10 thoughts on “I-66/495 merge and exit strategy…Can Someone Explain This?

  1. “it is a dangerous practice and doesn’t save them much time”

    That depends on the time of day and volume of northbound traffic. Often, particularly in the evening, cutting across four lanes can knock ten to fifteen minutes off a commute, thus habits are born.

  2. Seeing as I learned how to drive in the DC Metropolitan area and have spent more time driving there than elsewhere, I feel fully honest in saying that people around there do not pay attention on the roads. They may take the same route every day, but miss little things like that. While the ratio of bad drivers to good ones is probably not much higher than elsewhere, with the population as high as it is, the few bad drivers make it worse for everyone. And I feel that the increased use of GPS systems will only make it worse. Rather than understanding their route to and from their destinations, some people simply will not pay enough attention to realize what lanes they should be, or if it does not matter that much.

    I doubt there is any solution, as the standards to receive a driver’s license are clearly not high enough, and none of them will take a few moments out of their own lives to figure out that they may be placing others’ lives (and their own too) on the line. The best we can do is simply pay attention to our own driving and figure out a good, safe way to blow off the frustration that will inevitably ensue.

  3. Because people consider cars to be like appliances. You start them and they run.

    When you use your toaster or blender, you do not have to think about all the other toasters and blenders out there. People apply an analogous mentality to cars.

    Another place where I used to see people cutting across a few lanes lanes of traffic regularly was on northbound Route 1 in Crystal City, right where it split between Route 110 towards Rosslyn or the 14th Street Bridge towards DC. Always had to watch out there! The Beltway Inner Loop split towards the I-270 spur is another good place to watch the lane-crossing.

  4. Mom, I can see your point…but that happens in the PM when the bulk of the traffic is heading south on 495…what about the dinkelfusses in the AM who do the same thing when there is so (compared to the PM) little traffic heading West on 495?

  5. I didn’t say it was a good habit but it is a habit nonetheless. In any event, when traffic is light, using the left exit cuts one or two minutes off a trip to the west. This is more an issue of poor interchange design than anything else, options have been left open and people use them, without the opportunity, there would not be an issue. I’m more concerned with dangerous designs, ie: the ramp from Glebe Rd. to Southbound 395, that’s good for at least one accident a week at the Yield sign given the limited site lines to the right of the ramp.

  6. Heres an answer for you

    In the AM 495 is a parking lot. You can easily spend an extra five minutes crawling along in the right lane to get to the next exit.

    That five minutes is why people cut across.

    You do know the way to get through that area right? This also explains some of the other people cutting across lanes.

    From 495 hug the right lane unti just before the merge from 50. Cut across all four lanes into the left lane and get a free ride as people bail to get on I-66 W. Proceed until traffic slows again just before the merge of I-66 E onto 495. Cut across all four lanes into the right lane and fly on through the choke congestion point.

    Total time saved anywhere from 5-15 minutes. Works like a charm.

  7. The answer is simple. Commuters on the I-66/495 interchange are like many in the NoVa area. Mindless automatons with a go, go, go mentality that cannot stop to enjoy life for a moment. Watch as they cross four lanes of traffic while brilliantly using their cellphone. In short, these people are morons who believe the road was built for their pleasure.

  8. That is a problem of poor interchange design. I know this doesn’t help dealing with the illegal lane change knuckleheads, now, but whoever designed a left lane exit does not drive the road. Here in the west (AZ and CA), we have right lane high speed multi-lane exit ramps that merge into the right lanes of the destination road. The stacks alleviate congestion and promote efficient traffic flow. In Phoenix the two I-10 and I-17 multi-stacks interchanges are engineering marvels.

    Be patient, drive defensively and good karma will be your reward.

  9. I love this website, the information is great and I have bookmarked it in my favorites. This is a well organized and informative website. Great Job!

  10. Thankfully, eventually the left exit onto 66 west is going to become a HOT lane access exit. I believe the only reason it is open right now is so that they can close the right hand one intermittently during construction, though I have seen them close the left hand one at times (making those people who cut across four lanes of traffic cut back across four lanes of traffic again :P)

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