Driving “on the wrong side of the road and hit the GAS TANK of an oncoming dump truck.”

by Prince Of Petworth September 28, 2016 at 9:55 am 62 Comments

Sherman and Park Road, NW

Today in bad driving… and it’s a DC license plate for the record!

A reader reports earlier this morning:

“Is there a full moon? Some of the worst DC driving I’ve ever seen… Including this genius who drove up Sherman Ave on the wrong side of the road and hit the GAS TANK of an oncoming dump truck.”

  • Anonymous

    I’m going to guess an Uber or Lyft driver watching their phone rather than the road. WTF.

    • I saw an Uber driver just straight up stop his car in the middle of U street yesterday afternoon. I don’t know if he was looking up directions or what but it was ridiculous.

      • t-deaks

        Try riding a motorcycle near an uber or lyft. There have been about 5 times this summer when I was in the passing lane approaching what seems like a normal car only to have it swerve erratically from the right lane through the passing lane to complete a u-turn almost killing me. I cannot stand that uber drivers are unregulated drivers.

        Also, it is unnerving how they dart for the curb, pickup in terrible places such as street corners. Ok time to put me on blast for hindering progress of technology by encouraging better regulations and safety standards for the hundreds of non-descriptive cars serving and darting throughout the city.

        Oh and a side note: is it fair cabs had to pay for a two tone paint jobs a few years back so they matched the circulator color scheme yet uber lyft et al. can just use any car? Seems unfair to cabbies. (Maybe deregulation of cabs is the solution.)

        • OP Anon

          I drive a Vespa daily and have nearly been multiple times by erratic rideshare drivers. I was already in one accident in July and I’m currently negotiating the settlement with Uber’s insurer. This insanity needs to end.

          • flieswithhoney

            Now imagine that you’re a cyclist and both Uber drivers and motorcyclists are drifting in or cutting through the bike lane and you have my daily commute. I’ve found that Uber/Lyft drivers are also more likely to drive half in and half out of the bike lane while looking at their phones.

          • ***

            +a million. I used to enjoy biking to/from work. Now, it’s a daily ride of terror.

        • nctowashington

          I feel like the pickup in terrible places is sometimes because of where people’s “pin” is dropped on Uber and Lyft requests, and the driver stopping directly at the dropped pin with no awareness of the traffic they’re causing on small or busy streets. Probably idealistic, but it would be nice if Uber/Lyft and other car services implemented rules about where drivers can stop and pick-up and drop off passengers.

    • CHGal

      I was trying to catch a cab this morning on 14th, and almost every driver that went by was looking at their phone rather than the road. It’s not just ubers/lifts. Get off your phone, people!

    • palisades

      Cabbies are just as bad, but at least you can spot a cabbie and know they’re going to do something stupid so you can prepare for it. Uber drivers look just like everyone else. Hate that this is what it’s come to.

    • wdc

      Our uber driver ran two stop signs and then took his foot off the brake while the kids were getting out, letting the car roll forward WHILE THE KIDS WERE GETTING OUT.

      • TSL

        I hope you reported that to Uber.

  • Ashy Oldlady

    Does anyone else think that drivers are getting worse in the region? Lately I’ve witnessed an astounding number of bad drivers in DC. I attribute some of it to the proliferation of Uber and Lyft. Many of those drivers seem to be very inexperienced at navigating our roadways undistracted. And I know it’s not the case everywhere, because I don’t see anything like this out on the highways and in other cities.

    • I think cell phones have a lot to do with it. I see far too many drivers on cell phones during the morning commute.

      • ah

        MADD needs to reorient towards limits on cell phone use in cars.

        And it’s not going to get better with “connected cars” – people will be looking at the built in Nav screens instead (or in addition).

        • Hill Denizen

          I think all of the in-car connectivity is ridiculous and a threat to public safety. We really should n’t be encouraging people to listen to their text messages while they should be focusing on the road.

        • anon

          There is a newer organization that focuses on this, the somewhat unfortunately named DORC[.org]=Distracted Operators Risk Casualties, however they don’t seem to be effective, like most other countermeasures for distracted driving.

