On the Road

Sometimes it's Driver Error; Sometimes it's an Optical Illusion

May 4, 2015

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Illustration via WSBTV
Illustration via WSBTV

Few of us would try to negotiate a 35-mph bend at 65 mph if we knew doing so would flip the truck. Sometimes we get caught unaware, not fully expecting such a tight curve on a freeway, but they are out there.

A recent story on the website of the British paper, The Daily Mail, tells the tale of the intersection of I-285 southbound to Interstate 20 eastbound in Atlanta, Ga. The story, complied with footage, photos and interviews compiled from Atlanta ABC-affiliate, WSB, suggest the high number of truck roll-over that have occurred there might be based in an optical illusion -- one that leads drivers to believe they are going straight when in fact the roadway hooks dramatically to the left into a near-180-degree bend.

There are several too-tight bends on interstate highways around the country. The nasty right hook on I-90 in eastern Cleveland comes to mind.

Despite the number of tight-turn warnings and even rumble strips, the amount of debris and the tire marks on the barricades speak to the fact that not everyone heeds the warnings.

The Atlanta intersection is no different, except that the geometry of the highway may be a contributing factor. The signage advises 35 mph, but for some drivers, the view from the steering position suggests the highway continues straight. So why the speed warning? Why indeed.

What the drivers who see a straight-ahead highway are looking at, according to the story, is the adjacent exit ramp. It does go straight. The mainline of the highway hooks to the left.

The Daily Mail story says there have been 10 truck roll-overs there in the past 18 months alone. You'd think that might be to get the DOT looking into the problem.

Know of any other problem interchanges or badly designed highway around the country? Leave a comment for us and perhaps tip off a few unsuspecting drivers as well.


  1. 1. Walter Johnson [ May 07, 2015 @ 10:39PM ]

    Southbound on Rt 8/25 The left exit onto rt 95 North is unexpectedly sharp. It's easy to mistake the exit speed 25 mph banner at the bottom of the exit sign for an exit only or left exit banner.


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Author Bio

Jim Park

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Equipment Editor

Truck journalist 13 years, commercial driver 20 years. Joined us in 2007. Specializes in technical/equipment material (including Tire Report), brings real-world perspective to test drives.


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