PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — When a driver from Gig Harbor saw traffic slowing on State Route 16 during a commute last week, he did a double-take at the car causing the distraction in the right lane. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” the witness, Mark (no last name given) was overheard saying while recording the spectacle, laughing in disbelief at a fellow driver going 45 miles per hour in reverse.
He said the white sedan had been driven for miles at near-freeway speeds to get there, from southbound I-5 to westbound State Route 16, which are nearly always congested with divers in a hurry. The video lasts only seconds, but the image of a driver facing backward, driving backward was seen thousands of times when he gave it to his friend Aaron Foster to share on Facebook.
When Washington State Trooper Robert Reyer saw it, he was left with a single word. “Unbelievable,” Reyer said. Reyer’s Twitter followers asked for his reaction, since Reyer has seen it all on the roads. He’s even delivered two babies in cars while on duty. But this?
“I’ve never seen that before,” he said, adding that the video shows several clear violations of state law.
“The first time I saw this, I actually thought the vehicle was attached to another vehicle in front of it,” he said, reciting the state law which specifically prohibits driving in reverse on a limited-access freeway.
“You must have forward-facing headlights. And also for other drivers around, now as we see somebody’s taking a video of it, I don’t know if they were the passenger or the driver. Now you have an audience that is distracted now by your driving as well.”
People reacting to the video are still wondering if it was intentional or if it was a skilled maneuver to deal with making a serious mistake on an onramp. The driver was seen exiting safely on the Sprague Street exit.
“If it was a stunt, I would just highly recommend that person not do that again,” Reyer said.