Update: Cars collide, one flips, at 48th and Andover

(Photos by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
8:19 AM: If you’ve seen a big emergency response go by, it’s for a “heavy rescue” call at 48th and Andover (map) – a car has flipped. More to come.

8:29 AM: WSB’s Christopher Boffoli reports from the scene that two cars were involved and both drivers are being taken to hospitals. The driver from the Prius that flipped was described via radio as 48 years old and conscious but reporting shoulder pain.

8:51 AM: Authorities say it appeared the Prius was headed southbound and hit on the passenger side – where its airbags deployed – by the eastbound Civic. Avoid the intersection for a while; the tow trucks hadn’t arrived as of our last scene check a short time ago.

65 Replies to "Update: Cars collide, one flips, at 48th and Andover"

  • Tim April 15, 2013 (8:25 am)

    Two cars collided. One is upside down with people trapped.
    When are we going to get some bloody street signs in the west Seattle back streets. Time and again. This is ridiculous.

  • Sven April 15, 2013 (8:27 am)

    That is a hairy intersection sometimes. The E/W traffic has a yield sign (with the westbound traffic going up a hill with reduced visibility) but people still blow through it all the time without looking. Only a matter of time before this happened. Hopefully a stop sign can be put in.

  • Sven April 15, 2013 (8:29 am)

    Oops. I’m thinking of Dakota and 48th.

  • JoAnne April 15, 2013 (8:30 am)

    Can’t believe how fast that was covered.

  • Rara April 15, 2013 (8:34 am)

    Omg, this is my corner. I happen to be out of town. Usually the cars almost end up in my yard. Be careful of this intersection. There is a bad accident there almost every six months or so. I wish they’d put a traffic circle there.

  • JY April 15, 2013 (8:38 am)

    First, I hope everyone is ok.
    I live near by and I can’t fathom why so many intersections don’t have any stop signs or any signage at all. I’ve never seen that anywhere else. Is that intentional? It seems like an accident waiting to happen and perhaps it just did.

  • jack April 15, 2013 (8:46 am)

    It is amazing to me the number of drivers that don’t understand the ‘right-of-way’ rule when navigating an unmarked intersection with another vehicle in that intersection.

  • Andy April 15, 2013 (8:52 am)

    Defensive driving is the only way to go. Approach each unmarked intersection as if it’s a 4-way ‘Claifornia’ stop.

  • JFWS April 15, 2013 (8:54 am)

    I live a block from here and ALWAYS slow down at this intersection for this very reason. If you are heading east on Andover there is low visibility to 48th. Very scary…hopefully something can be done here.

  • Scooper April 15, 2013 (8:55 am)

    I came by the accident just after it happend. I was glad to find that both drives were conscious and were able to communicate. As others have said we need some signage on these streets.

  • sc April 15, 2013 (9:00 am)

    How about the ones that don’t understand what a red light means? Or do understand and don’t care. Many times in West Seattle I have had the green light but was glad I took a second because someone blew through the red light and would have hit me.

  • Alan April 15, 2013 (9:01 am)

    It’s amazing that one or more of the cars were traveling so fast through an unmarked intersection.

    • WSB April 15, 2013 (9:06 am)

      We don’t know anything about the speed involved here – probably never will – and it’s been noted before that it doesn’t take a massive velocity to flip a car.

  • escher April 15, 2013 (9:04 am)

    The rule of unmarked intersections is yield right of way. I’ve had a car totaled at one of these and I always slow way down. However stop signs won’t help – we have a stop sign at an intersection by our house and drivers still blow through it.

  • Gabby April 15, 2013 (9:12 am)

    Put traffic circles everywhere! They save lives and reduce stormwater runoff. And also, yield to the driver on the right! Every unmarked intersection has the potential for this type of accident, so slow the F down.

  • JY April 15, 2013 (9:13 am)

    One big problem with unmarked intersections is that you don’t know they are unmarked unless you live in the area. I had never heard of unmarked intersections before I moved here.

