Major Backups on Westbound I-66

by ARLnow.com September 8, 2011 at 10:18 am 2,082 18 Comments

Update at 10:30 a.m. — The heavy traffic is starting to clear out, with delays now starting somewhere between Spout Run and Ballston.

It’s very slow-going on I-66 this morning. The westbound lanes are currently backed up from Rosslyn to Great Falls Street due to an accident.

The accident was earlier reported to be blocking two lanes just before the Dulles Toll Road. Significant delays remain.

The backups have spilled onto local streets, as well. Arlington police have reported a long line of cars on Fairfax Drive at the I-66 on-ramp.

  • Steve

    Seriously, why are drivers so stupid in this area?

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Probably for any or all of the following reasons/causes:

      1) Looney Cab drivers (especially DC cabs)

      2) Drivers with the cell phone glued to their ears while driving

      3) Drivers monkeying around with their blackberries/i-pods, etc., etc. while driving

      4) Richard Petty wannabes coming up behind another car like a bat out of hell and passing like an F-18 being catapulting off a carrier (just trying to get in touch with their inner ridge runner)

      5) Drivers tailgating, especially in rain, snow, ice

      6) Drivers not using their turn signals

      7) Drivers that wait until the absolute last minute to merge when the merge lane runs out – and there is hardly any traffic blocking them

      8) “Speed Limit enforcers” driving at or under the speed limit in the far left lane, esp. 395, 496, 66, and 267

      9) Drivers that do not watch out for cyclists and pedestrians

      10) Drivers driving with headphones/earbuds

      11) Drivers that do not watch out for cyclists or pedestrians and hit them

      11) Drivers that do not pay attention to, or obey red lights and stop signs

      12) Drivers that will not ever, ever let anyone in ahead of them (the how DARE anyone try to get in front of me, I am IMPORTANT syndrome)

      13) Drivers that drive too fast period and do so when the roads are slick from rain, snow, ice (especially the characters that have 4-wheel drive SUVs and think their tanks won’t skid on slick roads (hey Beaufort, these here SUVs can go anywhere on anything, a little rain or snow ain’t gonna bother us any)

      • ClizzleDizzle

        So Bluemont, as resident traffic expert, how should we deal with this situation.

        In our area we have a surprising of major roads with exits on the left. I usually get in the left lane a mile or two before these exits and usually drive 10 over the speed limit (65 in the 55 zone). Now it happens quite a lot that I get cars riding my tail and partly I understand because I am in the left lane, but going back to the right lane forces me to have to merge back left quite aggressively later, especially when there is a lot of traffic. How should I proceed?

        • Bluemontsince1961

          My list are observations I’ve seen over the years. I’ve experienced what you mention, having to be in the left lane for a left exit driving 65 in a 55 zone just to barely keep up and you’re being tailgated by a Richard Petty wannabe that wants to go 75. I speed up a little (say to 70) and let the oaf pass me on the right. You’re not doing the “speed limit enforcing” thing (driving 55 or under 55 in the left lane on the beltway, 395, 66. Unfortunately, in this area, there are not many good choices between driving safely and keeping up with the flow of traffic. Stay in the left lane, up your speed just a little if you need to (you’re already at 65), let the tailgater pass you if they can’t hold their water.

    • Ricardo

      A “good driver” is one who does what other drivers are expecting him/her to do.

      This implies cultural norms.

      The DC area draws people from so many other parts of the U.S. that it is impossible to establish a single cultural norm for traffic. Hence, fewer “good drivers.”

      New York, by contrast, has a well-established cultural norm for traffic. If you move to NY, you expect to learn to drive like a New Yorker. If you move to DC, you don’t change your driving habits.

      (Just a theory.)

      • Lee-n-Glebe

        Never more apparent than in snowy weather. Just watch the cabbies, many of whom are from parts of the world where snow is not the norm. Half an inch and 66 becomes a demolition derby – you see another cab spun out in the median every few hundred yards.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          Yep, I see the same thing every time it snows. That or an SUV or BMW/Mercedes/Lexus rear wheel drive luxury car that was going too fast.

  • ClizzleDizzle

    Left ClizzleDizzle before 8, got in at Reston after ten. Madness! Also, be very careful on the I-66/Toll road connector, the left lane under the overpass just before the toll road merge is partially flooded and you can’t see it until you are in it. If just one person freaks out and makes a sudden lane change or hits their brakes you have a major accident. I was able to let my car roll through it but that was pretty scary.

  • Steve

    I really think we need the death penalty for rubberneckers. That needs to be seriously dealt with.

    • MC 703

      At 8:40 the problem wasn’t rubberneckers as much as the douchebag being stuck across 2/3 lanes.

      I do not hesitate to lay on the horn when I see the guy in front of me brake and turn his head just to look.

  • MC 703

    Little late here. Somehow this traffic note was bungled on WTOP and the tweetosphere as well. The accident occurred before 7:45AM. Didn’t show up on WTOP or twitter until after I made it past the accident at 8:30.

    Took 1 hour and 30 minutes to drive from Shirlington to Ashburn.

    • SaveDaveMcKenna

      Must’ve been after 7:30 because I didn’t see anything coming through there.

  • Richard Cranium

    In other news, the severe drought in Donaldson Run continues unabated.

  • GreaterClarendon

    My normal 30 minute drive to Fairfax took one hour and 45 minutes. Looked like a wreck, I saw what I think was a pretty torn up black porsche boxster on the side of the road on the bed of a tow truck. Those F*&%#[email protected] rubberneckers! Completely clear afterwards.

    • MC 703

      In this case it wasn’t the rubberneckers – at least when I drove by at 8:40. The Porsche was still perpendicular across the two right lanes. 90 minutes to go 25 miles from Shirl to Ashburn.

    • MC 703

      Looked like a 911. Front and rear smashed up.

      • SaveDaveMcKenna

        Ack! I’m seeing double.

      • metro

        Not that it really matters to the discussion, but that’s a Porsche Cayman. It must take special talent to spin a car with perfect 50/50 weight balance.


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