      • TSL

        A related, frustrating article by Matt Richtel regarding the responsibilities of phone companies: http://wap.business-standard.com/article/international/phone-makers-could-cut-off-drivers-so-why-don-t-they-116092500802_1.html

        • ah

          Self driving cars are likely to get here before this tecnhology is activated. then people can do whatever they want with their phones.

    • nctowashington

      I attribute the one of the most annoying aspects of DC traffic to Uber/Lyft drivers who do not know the city’s streets well, and who stop in the middle of the street to let people out, causing traffic behind them and around them. They do U-turns in the middle of the streets and break so many traffic laws, mainly at the advice of someone in the backseat probably telling them “just stop here (in the middle of the street and disrupt the flow of traffic) and I’ll jump out” or “just turn around we need to go the other way.” It’s extremely annoying to have to navigate around cars illegally “stopped” to let people “hop out really quickly” in the middle of streets.

      • NH Ave Hiker

        The worst is the corner of 9th and U – I hate how the right lane of 9th has become a parking zone for ubers on weekends. Drives me crazy.

      • anon

        I thought U turns were legal unless posted otherwise

        • NH Ave Hiker

          Yea, but not literally in front of traffic so you cut people off.

          • ***

            Or stopping in the left lane waiting for oncoming traffic to clear. Especially during rush hour when you are going to be sitting there for 15 minutes waiting for that to happen. Go to the next light. It’s not that hard to double back.

        • Anon Spock

          Maybe so, but you still need to do them safely.

        • nctowashington

          I mean it more in a sense of reckless driving; I’m actually not sure if they’re illegal or not. I’m thinking of when you have drivers pulling U-Turns along U street, 14th street and 18th street (and others) at 10 PM on a busy night, and cars in both directions have to stop and wait, causing even more traffic, and endangering the car pulling the U-Turn.

        • JoDa

          There was a Popville discussion of this! https://www.popville.com/2012/02/dear-popville-regulations-for-u-turns-in-dc/
          2204.5 When authorized markers, buttons, or other indications are placed within or between intersections indicating the course to be traveled by vehicles, no driver of a vehicle shall disobey the directions of the indications.
          2204.6 Whenever authorized signs are erected indicating that “NO RIGHT TURN” or “NO LEFT TURN” or “NO U-TURN” is permitted, no driver of a vehicle shall disobey the directions of any such sign.
          2204.7 No vehicle shall make a U-turn so as to proceed in the opposite direction at any intersection controlled by traffic lights or police officer, or on a crosswalk adjacent to such an intersection.
          My interpretation of that is that U-turns are illegal in most places. Can’t do it where there are markers indicating where traffic is supposed to go (like the double yellow in the middle of the street), where there are signs telling you not to, or at intersections controlled by lights. Basically, only legal on roads without lane markers dividing the road or at intersections without lights (no control or stop signs seem to be okay). That’s my reading of those rules, at least.
          I think they updated that since then to say that it is also illegal 100% of the time to make a U-turn across bike lanes, like PA Ave.

    • wdc

      Yep, cell phones. Pretty much ALL of my near-misses involve the other driver looking at their phone.

  • ***

    I am 100% not surprised. The level of driving incompetence I have witnessed in this city is unparalleled and has not been helped with all the various infrastructural improvement projects (Metro, Beach Drive, etc) that have only lead to an increase in inexperienced and impatient drivers. The relative lack of any traffic enforcement has only helped to embolden drivers in this city to do pretty much whatever they want; Their only real punishment is situations like this.

    • ah

      Yeah – lack of enforcement is a huge problem. A lot of drivers have become utterly lawless – driving on wrong side, turning left from right lane/right from left lane, running reds, etc. Apparently it’s no longer socially unacceptable to drive in utterly illegal ways.

  • Lincoln Memorial Nights

    Cant believe people on here don’t see this is obviously a drunken driver

    • CHGal

      I wouldn’t be so sure. 10 years ago, of course. But with people driving distracted these days, you can’t be sure.