  • shipwrecked_and_comatose April 15, 2013 (9:16 am)

    @JY- at uncontrolled intersections, the rules are pretty clear, it’s just that no one seems to know them or care. It’s called ‘right of way’ for a reason. I live two blocks from here, and uncontrolled intersections are everywhere. I honestly can’t believe how often I see hurried drivers just blow through them without slowing or even looking, and what you have here is the result of two of these drivers intersecting at the same time. BTW, the Civic had the right of way here.
    @Andy-your strategy is exactly what I do, and what everyone should do. As a motorcycle commuter, I never have the right of way, even if I am supposed to.

  • anti-obstruction April 15, 2013 (9:18 am)

    On the general topic of dangerous intersections, California and Frontenac springs to mind.
    Vehicles on California Ave. are allowed to park far too close to the actual intersection, severely limiting visibility for east/westbound drivers on Frontenac.
    Attempting to cross or turn onto California is often a dicey proposition.

  • Nw April 15, 2013 (9:30 am)

    My gues is speeding and or one or both drivers were distracted some how . . . texting. Put the smartphones down and actually drive the vehicle you are seated in!!

  • Teresa April 15, 2013 (9:36 am)

    Andy, That’s what I do in the neighborhood. I pretty much stop at every intersection. So many people drive way too fast! The yield signs don’t seem to make any difference so even if I have the right of way and someone else has a yield, I don’t trust that they actually will. We live on 48th just a few blocks from the scene. Spokane and Hinds are terrible too! Often westbound traffic going between California and 49th heading to Schmitz Park School. I’ve come very close to being hit by people I know who never even saw me-because they never even looked. They just fly down the hill looking ahead. Please slow down and treat the intersections as intersections unless you’re on an arterial. Seems like a lot of people think you have the right of way if you’re going the fastest. I’ve seen so many accidents in the area! Hope everyone involved is ok.

  • koni April 15, 2013 (9:41 am)

    Unfortunately even street signs don’t seem to help this kind of thing…we live on 41st in Gatewood and daily watch people drive 35 to 40 mph right through the stop signs on Monroe etc., even as cars are coming, children, runners, bikes etc. Often the drivers don’t even look at all.. we arejust waiting for the horrible crash to come :(

  • Teresa April 15, 2013 (9:43 am)

    A really bad blind intersection is at the corner of 47th and Hinds. There is a huge concrete wall at the corner where Madison school is. It amazes me how many people blow through this intersection as well. Apparently they can see through concrete. So many kids in the area, weekends too as there are lots of soccer practices and games there. We just always pretty much come to a stop there, sometimes much to the dismay of the person speeding down the hill behind us;)

  • sam-c April 15, 2013 (9:45 am)

    a traffic circle doesn’t necessarily make the intersection any safer if people don’t know how to yield to the right.

    we always stop for a while at the traffic circle at 18th/ Myrtle (near Sanislo elem.). I don’t know how many times we’ve gotten to that traffic circle to wait, look, and see some maniac traveling east or west, and fly through that traffic circle without slowing at all.

  • KD April 15, 2013 (9:52 am)

    And-over it went.

  • KH April 15, 2013 (9:58 am)

    I almost got in an accident at that exact intersection last week around 8:30am. I was traveling East and the car traveling North was going full speed, not even yielding or looking for on coming cars in either direction. I agree with everyone that at least one side needs a yield sign on those streets. Clearly it’s been awhile since most people have been in Drivers’ Ed. I hope everyone in this situation is OK!

  • Evelyn April 15, 2013 (9:58 am)

    This is a good opportunity as any to remind all drivers–myself included–to pay attention and SLOW THE HELL DOWN!

    This is a residential neighborhood filled with children heading to school, pedestrians walking dogs and people cruising on bicycles. We drivers should assume that every intersection may have a parent pushing a stroller across the unmarked–but very real–crosswalk.

    Crazy and stunning to think that two drivers somehow missed seeing each other’s cars here this morning, imagine how easily they would have missed seeing a group of children stepping off the sidewalk.

