Car Flips on Side Near W-L High School

by ARLnow.com September 29, 2011 at 11:57 am 7,970 52 Comments

A car flipped on its side on a residential street near Washington-Lee High School this morning.

A Honda sedan was traveling eastbound on 15th Street N., near N. Vermont Street, when the driver hit the curb and part of a tree, causing the car to flip on its side. Airbags were deployed. The driver made it out of the car safely and was not reported to be injured.

The accident drew a small crowd of neighbors. As they looked on, a tow truck managed to use its wheel lift to push the Honda and flip it back on its wheels.

More photos, after the jump.

Photo (bottom, left) courtesy Rosemarie Dobson. Red circle added to show point of impact on tree.

  • LP

    Looks like even the firefighter in the photos is scratching his head and thinking “How’d this one happen?”.

    • charlie

      and in picture 2 the cop and the fireman seem to be laughing about the whole thing.
      but seriously, the physics don’t make sense to me. that is a small slow street if i recall correctly.

      • Professor Science

        He had to hit the tree just right to cause a reaction where most of his forward momentum got translated to a sideways force. With the wheels being on the curb, the sideways force vector is up higher and close to the height of the center of gravity of the car. So it becomes a moment force acting around the C.O.G. and causes the car to rotate over.

        • Capt. Dunn

          What’s your vector, Victor?

          • Kareem

            What’s your ground clearance Clarence?

  • KARLington

    Mind – boggled. Even with the “ramp” of the curb/tree, not sure how you accomplish this without excessive speed being involved.

    • Cynical

      Or a blackberry/smartphone…

      • Arlingtoon

        Bet you’re right. Busily “friending” somebody.

        • KARLington

          ah – of course. I suppose I’m so old-fashioned I think people are still driving while they drive.

  • Ding ding

    This text is funny……whoa!

  • Tre

    Clearly the rash of flips in Arlington is due to the 2-wheel driving fad. Reminds me of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvBDeaUMddI

    • charlie

      i want that 3:48 of my life back.

      • Bucky

        You could have stopped much sooner than 3:48.

  • JimPB

    Is it:
    Arlington, VA — capital of day-time individual vehicle accidents
    ARLNow.Com — generator of a individual vehicle accident accident media epidemic (the accidents have been ongoing, and are only now getting media attention).
    IT hackers retarget the human brain with IT generated brain waves that effect mind-body cooperation among susceptible drivers (engaged with cell phones, have media system turned up so music volume vibrates windows and their brains).

  • Chris

    I liked planking better when it was people not cars.

  • Don Ager

    Curious, why do you blur license plates and faces?
    I believe since both are in the public’s view you legally don’t need to blur or have consent. Or am I wrong?

    • LP

      I’ll let ARLNow provide an answer, but as to the license plates you can find the name, address, etc. of the owner of the car by looking up the license plate.

      • Ted Williams

        And just how do you look up a driver’s info from his license plate number?

        • porkchop_milkshake

          Can’t we just leave that as an exercise for any reader with $30 and an internet connection? It’s neither hard nor expensive, but the sites that offer that service are pretty scummy and there’s no need to offer them a referral.

    • Mr. Mister

      You are not wrong. There is no expectation of privacy in a public space. Newspapers and TV news shows don’t blur photos. Assume it’s an ovreabundance of caution on ArlNow’s part.

      • Maria

        It’s also polite.

  • NrNy2ArlVa

    Truth is they were on there way the multiple 7-11’s on Washington Blvd to get a free cup of coffee from each.

    • LP


      • NrNy2ArlVa

        oops, I guess I had too many cups myself

        • LP

          Or not enough – could go either way 🙂

  • John Fontain

    This texting while driving thing is getting out of hand. While it’s easy to get a chuckle out of this incident, one of these days there is going to be an pedestrian fatality involved.

    Insurance companies should make it a policy that if the insured causes an accident due to inattentive driving while texting that the driver’s vehicle damage losses are the responsibility of the driver. If these text-and-drivers knew this, they might – MIGHT – stop doing this.

    • JimPB

      JF — Good idea.

