A dangerous stretch of I-395 is the scene of dozens of crashes, near misses and stalled drivers

Dave Statter, a former journalist, has a camera in his Crystal City apartment pointed at I-395, specifically at the left-lane exit 8C, which heads to Route 1 in Crystal City. (Courtesy Dave Statter via Twitter)

If you drive enough in Arlington, Virginia, you probably have had to deal with people making seemingly impossible turns and cutting across numerous lanes of traffic to getting to your exit.

One of the worst stretches of road for drivers is Interstate 395 near Boundary Channel Drive, where a safety advocate has been monitoring dozens of crashes, near misses and stalled drivers over the past eight months.

Dave Statter, a former journalist, has a camera in his Crystal City apartment pointed at I-395, specifically at the left-lane exit 8C, which heads to Route 1 in Crystal City.


“Unfortunately, there have been a number of collisions. But more frequently — many, many times a day — people try to get to the left hand exit from the right side of the roadway,” said Statter. “They cut across four lanes of traffic. And most of the time, they barely make it because if they’re coming from Boundary Channel, it’s a very short distance.”

Around 300 feet, to be exact. and it has caused about two traffic accidents a month, according to Statter’s logs.

Beyond just the crashes, the videos he has posted to Twitter also show taxis and tractor-trailers reversing out of those exit lanes to get back onto I-395. You can also see some of the dozens of examples of drivers who take a literal minute to get across the lanes, causing backups aplenty.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has taken notice of Statter’s tweets.

“VDOT has been very responsive to my videos,” Statter told WTOP. “And every one of the videos that I put up, VDOT has looked at and gotten back to me about the problem.”

The transportation agency plans to block the safety zone so people can’t cut across. They will also add more signage warning drivers of a left lane exit for 8C.

Boundary Channel Drive at I-395 will also see a massive upgrading project that will bring roundabouts and extended entry lanes onto I-395, upgrading them to about 1,200 feet of roadway. The project is estimated to wrap up by fall 2023.

“It will reduce the numbers, but my studying of this area says it’s not going to solve all the problems,” Statter said.

“We’re still going to have a lot of people suddenly think it’s OK to make a left turn, basically, on an interstate highway, or to stop or even back up. And VDOT is not really going to solve that.”

He is asking drivers to approach the area with caution and not make any risky maneuvers.

“There’s always another exit. You don’t need to make that left turn and suddenly cut off your neighbor; you don’t need to back up; you don’t need to stop on an interstate highway. Just go to the next exit,” Statter said. “Some people are probably listening to their GPS — it will recalibrate and send you to where you want to go. It may take you a few minutes out of your way, but that’s a lot better than getting hit or hitting somebody else.”

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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