Observations about my first fun road trip

Observations about my first fun road trip

I did an interesting road trip yesterday with my new Tesla Model 3.

From Woodbury, MN with a stop to supercharge at Rochester, MN and then south into the Amish country of SE Minnesota and also the home of lots of winding hilly scenic roads. I drove from Harmony to Lanesboro through Whalan, Peterson, Rushford, before cutting north on county roads to Winona and then back home up highway 61. About a 300 mile jaunt in all.

I have the now standard TACC and Auto Steer functions my my mid-June production car, but not full self drive. I used these functions as much as possible during this 300 mile Sunday outing.

A lot of the route followed the Root River and wound around miles of curves to stay close to the river through this 100 mile long lovely wooded river valley. A beautiful drive. The river was running full due to the rains the day before and some secondary roads along the route were closed due to flooding,

Anyway, about the Tesla and my experiences with it. I have owned it for only about a month now and this was my first experience on anything except main roads.

First of all i love my Bluebot, my metallic blue long range RWD model. However it does have some driving characteristics worth mentioning,

Although it almost always follows the winding roads just fine, the auto steer does tend to behave like a beginning driver fresh out of drivers training,

Entering curves, it tends to turn in later than I would, and then kind of saws its way around them making several corrections along the way. Not the smooth radius I would attempt to do myself. Not unsafe, and it always stays in its lane, but still it is a beginner at driving on really winding roads. It also gave up with really sharp 20 MPH posted curves saying Help, you do it! I also noticed that with Auto Steer turned off, it would slow a lot approaching some curves, but not all of them, kind of random hiccups. It tends to be late in slowing down for reduced speeds approaching small villages too.

Sometimes it behaves like it was my Granny sitting beside me backseat driving. Even with both TACC and Auto Steer turned off, it sometimes nagged me about approaching the limits of my lane and tried to make steering corrections. Not always, and kind of randomly. Again, never unsafe, just a bit annoying. It really needs to do a bit more learning.

One thing I would wish, and that is if the driver could tell the Tesla to move a bit more to the right in lane following. I always drive to the right side of the traffic lane to leave as much space as possible for oncoming traffic on two way roads. The Tesla just tracks in the center of the lane leaving less “whoops” space than I am really comfortable with. Center of the lane fine for multilane city freeways, not so fine on rural two lane roads.

I don’t think full self driving is ready for prime time yet.

TACC came in handy on the way home as north of Red Wing our half of the four lane freeway was completely blocked by a bad traffic accident. I ended up stopped in bumper to bumper traffic about a mile before the problem. This was a great place to let TACC just creep along by itself until we were routed around the scene on the right shoulder.

Overall a fun trip, no significant issues, and overall Bluebot impressed and made the experience safe and trouble free. Makes me happier than ever for my leap into the future with Tesla.


Magic 8 Ball | July 22, 2019

@Frank FSD is not a functional feature yet so you are correct it is not ready. What your car is currently equipped with are driver assist features. The future is nigh.

Kary993 | July 22, 2019

op I think you might have some slightly better results with NoA and some slightly worse experiences at the same time....certainly a work in progress but either way it alleviates the strain of doing all the driving yourself on long trips. you will get more accustom to what this car does with more time under your belt.

jerrykham | July 22, 2019

I also see how it slows down for some curves and not for others. I think it is just how it "sees" (interprets) the curve of the lane markings honestly. You'll get used to longer and longer trips. Since you just got the car, this is natural. When I clicked on this post, for "road trip" I didn't expect to find only a 300 mile day trip. But again, you just got it. We just came back from a fun road trip from the SF Bay area in CA to Seattle WA. That (with all the side jaunts to go hiking and all) was just over 2,000 miles. And that is short compared to some of the trips forum members here take! Good luck with the car and enjoy longer and longer trips in it.