    • AnonPetworth

      I rode by this scene shortly after it happened (pre-cops) and the person who I’m fairly certain was the driver of the car did not appear to be drunk. Well dressed, shirt tucked in, neatly combed hair, talking calmly on his cell in the median. Unless he’s a high-functioning alcoholic that goes to his office job drunk at 9 AM, my money is on texting while driving.

      • AnonV2

        Yeah, he was just an asshole who didn’t want to wait in traffic. Probably saw his chance to zip up the wrong way and merge back in at the median break.

        For the next 8 months of the Beach Dr shut down DC should station a uniformed traffic cop (not the traffic control teams there, a badged cop) at the intersection of Calvert and Conn Ave where traffic is trying to cross west after the bridge to get to the RCP ramp. Have him or her issue tickets for drivers trying to cut the line by going straight from the right hand only turn lane or merging at the last second and blocking the bike lane, right turn lane or both. They could pay for a full 3 officer enforcement team (one to flag down and pull over, two to write tickets) in the first hour of operation every weekday morning. It’s full on f**&%ing Thunderdome there right now.

        • ah

          Nothing angers me more than these types of line cutters. Happens all over the city.

          All they really need is a cop there to make all such people turn right onto Conn Ave. and do a loop instead.

          • NH Ave Hiker

            The line cutters on getting off RCP onto Beach Drive before it was closed – those people are literally the worst. They cause all the traffic by cutting in front of everyone – do they not realize that? Some of DC drivers are so self-entitled it drives me insane (no pun intended)

          • anonymous

            Actually, the lane cutters speed up traffic by making sure lanes are used for their full length. Traffic would move fastest if half the drivers got in the left lane and everyone zippered in where it narrows down to one lane. Instead we have 80% of drivers using only one lane so it takes everyone longer.

    • I took the photo

      It was at 9 AM

  • Wkt1969

    Although this is a DC plate I think there has been an increase in Uber and Lyft drivers with MD plates and that is certainly making things worse. Oh and yes there is a full moon on Friday, in fact it’s a Black Moon. (2 New Moons in one month)

  • Badbadnotgood
  • jaddams

    While this sounds scary, the truck’s gas tank was most likely diesel and would not explode or catch fire due to this.

    • Ben

      But then you still might have a fuel spill, requiring a hazmat response. Speacially with the upcoming rain and DC’s water system that dumps untreated sewage into the potomic when its overwhelmed…

  • Jamin Jimmy

    Took the South Dakota exit off NY Ave to go to Costco and a car came wizzing by the wrong way on the ramp. There was a minor fender bender that he didn’t want to wait for so he decided to drive the other way on the ramp back to NY ave. Md plates.

    • Anonymous

      Yesterday during rush hour I watched a car at the intersection at 14th and K back up into the car behind it. The driver was blocking the crosswalk and didn’t even turn around to see if there was a car behind, and totally ignored the car behind blaring its horn. It was actually pretty amazing to see because the accident required the driver to have a mindbogglingly low level of situational awareness.

    • Hill Denizen

      The impatience of drivers in this city is ridiculous. Like, “you’re in your comfy air conditioned car at 2pm on a Saturday, waiting for me, the sweat-soaked pedestrian, to cross the street, isn’t that difficult.” I don’t get it. If you’re driving through neighborhood streets, you shouldn’t expect to go 45 mph.

  • TJ

    The ability to snap a photo of something bad on a smartphone and post it on the internet where many people can see it quickly doesn’t mean the world is getting worse. From 1995 to 2007, DC had on average 50-60 traffic fatalities annually. Since 2007, that figure has dropped to the 20s, where it has remained since 2012. Judging from the rate of traffic fatalities alone, one might reach the conclusion driving in the city isn’t as deadly as it once was, regardless of any one single incident posted on social media.

    • wdc

      That’s because cars themselves have gotten safer, and medical technology has improved so fewer people are dying of their injuries.
      I guess it’s possible that there are fewer serious accidents, but that’s not what the total fatalities tells you.

    • ***

      I would also chalk up fewer fatal accidents to an increase in traffic, therefore the accidents are happening at the same rate, but at a slower speed.