  • JY April 15, 2013 (10:00 am)

    @Shipwrecked. I agree with you about to treat unmarked intersections. My point was that it’s not easy to tell if an intersection is unmarked. My assumption, before moving here anyway, was that if I don’t have a stop sign then the other guy must. In a large part of the country unmarked intersections are unheard of. I used to blow through unmarked intersections until I noticed that such a thing existed.

  • joey April 15, 2013 (10:13 am)

    Hopefully all involved recover fully, but come on!

    Idiotic, selfish drivers who think they have the right of way at uncontrolled intersections are foolish and deserve their fate.

    Let’s not solve this by overpaying the government to put up signs or circles, JUST OBEY THE LAW! Uncontrolled intersections have NO PRIORITY east/west vs north/south. It is 100% based on right of way (who got there first).

    Stop speeding through these intersections thinking the “other guy” is going to slow down. They aren’t!

  • datamuse April 15, 2013 (10:13 am)

    My point was that it’s not easy to tell if an intersection is unmarked.
    Forgive if this sounds, well, obtuse, but wouldn’t an obvious indication be that there’s no signs? I’m not trying to be snarky, I’m genuinely mystified about this.
    I’ve lived a few other places in the country and Seattle is NOT the only city with unmarked intersections. They really aren’t that uncommon.

  • flat April 15, 2013 (10:17 am)

    My rule of thumb while navigate the street is:
    To (some) drivers those signs say

    “This sign does not apply to me”

    heads up out there.

  • CanDo April 15, 2013 (10:21 am)

    Geez… how do some people get a driver’s license anyhow? We don’t need more signs. We need for people to pay attention to the rules that already exist for unmarked intersections and maybe more stringent licensing procedures. Cluttering up every street and intersection with signs and lights isn’t the answer. It will just make the neighborhoods tacky. “Evelyn” is right. Slow down! Obey the rules that already exist and there won’t be these kinds of issues.

  • Mike Lindblom April 15, 2013 (10:37 am)

    Evelyn’s comment pretty well covers the territory. Common sense should tell you to be driving below 15 mph approaching all these residential intersections, and maybe 10 mph in them.

  • alki girl April 15, 2013 (10:41 am)

    Well, let’s see here. Seems like a lot of people are confused. Here is info from google;

    Yield the Right of Way

    There are times when you must yield the right-of-way. This means you must let another person go first.

    Here are some rules about when you must yield the right-of-way:

    • At an intersection without signs or signals, you should yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the right.

    • At an intersection with stop signs at all corners, you must yield the right-of-way to the first vehicle to come to a complete stop. If two vehicles stop at the same time, the vehicle on the left should yield to the vehicle on the right.

    • At any intersection where you want to turn left or right, you must yield the right-of-way. If you are turning left, you must wait for approaching traffic to pass or turn, and for pedestrians in your path to cross. If you are turning right, you must wait for pedestrians to cross if they are in your path.

    • A yield sign means you must slow down or stop if necessary and yield the right-of-way to traffic in the intersection or on the intersecting road.

    • When entering a road from a private road or driveway, you must yield to vehicles on the road and pedestrians on the sidewalk.

    • You must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing at specially marked pedestrian crossings.

    Remember, signalling does not give you the right-of-way. You must make sure the way is clear.

    And I wonder why anyone would not look both ways before blasting through an “unmarked” intersection. How can you NOT know it is an INTERSECTION??? Marked or not?

  • lord help us April 15, 2013 (11:04 am)

    Good news is when they repaint theese two Hondas (thats funny in itself) they will have to take off the Obama stickers!

  • christopherboffoli April 15, 2013 (11:11 am)

    lord help us: The Prius is actually a Toyota. And the back bumpers of both vehicles were unscathed.

