A City-Data.com thread kicks off with this simple question: "Why are Front Range drivers so terrible?" And while some of the many folks who responded disagree with this theory, suggesting that drivers in these parts aren't really any worse than those in any burgeoning metropolitan area, most float theories as to why getting from point A to point B can be a painful proposition.
Below, see what struck us as the ten strongest arguments.
Number 10: Passing the driver's license test isn't much of a test
It is way too easy to get and keep a driver's license in Colorado. You have to be real idiot or a habitual drunk to lose your license in this state -- and even then, you probably won't be without it for long. Driver's license testing is too lax, and driver's education for young drivers is inadequate. Number 9: The law's outnumbered
Lack of enforcement. I give law enforcement credit -- they are trying, but law enforcement, especially the State Patrol, is badly undermanned. The population of Colorado has more than doubled in the last 30 years, but the number of State Troopers has barely grown at all. Continue for more theories about why Front Range drivers are terrible. Number 8: Blame it on the newcomers....
My theory is that almost everyone here came from somewhere else. Every place I've lived has different "styles" of driving. CO is a mishmash of all of them. When I drive in TX it's freaky how closely people tailgate; they're almost in my backseat. I learned to drive in WI and when I visit there I definitely notice how differently people drive. I hardly ever drive in southern CA because it scares me half to death -- and there are lots of Californians here. Number 7:...especially if they're from California
I think up until the 1990's, Coloradans were nice drivers, but then the Californians started moving in en masse and they brought their bad habits with them.
If you want to see bad driving, on Friday night in the winter, on I-70 to Summit County, everyone on there is in a race to see who can get to the resort first. I used to call them the "Friday Night Maniacs."
Friday's seem to be "stupid driving day" in most every large city. I saw it in DC for over 30 years. It starts on Friday morning commute, even at my drive time of 5:30 a.m., they had an attitude of "it's Friday, it's the weekend, I'm gonna get drunk and get laid tonight, yipeeeee." It was worse on Friday night, they'd drive like the Soviet Army was hot on their ass or something. IMO the cause of this is crowding, pure and simple; studies have shown that when rats are crowded into a lab cage they get both aggressive and territorial. Same for people; when I was out on the wide open roads, people signaled their lane changes and were courteous, but the closer I got to urban areas, the more territorial and aggressive the drivers got. Number 5: Easy flipping
When I drive in the very rural parts of the Rocky Mountain West, including some places in Colorado, you will get the "single finger" wave when you meet someone on the road -- this is the nice one, just a raised index finger from the steering wheel. Get to the metro areas and it becomes the middle finger insult. Continue for more theories about why Front Range drivers are terrible. Number 4: Don't build it and they'll come anyway
I think that as others pointed have out, this area's population grew too quickly and the infrastructure hasn't kept up with the growth. The highways are often crowded and congested, and with the increased population comes a more pressure, less considerate driving, and crazier drivers. This is the case in almost every large city and in major population centers like thee Front Range urban corridor. When you leave the populated areas of Colorado and visit (insert name of small Colorado town here), most people drive slower and less aggressively. Number 3: Red doesn't always mean "stop"
In Denver I notice a lot of people running red lights.
It's bad everywhere. I avoid the highways at all costs and always double check before proceeding through a green light since I know at least 5 people will run the light before it's actually my turn to go.
I-25 between Denver and Fort Collins has to be the most aggravating stretch of interstate in Colorado IMO. There simply isn't enough lane capacity to carry the traffic, which leads to congestion and lack of smooth traffic flow. Number 1: Sprawl = crawl
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This is the unsustainable cycle: More highways leads to more sprawl. More sprawl causes more traffic. More traffic leads to more highways and lanes. More highways and lanes leads to more sprawl. It's like a dog chasing its tail. It never ends and it's stupidly destructive. If you want adequate roads, don't build more of the damned things -- KILL THE SPRAWL! Otherwise, there will be 12 lanes and it still won't be enough -- and the Front Range will be a traffic-choked s***hole just like southern California. You would think after a half-century of this bull**** across this once great country, the sheeple would finally get it, but they apparently don't.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.