      • Anonymous

        When DC was largely abandoned by the white middle and upper classes (1970s through the early 00s), you could fly through the city. Abundant parking, low levels of traffic outside of rush hours, and relatively little traffic enforcement. Today? The abundance of traffic at all hours of the day in core DC has resulted in much slower speeds. Also, I’m guessing those 50-60 traffic fatalities were primarily pedestrians hit by fast speeding cars….and I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them were jaywalking and inebriated/high. The type of folks who recklessly interact with traffic in that manner have either died off or been driven out of the city by high costs.

        • So 15 years later and people still haven’t learned that double parking ruins all the traffic around them.

          • ah

            But good parking space!

            (People know this – they just don’t give a damn because me me me.)

  • Anonymous

    The city lacks the resources to bust drivers for making u-turns in the middle of the street, blocking the box, etc. They also lack the resources to review CCTV feeds proactively. What they do have readily available, however, are thousands of people walking around the city with cell phones. It would take a big shift in DC’s laws to allow people to submit photos and videos of drivers doing illegal things, and reporting others does have an Eastern Bloc feel to it, but it seems worth exploring. Perhaps the city could allow people to send in pictures of illegally parked cars, since that’s pretty straightforward and not very invasive.

    • stacksp

      Anonymous, I hope these submissions are anonymous because I can see a big issue with random citizens policing one another.

      • Cleveland Park runner

        I see an even bigger issue with the Due Process Clause and the Confrontation Clause.
        The police cannot and should not be able to enforce against someone unless they see the offending behavior themselves. More cops on streets if they think traffic safety ought to be a priority.

        • AnonJohn

          How is it different from the speed cameras?

          But if there’s legal concerns, there’s an easy workaround: DC can collect and aggregate reports, making them available to interested insurance companies.

          • Anon Spock

            Cameras and their setups can prove speed, and you have proof the car was there. Now someone could claim they weren’t driving, but the ticket is on the car not the driver.
            How would jo blow bystander prove speed? Are people getting cameras out fast enough to shoot a video? Doubtful.
            Parked cars pose the same issue: Maybe they’re unloading a handicap person and their designated spot was occupied, maybe they were parked for a minute then left, maybe a lot of things that a simple photo wouldn’t show you?

    • Anonymous

      The DC311 app already allows you to report illegally parked cars for enforcement. I live in the busy part of Adams Morgan and I do know that Parking Enforcement will come out and issue tickets based on the app reporting. I’ve seen them do it to cars I’ve reported.
      With the proliferation of helmet, dashboard, and phone cameras, I think it would be terrific for the city to accept and review the footage for issuing fines to reckless drivers. It may actually be the only thing that induces better behavior.

    • I took the photo

      I agree 100%. How about we incentivize/subsidize dashboard cameras, and agree to submit footage to police based on that incentive. It shouldnt have to be for just a hit and run, it should be for any traffic violation.

      • Colhi

        We can call it the Traffic Stasi!

        • OP Anon

          Better than my death or dismemberment. These drivers suck.

    • DC Denizen

      + 1000
      Someone could be driving absolutely recklessly and almost hit one or more people yet the police can do nothing because they didn’t see it??? That’s a load of crap. Somehow we have to be able to take dangerous drivers off the road. I would definitely go for a reporting system on cars. After all if someone were acting dangerous to others in any other scenario we’d be able to report it to the police. Imagine if one driver/car was reported over and over again for doing dangerous driving and then finally a collision happened that resulted in a death. The reporting system could show that this wasn’t an aberration but a pattern of recklessness. The road is a public place after all; you can’t hide behind a windshield and pretend the law doesn’t extend to you.
      At the very least allow us to report on reckless driving by Uber or Lyft drivers. After all, the driver rates the customer and the customer rates the drivers, why shouldn’t we be able to rate their driving?

      • AMDCer

        If the Uber/Lyft driver is driving recklessly I would hope that the passenger would give them a bad review/report them to the company.

        • DC Denizen

          What if the passenger doesn’t care? After all, they are in the car not in the crosswalk or bike lane. Or the passenger is the one egging on the recklessness? Like asking for the U turn or mid-block stop. Or what if there is no passenger in the car at the time? A lot of times they are swerve when on their phones or looking for someone.


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