  • shipwrecked_and_comatose April 15, 2013 (11:13 am)

    @joey-you are dead wrong and spreading misinformation that could be harmful. Maybe this accident was caused by people thinking like you do. Please see alki girl’s post, she has it exactly right, for Washington state anyway. At uncontrolled intersections, THE CAR ON THE RIGHT HAS THE ‘RIGHT OF WAY.’ That’s why its called ‘right of way.’ It has NOTHING to do with who got there first.

  • shipwrecked_and_comatose April 15, 2013 (11:17 am)

    @lord help us-you realize you come off as a wackjob for bringing politics into this, don’t you?

  • Ducky April 15, 2013 (11:19 am)

    A. Plenty of drivers get WA state licenses by trading in a license from another state. There is no comprehension test required. Many other states do not have unmarked intersections, or certainly not in the concentration that West Seattle has them. The state should test *all* those applying for licenses on their comprehension of Washington’s Rules of the Road, not just new drivers.

    B. Street parking rules around here are ridiculous! There is not enough restriction on parking close to intersections, or in places where parked cars can and do impede the line of sight for drivers.

    C. And yes, there is definitely an epidemic of oblivious, multi-tasking, and just plain bad drivers. We can fix A and B, and still have trouble with C.

  • Gene April 15, 2013 (11:23 am)

    Unmarked intersections—-yield to the right!!I Say it over & over — yield to the right…yield to the right !

  • JoAnne April 15, 2013 (11:25 am)

    Actually the rule is to yield to the person on the right only if both cars enter the unmarked intersection at the same time.
    If one car enters first, the other car is supposed to yield.
    I see a lot of people bombing through intersections who seem to assume any car left of them must yield.

  • shipwrecked_and_comatose April 15, 2013 (11:34 am)

    @KH-hate to say it, but in the situation you described the other car had the right of way. This is why these intersections can be so dangerous-there are just so many drivers who don’t know or understand the rules.

  • Evelyn April 15, 2013 (11:40 am)

    @joey is (mostly) correct.

    Simply, section 46.61.180 of the Revised Code of Washington and section 11.55.010 of the Seattle Municipal Code will advise that at a four-way intersection with no traffic light or signs, where two cars approach at the SAME TIME, the person to the right has the right of way. Otherwise, the driver who clearly arrives first has the right of way.

    But most importantly, ALWAYS know that the possessor of the right of way is not relieved from the duty of exercising due care for one’s own safety and that of others. In other words, if the other driver is being a total jerk, we are still all legally and morally bound to get out of the way if we can.

    And @shipwrecked & comatose, sorry but “right of way” does not refer to right-hand side, but rather a privilege (“right”) of something like passage, egress or easement.

    Please everyone, let’s be careful out there!

  • K April 15, 2013 (11:43 am)

    Actually shipwrecked_and_comatose if you re-read alki girl’s post, the car that arrives at the intersection first actually has the right of way. If two cars arrive at the same time the car on the left should yield to the car on the right. The issue I see a lot is that one car thinks it arrived first (or will) and blasts through causing an accident. I often yield to cars even though I clearly arrived first because they’re going too fast and clearly won’t slow down before proceeding through the intersection.

  • brandon April 15, 2013 (11:46 am)

    @JoAnne if you both enter the unmarked intersection at the same time thats an accident. Just saying

  • sc April 15, 2013 (11:54 am)

    From my driver’s ed class in the 70’s at Rooseveldt High School I can remember the teacher saying
    “You can be right, or you can be dead right!”

  • Jeff H April 15, 2013 (12:35 pm)

    The Department of Transportation actually thinks it’s “kind of crazy” that Americans are allowed to drive cars.
    These non-arterial roads are potentially slated to become Neighborhood Greenways. There is a definite need to engineer these roads for low speed (i.e. less than 20mph).
    It’s very scary that this happened where kids may be crossing one day on their way to the new school to be built there.
    The Neighborhood Safe Streets Bill would let you control your neighborhood by lowering speed limits to 20mph. If that’s not good enough, then you and your neighborhood need to step up and let your elected officials know you need something put in place to control drivers.
    It’s sad that every day I run or bike home from work on these supposedly “quiet side streets” that I have to “signal” for cars to slow down and pay attention. I’m planning to do a few videos this summer showing how many people are on their phones while driving around on our neighborhood streets.
    I can’t wait for SDOT to adopt the transportation hierarchy that other cities are implementing…where cars have lowest priority.

