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Question about standard autopilot

Quick question. I have been confused for a while about when I can use autopilot. Is this an interstate only or highway only thing? I live out in the country and a lot of driving I do is on “highways”, (highway 41A to be exact). Speed limits range from 55 in fast parts to 30 in slow areas. Also it’s not a divided highway. Will I be able to use it here or do I need to be on an interstate with a median and on and off ramps? Thanks!
 
Good question that confuses many new owners. Answers are all over the map depending on experience and their level of acceptance. In theory you can use in on that type of road (41A). Personally, I don't like using it on undivided roads and I use it on the interstate. However, I hear people using it anywhere they can. The manual gives reasonable guidance on when not to use it if you have the time to go through that thick bible of information.
 

DanDi58

Active Member
Jun 22, 2020
1,985
1,583
Dayton NJ
Quick question. I have been confused for a while about when I can use autopilot. Is this an interstate only or highway only thing? I live out in the country and a lot of driving I do is on “highways”, (highway 41A to be exact). Speed limits range from 55 in fast parts to 30 in slow areas. Also it’s not a divided highway. Will I be able to use it here or do I need to be on an interstate with a median and on and off ramps? Thanks!
You can use it anywhere the grey steering wheel icon is present. That means it’s able to function.
 
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Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
10,711
9,764
Visalia, CA
Quick question. I have been confused for a while about when I can use autopilot. Is this an interstate only or highway only thing? I live out in the country and a lot of driving I do is on “highways”, (highway 41A to be exact). Speed limits range from 55 in fast parts to 30 in slow areas. Also it’s not a divided highway. Will I be able to use it here or do I need to be on an interstate with a median and on and off ramps? Thanks!

According to your Driver's Owner Manual, Autopilot is designed for controlled access road (such as a highway or freeway) with merging entry ramps and exiting ramps only.

However, in practice, it works almost everywhere even in a parking lot for the TACC function (smart cruise).

NTSB wants Tesla to disable Autopilot when conditions don't meet the design such as a highway with a left-hand turn median which contributed to the 2016 Autopilot crash in Florida. If Tesla listens to NTSB and its own Driver's Owner Manual, Autopilot will not work almost everywhere.
 
After all the good information, let me try to give a direct recommendation.

Use the autopilot on divided, limited-access highways/freeways.

Use the autopilot on wide, undivided highways, marked with a center dividing line. Disable it when you see anything that could pose a risk, like tight curves, oncoming trucks or other cars that straddle the center line, potholes, unclear road edges, etc.

Do not use the autopilot in streets without lane markings.

Do not use the autopilot in streets where cars are parked partly or wholly in your lane, i.e. where there is no dividing line between you and parked cars.

Whenever you perceive even a slight potential risk while using the autopilot, grab the steering wheel firmly with both hands and be ready to overrule the autopilot either with the steering wheel or with the brake pedal.

If you spot a problematic situation ahead, disable the autopilot by pushing the gear lever up.

Note that the brake pedal disables the autopilot instantly and completely, while the steering wheel leaves TACC (Traffic-Aware Cruise Control) active. Note also that in a curve disabling the autopilot means that the force required to stay in the curve is switched off with the autopilot and has to be provided by your hands instantly. In other words, if you switch off the autopilot in a curve, the car will instantly tend to go straight, rather than follow the curve, and you will have to counteract that.
 
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