News

Chevy Suburban flips on Palo Alto on-ramp

Driver and passenger wore seatbelts, were unhurt

The driver of a black Chevrolet Suburban lost control of his vehicle in Palo Alto and flipped the car onto its roof on Monday morning.

The middle-aged man and his wife were traveling on the freeway ramp to southbound U.S. Highway 101 at Embarcadero Road about 11:40 a.m. when the accident occurred. The SUV skidded from a curve in the road, plowed through the guardrail and landed top-down at the bottom of the grass embankment. It did not block traffic.

The driver said he had his automatic four-wheel-drive feature turned on, but it did not appear to kick in. He suddenly began to skid, and the car started spinning.

"It kept spinning and spinning. It hit the guard rail and went down the embankment and flipped over," he said. He asked to remain anonymous.

The man and his wife were wearing seat belts, which prevented them from being ejected. They hung upside down in the overturned vehicle, but they were able to extricate themselves. Neither was injured, he said.

California Highway Patrol officers arrived on scene and a tow truck righted the vehicle. CHP Redwood City spokesman Officer Moises Escoto said that speed was likely a factor. The road was not slick from rain.

Drivers should exercise caution, especially in the rain that is expected this afternoon, he said.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by safety first
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 31, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Just because your truck has traction control does not mean you can speed through slick turns. Use common sense and slow down in the rain! I'm glad they were not hurt. I hope everyone learns a lesson from crash. I'm also glad that the newspaper is not calling the crash an "accident".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Definition of an accident is that it wasn't meant to happen. Definition of a crash is hitting something.

I am assuming that the driver didn't meant to do this so it was definitely accidental. If he hit the guardrail then it was a crash against the guardrail, if he rolled and hit nothing then how could it be called crashing?

A collision also involves hitting something.

I would call this an accident as there was no intention on behalf of the driver in rolling over even if he was driving too fast.

I suppose the correct call would be to call it a roll over, but to some people that might sound deliberate. So perhaps accidental roll over?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2014 at 2:06 pm

What if this huge vehicle had skidded into another vehicle...like a smaller car...wow. Better slow down.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by safety first
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 31, 2014 at 2:26 pm

I disagree with @Resident. If a collision is easily preventable through safe common-sense driving, then it is no accident. Reckless driving is not an accident just like drunk driving is not an accident.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Deserving
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Just think how upset people would be if cyclists were causing this much chaos on the roads. Why I saw one run a stop sign just this morning...causing issue to nobody, but that's not the point. He IRRITATED me!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Callie
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 31, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Using 4WD in Palo Alto is completely unnecessary; he must have been driving too fast. We moved from snow country so I drove a Suburban here for 5 years. People always yielded to me, assuming I was a lunatic, power-hungry driver. This driver just fed into the stereotype - shame on him.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ndtown
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 31, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Too fast for the conditions...
It's not the 4wheel 's fault.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 31, 2014 at 7:04 pm

The southbound on-ramp to 101 at Embarcadero has a huge climb. The driver should have had his snow chains mounted on his tires for better traction.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2014 at 7:23 pm

For some reason drivers think 4WD is some kind of miracle which allows them to drive carelessly. The same laws of physics apply to 4WD SUV's as any other vehicle.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 31, 2014 at 7:51 pm

So ... uh, who pays for any damages in this case. It's clearly the negligence for the driver ... shouldn't his insurance company cover anything like rebuilding the guardrail?

And speaking of guardrails, I keep noticing that the Alma overpass at Embarcadero was run into and is missing a big chunk? Is that ever going to be fixed ... and if so, when ... and how?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jean
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 1, 2014 at 8:12 am

Another Palo Alto resident in a rush to get their Starbucks. See? This is what happens....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2014 at 11:17 am

Agree w/ previous posters on this thread: 4WD or AWD will not prevent sliding or hydroplaning in the rain and on wet surfaces. The driver is totally clueless on that aspect of driving.

Outside of not paying attention to where he was going (he said he was trying to switch to 4WD - perhaps not looking at the road) and given the results of his foray into the weeds, excessive speed for the weather and wet road surface had to be the problem.

@ Jean: What proof do you have that the driver is a PA resident? Whenever an accident happens on a PA street, why is it that everyone assumes that it was PA resident? Newsflash - PA does not have a monopoly on bad drivers, bad bicyclists, bad pedestrians, over-sized SUVs, clueless Prius drivers, etc., etc.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Was the road wet when this happened? I barely recall yesterday, but I didn't think it started to rain til later.

CPD - yeah, it's not like there are other bad drivers that exit and enter the freeway via PA who live elsewhere!

When I had an AWD vehicle, I don't recall using it in rainy weather on pavement. Did I miss a fabulous opportunity to make driving more fun?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2014 at 3:14 pm

> CHP Redwood City spokesman Officer Moises Escoto said that speed
> was likely a factor.

Speed is always a factor. Just read the accident reports, and that fact comes through in spades.

> remain anonymous ..

Why should anyone be allowed to remain anonymous who has endangered the lives of other motorists, and destroyed public property.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by safety first
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2014 at 5:13 pm

@Wondering - they are allowed to remain anonymous because the cops are too wimpy to charge them for reckless driving and property damage. If the cops did not personally witness an obvious infraction, they generally only cite or charge for DUI or vehicular manslaughter. Anything less is the driver goes free (perhaps with an insurance rate hike).


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