  • higgins April 15, 2013 (1:08 pm)

    I could see how some people might not realize an intersection is unmarked. If you’re approaching an intersection and don’t see a sign, you might assume the cross street has a stop or yield sign and just keep on going.

  • wsn00b April 15, 2013 (1:43 pm)

    I have the most cost effective solution to prevent this: SDOT should stop repairing roads. More potholes and ruts = less speed = less accidents. Plus we get to save millions in taxes and expenditure.

    Vote wsn00b for Mayor 2013! ;)

  • Rick April 15, 2013 (1:52 pm)

    As always, the laws of nature trump the laws of man. So you make the call. Good luck.

  • Mike April 15, 2013 (2:10 pm)

    My wife was the driver of the civic. She is fine and I believe the other driver is OK as well. Yes, the prius driver was going faster than they should have and didn’t yield right, but everyone responding to this blog has been in a hurry and done the same at one time or another, it happens and so do accidents, so get off your high horses. At unmarked intersections just make sure and yield right. It’s really that simple. Where i’m from we have a lot of unmarked intersections and it’s real simple, yield to the right, it’s just known. Don’t have to come to a complete stop or post 20mph signs or any of that. Just do the best we can at following the laws in place and common sense and we will all be fine. Thanks for the concern from our above neighbors — we are very lucky and fortunate to be a part of such a great community

  • The Fonz April 15, 2013 (4:36 pm)

    Hey Mike – I have never been in a hurry; I think we need stop lights at every intersection. How many people need to die before we make the right decision?

  • Dale April 15, 2013 (5:23 pm)

    @shipwrecked–I can tell you for a fact as a former claims adjuster (25 years) and current agent that the party who gets to an uncontrolled intersection first & has control of the intersection is the favored party. I know this as a client of mine lost a West Seattle uncontrolled intersection case from last summer. The arbitrator ruled 100% in favor of the other driver who entered the intersection first. Oh, and my insured was on the right, and had the right of way. Copies of the Rules of the Road were provided. This is how this interpreted as a practical matter.

  • miws April 15, 2013 (6:44 pm)

    Where’s 4-Way Stop, You Go. No You Go. No You Go. Guy, when you need him?



  • Rod April 15, 2013 (6:45 pm)

    Thanks, Dale.

    I just come to a stop, look both ways, and, if it is clear, proceed.

    Automobile Science 101.

  • shipwrecked_and_comatose April 15, 2013 (7:08 pm)

    @Dale-I guess I just assumed that people know not to plow into another car already in the intersection. My bad. If you want to start splittin’ hairs about who got there first, do we measure down to centimeters, millimeters, or microns?

    @Evelyn-I was trying to provide a mnemonic to help people remember how uncontrolled intersections work, but I’m sure your absolute literal translation of the term will really help out the average driver.

  • ELL April 15, 2013 (8:55 pm)

    If both drivers believe they have the ROW then neither one stops at unmarked intersections. There are tons of these in my neighborhood so I see it every time I leave my house. AND most of the time one or both drivers are speeding. There is no mistaking a stop sign but drive up Oregon to 50th and you’ll see an unmarked intersection, then a round-a-bout, then a stop sign then a yield and all of the streets are the same – none are obviously the main road. Usually I end up letting the other car rip by because they didn’t see me anyway, even if I was there first.

