Tesla's retractable door handles have often been in the news for all the wrong reasons ever since the automaker decided to adopt this system on the original Model S in 2012.
While the company has solved many of the system's teething issues, the door handles still have sizeable dedicated threads on Tesla owners' forums. Common issues include frozen door handles in the winter that prevent them from popping out, internal wires breaking that cause the doors not to open, or simply door handles that refuse to extend from the body of the door because of gear/cog failures.
More recently, Tesla's pop-out door handles have been the focus of serious safety concerns after allegedly becoming unusable following several crashes. While Tesla equips its vehicles with mechanical release cables and manual levers for lowering the front windows, not all passengers know that.
Now, retractable door handles definitely need some time getting used to, but that can be an advantage in certain situations. Take this road rage incident, for example, captured by a Tesla's cameras.
Shared by Wham Baam Teslacam on Twitter, the short video shows a furious motorist approaching the vehicle and hitting the window with his fist. Luckily, the glass didn't shatter, but that prompted the aggressor to look for the handle and try to open the Tesla's door. Good luck with that!
We don't know what caused the man to act so recklessly, but the fact that he had no handle to grab and open the door must have been really frustrating. The video shows the man standing puzzled next to the vehicle for a few seconds before the Tesla starts to move, leaving him behind.
It turns out that having hidden door handles when a road rager approaches your vehicle with nasty intentions is a brilliant, if unintentional, self-defense feature. Of course, pretty much all vehicles have a door locking button inside and we assume the Tesla's doors were locked as well.
However, had the car had a conventional door handle, the aggressor might have tried to pull it hard and hang on to the car, whereas the Tesla's retracted handles left him baffled and probably helped diffuse the tension as well.