Eight Rules of the Road That Denver Drivers Shouldn't Ignore

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4. Turn Signals
Signaling while driving is one of those things that a driver does all the time or completely ignores. Either you’re a signaler or you’re not — there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground. But there is a right way to do this: Signal. All the time. Not all the time as in just-leave-it-on, Grandpa. Just use the damn things and let us all know what complex maneuver you’re contemplating.

3. Tailgating
Following too closely is rampant. Per Colorado law, you're supposed to follow the three-second rule, meaning you count to three (specifically, “one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand-three”…though it’s safe to assume that the more traditional “Mississippi” rule could also apply, state fealty be damned) before you pass a common marker in order to be safe under normal driving conditions. But, honestly, who does that? That’s just giving the asshat in the Subaru Outback next to you the chance to cut into your lane! Yeah, it’s one of those laws that seems to invite abuse, but there it is, on the books, ready to bite you the next time you rear-end someone.

2. Running the Yellow
It’s an old joke: green means go, red means stop, and yellow means hit the gas. And we get the punchline, because we all step on it to make yellow lights. In fact, that’s not illegal in Colorado: Here, if your car is completely into the intersection before the light turns red, you’re still fine. But the definition of “completely into the intersection” is where this gets hairy: If you’re close, the police will stop you, and red-light cameras will snap a picture. Add to that the fact that the duration of the yellow can vary from intersection to intersection, and definitely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and you’re gambling on knowing how long you have to get past that stop line. Then there’s the whole embarrassment of T-boning someone coming from the other direction or hitting a pedestrian. In short: red lights aren’t long enough to risk your life or someone else’s. Stop being seventeen and have a little patience.
1. Driving While Distracted
We all know that driving under the influence is a seriously bad idea, and most drivers have taken that to heart. (Thanks, PSAs! We learned it from watching you.) Yes, most drivers have driven when they shouldn’t have at one point or another, either due to alcohol, drug use or just plain exhaustion — but distraction still accounts for a huge percentage of accidents. Whether it’s texting, taking a selfie, reading the latest from Westword on your iPhone or playing Pokemon Go, it's distracting you from what you're supposed to be doing: driving.
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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen

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