  • BeachDriveBoy April 15, 2013 (9:30 pm)

    Chalk up another one to excessive speed and a certain amount of cluelessness (with a smidge of entitlement on someone’s part thrown in for good measure?). If the impact was enough to flip a car over, SOMEONE was going too damn fast.
    We can’t put a cop on every corner, but we CAN put speed radar units at random locations and move them around. The only folks who get bit are the knotheads who aren’t paying attention to what they’re doing.
    At some point, you guys have to agree that social responsibility trumps personal freedom in a densely populated environment. It’s waaaaay past time for you ‘flower children’ (and other excessively entitled ‘unique little snowflakes’)to grow the hell up.

  • BeachDriveBoy April 15, 2013 (9:51 pm)

    The problem is fairly simple, really. We want everyone else to be thoughtful and responsible, but we want to be FREEEEEEEEEEE!!!
    The reality is that the moment you step out your door, you become part of a larger world, and you need to be ready to suborn your own desires to the needs of a civil and orderly society. That means (but not limited to)
    1) Curb your pets – and your kids. Both may be ‘special’ in your eyes, but neither has the right to annoy me.
    2) Turn down the damn car stereo. You have great taste in music. I may not agree. I’ll make a deal: don’t cruise by my home cranking Snoop Doggy Doo-Doo at 2am on Sunday morning, and I won’t come by your place cranking Lawrence Welk next weekend.
    3) Slow down. I have as much right to get where I’m going as you do. Hang up the cel phone and stick to the speed limit. Leave 5 minutes earlier, and maybe you won’t have to drive like a dick.
    I could go on all night, but I think you get the picture, unless you completely ‘trailer-park’; then get thee to Bellvue, where you belong.

  • MellyMel April 16, 2013 (12:05 am)

    I live at the top of the Andover hill at 45th.

    As a general comment (not about this specific case), I hear people “gun it” to get up this hill all day and all night. It takes a bit of a running start if you are at 48th at the bottom.

    If you are one block north at Charlestown, it is even worse.

    On the bright side, sledding around here on snow days is awesome!

    (People also like to go hella fast going *down* the hill as well, as the scrape of their undercarriage bottoming out ringing across the neighborhood can attest to.)

  • waytogomo April 16, 2013 (12:13 am)

    This was not an “accident”. Both drivers were at fault. They both should have slowed down at this unmarked intersection to notice on-coming vehicles, either one could have prevented the collision.

  • cjboffoli April 16, 2013 (7:59 am)

    Patriot: I’ve never had a problem with Prius drivers. If I’ve noticed any trends it is SUV drivers that I often see doing selfish and reckless things on the roadway.

  • patt April 16, 2013 (8:11 am)

    FIY I found a 1921 Seattle paper behind a mirror that had an article saying drivers had to carry the drivers license with them now (also talked about the Mercer Mess)

    Recently I found an other one from 1933 talking about how new drivers would now have to take a test of “106 queries”

    The handbook for the test was so…polite. ” Alway give the other fella the right of way and be prepared to give him yours” The beginning of, you go, no you go. NW driving. I guess as more and more people drove the rules had to be tighten.

  • Dale April 16, 2013 (10:06 am)

    Years ago someone told me it cost the city approx 20-25k to add a traffic circle to an intersection by the time all the man hours were involved, and revisions to the street etc. I have no way of knowing. Just feel that to jump from an uncontrolled intersection to a traffic circle is a bit drastic when a stop sign may do the trick.

  • Kathy April 16, 2013 (9:25 pm)

    Act like everyone is out to kill you…but don’t hold it against them! (As I say to my new driver daughter).

    Maybe Seattle should try the Drachten Netherlands Traffic Plan…take away all signs in the city. Then everyone is forced to be careful. It supposedly reduced their accidents and fatalaties. Would it work in America?


  • Anonymous April 19, 2013 (4:59 pm)

    I personally know the driver of the Prius, and she told me herself that the driver of the Honda wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, so if they didn’t follow that simple rule that most kindergarteners can grasp, i’m not entirely sure we can account for other areas of her driving. Also, according to the driver of the Prius, the Honda ‘t-boned’ her, which clearly shows she would have been first at the intersection, meaning that (according to Washington State LAW) she had the right-of-way.

Sorry, comment time is over.