I Can’t Stop Watching Awful Drivers Overcook This Weird Exit Ramp

Exit Ramp Wasted

After spending a preposterous amount of time rebooting my laptop and a less preposterous amount of time obsessing over the minutiae of weird Canadian-market E46 BMW 320is and E90 BMW 323is, the gods of the Interballs gave me a gold mine of content in the form of a quick video where heaps of poor drivers experience understeer in a rather pricey manner. How so? By overcooking an exit ramp harder than Clark Griswold’s Christmas turkey and sending it straight into the barrier. Here, have a look.

Bam! Right off the road, leaving a trail of debris and sometimes sparks in their wake. It’s not just the poor judgment in this video that gets me, it’s the awful car control that follows. Check out the white 3-Series at the 15 second mark. Not only does the driver trim every single plant by the roadside, they don’t even stop until they smack into the left quarter panel of some poor sod’s Ram. It’s a similar deal with the red Mazda CX-5 at the 52 second mark which just keeps on going, brake lamps unlit, until it’s almost cleared the intersection. You know that pedal to the left of the throttle? If you’re having an off, stamp on the damn thing like you’re trying to fend off a rabid weasel.

If one idiot has a crash, it’s exclusively poor driving. If two idiots have near-identical crashes, it’s a fluke. If three or more idiots have near-identical crashes, it’s time to evaluate the infrastructure. Let’s pull up the crash scene on Google Maps so we can get a better picture of what’s going on.

Exit Ramp 1
Screenshot: Google Streetview

Welcome to the scene of the crashes, the southbound I-5 Union Street exit ramp in Seattle. I’ll admit, I’ve seen my fair share of weird highway exits, but this one’s particularly crappy. The exit starts in an underpass, then kinks left before a very sharp blind right with an intersection basically right at the end of the tunnel. As far as sightlines go here, they’re pretty awful. While there are signs warning of an upcoming traffic light and recommending a 20 mph (30 km/h) exit ramp speed, the speed warning signs are placed fairly deep in the corner and aren’t the easiest things to read. Regardless, combining the speed-numbing visuals of an underpass with the terrible sightlines of a blind corner is a bad idea, and that’s before we even get to weather.

off Ramp 2
Screenshot: Google Streetview

Aside from Frasier, grunge music and depression, what is Seattle is famous for? Rain. You know where it doesn’t rain? In tunnels. While most of the drivers in this video wipe out in fairly dry conditions, let’s turn our attention to the crash at the 1:26 mark, where the streets are slick with freshly-fallen moisture. Not only does this Tesla-driving jabroni overcook the turn and hit the wall, once their Silicon Valley shitbox rebounds off of the wall, it continues sliding and rotating for quite a while, completing a full 180-degree rotation and a rare double curb-tap. Bravo moron, not even your stability control could keep you pointed straight.

Exit Ramp Tesla

In the end, all of these crashes could have been prevented by following one simple mantra – drive in an appropriate manner. If you’re familiar enough with your car and an exit ramp, feel free to trail-brake it in and enjoy some Gs at appropriate speeds if no other traffic is around. Otherwise, caution is a good thing to exercise. But hey, I’m not your father. Take off-ramps however you want, just remember that you might suffer some consequences if you get too cocky. In the immortal words of Red Forman, “The reason that bad things happen to you is because you’re a dumbass.”

Video credit: Michael B

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50 Responses

  1. It used to be whenever I headed downtown for a concert I’d take that exit, but one too many times of having someone come in too hot behind me has me taking the Denny exit instead. Not surprised there is a fail compilation of this particular exit, especially with the quality (or lack thereof) of the average Seattle driver.

  2. I work in Seattle, and have been through that off-ramp. Poor design combined with widespread ineptitude when it comes to driving makes navigating the city a nightmare. I lived in SoCal for four years in the Marine Corps and you’d see a lot of stupidity driving around, but it was aggressive and on purpose. People in Western Washington just seem to be generally ignorant on how to drive wether it’s camping in blind spots on the freeway or a fundamental lack of understanding how merging works. I have to lock my breaks at least once every drive home because a shocking number of people think switching lanes necessitates a complete stop prior on the interstates. If I wasn’t moving up at work at an unexpected rate I’d move in a heartbeat.

  3. My favorite part is the Jersey barrier that looks like the wall at Darlington. So clearly this is an awful design and there’s not even remotely enough signage. I’d ask if Seattle even cares, but given the rest of Seattle, I’d venture to guess they do not.

  4. If you ride, the second screenshot showing the exit just gives you the willies.

    You can imagine handling the unexpected turn at speed just fine, hanging off the inside a little even…and then plowing headfirst right into the back of a stopped truck just beyond. Shudder.

  5. Eh… it’s an off-ramp, but unlike most off-ramps it is extremely constrained by the surrounding buildings. It can be quite safely navigated by any reasonable driver paying the slightest bit of attention, as many people do every day.

    It also has a frankly ridiculous number of LARGE and REFLECTIVE signs warning about the corner.

    The issue is Seattle drivers are among the worst (as in most oblivious and uncaring about the road, there vehicles, or anything else that other road-goers pay attention to) in the world, and it’s getting worse by the day. I’m currently trying to find a safe shitbox to daily, as I don’t trust any of these muppets.

  6. I looked at the street view of that tunnel. When you enter the recommended speed is 30 MPH. When you get in the exit lane there’s a sign recommending 20 MPH. There are lots of those arrow signs too.Maybe putting a flashing light on that 20 MPH sign would help, but I am inclined to say that these are crappy drivers. As you point out their control once realizing their errors is abysmal. I wish the U.S. had real driving tests.

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