FSD I don't think is based on where the system is at. As I noted, I can buy it now for $2,000, until they raise the price again, but just don't see where I'll get any use out of it. Primarily because I only keep cars for 2-3 years. 99.9% certain, FSD won't be fully functional before I sell the current car. If you keep your cars for 10 years +, then upgrading for $2,000 before Monday probably isn't a bad investment.

jjgunn | March 17, 2019

Submitted by TorstenTheTesla on March 15, 2019

M3 owner here in LA.

How useful do you guys find EAP (TACC and Autosteer) in LA
Extremely useful in heavy traffic. Really reduces stress.

I live in the Bay Area & know what it's like when you turn a blinker on 99% of people speed up to block you. I always wonder what they think when I back off & let them in?

When I'm on the freeway, I let EAP / NoAP assist me.

kevin_rf | March 17, 2019

After watching an old myth busters, I think I now know why Tesla is developing the semi. It's so the average driver can deal with LA traffic.