  • YoBimbo

    I live a block off 15th Street, and it is no longer a slow street. People use it as a cut-through between Quincy and Glebe. They also seem to think the stop signs are just suggestions. ::waving my cane::

    • JimPB

      Bring out the traffic violation cameras.

    • Veeta


  • roquer

    Bet its that texting stuff again. Some can’t walk and chew gum no matter what the activities are!

  • steve

    $200 says the car had an automatic transmission. Those enable the most incompetent people to drive.

    • JimPB

      Automatic transmissions (AT) are now the standard transmission for cars in America. Last figure I saw: 96% of cars had ATs. Not so in Europe. Of course, gas is vastly more expensive there, so vehicle owners want the additional fuel economy that manual transmissions enable.

      • LP

        While I agree with your statement that the majority of cars in America have AT’s, I would have to disagree with your statement that manual transmissions enable better fuel economy.

        While this USE to be the case, modern day automatics, dual clutch and CVT transmissions are vastly more efficient than manual transmissions.

        • charlie

          it is virtually impossible to get a nice car with manual tranny in US.
          and it is all about CAFE.
          CVT is the future in America as long as CAFE keeps getting tighter.

          • LP


            Pretty much any BMW and Porsche you can get a manual with.

            Audi, Infiniti and many other premium brands offer cars with manual transmissions.

          • charlie

            yes. bmw & porsche do.
            bmw only in some the 300’s whcih aren’t that great and not the 500’s
            prosche, well, they are a bit expensive for me.
            audi: not in sedans and only in a few select models.
            volvo: none.

          • LP

            BMW – 1, 3, 4 (z4), 5 and 6 series models and then also include M versions.
            Audi – S4 (sedan)

            Plenty of options out there, this is just off the top of my head.

          • Tim

            Also VWs

          • NorthArlingTim

            Subaru Impreza Outback Sport – AWD, of course – I’m on my second one, both manual transmissions. I hate driving automatics – I don’t feel like I have any control over an automatic vehicle at all. My first Subaru actually did save my life, my current one is about 10 years old. During the last snowstorm while everyone was spinning around and crashing, my little manual Subaru steadily crawled over just about anything – I was getting out of my car to help push others out of my way. I dread the thought of ever having to shop for a new car – there’s just too much automatic and electronic junk distractions in them. Driving a manual keeps you awake and very much in tune with your vehicle and the physics involved.
            One really cool thing about manuals – most people can’t drive them.

          • porkchop_milkshake

            You can get them, but they’re not as common as you’d expect. When I was shopping for a 3 year-old used one last fall, it took me a while to find a good one with a manual for sale.

          • billj

            Acura TSX, Acura TL and various BMW’s (335i, M3, etc)… Although all nice cars, the ratio of manuals to automatics is sad.

          • CW

            Yeah. I’m part of the offending party. I’d driven manual my whole life but went for a manumatic of one of your aforementioned models because i wasn’t sure how much I wanted to crawl through D.C. area traffic with a stick. When I get out in the country I miss it, but the paddles are enough to have some fun.

          • Maria

            Exactly my problem with it. Oh well.

        • JimPB

          Data from car mpg testing?

    • John Fontain

      Advocating for manual transmissions is like advocating for manual cranks to start car engines.

  • JMB

    Only thing needed to make this perfect is if the driver turned out to be the BB&T robber, making a getaway from exposing himself on the W-L track.

  • Red

    Actually for all of you “texters” that don’t even know what you are talking about, he wasn’t texting at all. The doesn’t even have a phone to easily text on….from what I saw, he still has a flip phone. I agree with him in the thought that if you can’t pick up the phone and talk to me that don’t contact me. He was driving and was distracted when the right side of his car went up the tree leaving it on it’s side. His speed????? 10-15MPH. So for all of you that jump to conclusions and believe everything that the media tells you….well then I really do feel sorry for you.

  • Joe Thomas

    I have just visited the site of this flipping incident. There is still plenty of broken glass and plastic shards along the curb where bicyclists can run over them. I picked up what looked like greasy wheel bearings. Isn’t someone at these incidents responsible for clean-up?


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