2008 Mazda CX-9: Wrong Way!
March 17, 2008
How's this for surreal? I was driving our Mazda CX-9 north on California's 5 freeway near the Grapevine, a local term for what is in fact the Tejon pass. I was one lane over from the fast lane. Traffic was light.
I was glancing at the radio, and when I looked back at the road, I saw a silver Honda Civic driving the wrong way in the fast lane.
I've seen people drive the wrong way down one-way streets before but never on a major interstate. I watched the Civic drive past. It was an elderly gentleman driving, and he apparently had no idea that he was going the wrong way. My meager and reflexive response? I honked my horn at him. (By the way, I took the above photo a few minutes after the event to give you idea of what I-5 is like at this point. When I first spotted it, the Civic was close to where that white SUV is.)
I have no idea how long this guy had been driving south it must have been a while given the sparse exit ramps at this point of the 5 and that he had moved over to the "fast" lane. Nor do I know what ultimately happened to him. But I was a bit rattled. Afterwards, I tried a couple of mock emergency lane changes in our CX-9 just to simulate if I had been in the fast lane. It's not the most secure-feeling thing to do in a 4,500-pound vehicle, but our Mazda stayed pleasingly planted nonetheless.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @9,640 miles