Driving in Colorado

Driving any vehicle in Colorado can be a challenge.  Oh, the terrain and roads are pretty tame, even Pikes Peak is paved all the way to the top now.   There can be some wild life on the roadways, but it’s actually less than in many other states.  Lots of wide open spaces, visibility forever, and well maintained roadways.

Contrary to popular belief, the weather here is usually very good.   We get very little snow.  And I think we have more hours of sunshine every year than Florida does.

So, then why do I say it’s a challenge?  It’s the drivers.  What a bunch of dang morons!

In the I-25 corridor, from Fountain to Fort Collins, you’d better be on your toes at all times.     I commute only about 25 miles each way, 4 days per week.   And it’s predominantly on I-25 through Colorado Springs.   The stupid things I see people doing every single day just amazes me.  It’s no wonder there are so many crashes.   I want to smack them in the back of the head with a board and ask, “What could possibly make you think that was a good idea?”

Come off the on ramp, and immediately aim for the far left lane without even looking.   I’v been run off the road more than once by these morons.

Change lanes without looking.   Common world wide, I suppose.  But even when driving my bright red Dodge Ram 2500, people still don’t see me.    I really have to be on my toes when riding my Harley.

I’v driven a variety of vehicles, in all kinds of situations, all kinds of weather, on 4  continents.  Regardless of weather or terrain, I could get you there.  In every first world country, if some one comes up behind you and flashes their headlights, that means “move over”, you’re blocking traffic.   And people do move over.  But not here!    In Colorado, if  a drivers see’s another car behind them and they flash their lights, they think it means, “Please do a brake check”.   When they see those headlights flash they immediately slam on the brakes, and continue to drive even slower.    Usually associated with raising the middle finger, too.

Left turn lanes are apparently very tricky.  If there are two left turn lanes, always pick the right or outside lane.  Morons driving small Japanese cars think they’re driving an AMRAPP.  The immediately turn left, and use both turn lanes for their little car.   They have no concept of how to radius a corner.   I’v had some very close calls there.

Drivers here have no clue on how to merge on to the highway.  They run down the acceleration lane, gaining speed.   45..50..55..60….55..50..45..40.  And then they change lanes!  They expect the existing traffic on the highway to slow down for them, instead of the other way around.   They do the same thing when exiting.  They slow down to 45mph about 200 yards before the deceleration lane.   Traffic is often backed up forever because of these chuckle-heads.

Small hills and rises in the roadway seem to be a real mystery.  There’s a small hill on I-25, at the intersection of Fillmore Blvd.   It really is a small hill; less that 100 yards, and only 50 feet tall.   Really a nothing bit of terrain change.   And yet, it seems to be a real challenge.  Every day, people get to that hill, and slow down!   They drive this road every single day.  And this hill has been there since the beginning of time.  But people can’t figure out that they need to push down on the skinny pedal to maintain speed.   I think these people are actually driving pedal cars.   Consequently, traffic is at a complete stand still 12 miles back.  It’s simply amazing.

The law in Colorado (as in all states) is cruising in the right lane, and passing in the left lane.  Once again, Not in Colorado!   The slowest cars are usually in the left lane.  They’ll see 10 cars pass them on the right, and it never occurs to them to move over.    They’ll sit in the left lane for 50 miles – and I’m not exaggerating….  50 miles.    Especially on a hill, like Monument hill.  If you want to maintain the speed limit on Monument hill, you’d better be in the far right lane.

Some Colorado drivers appear to have some special glasses.   At the bottom of all traffic signs there are the words, “Except for me”.    No Passing.. except for me.   Do Not Enter… except for me.   No Parking… except for me.   Keep Right… except for me.    You need those special glasses to see those words.   I’m not sure where to get a pair of those glasses, but they must be available somewhere.   I’d sure like to get a pair for me to use.  Maybe I haven’t lived in Colorado long enough.

In Colorado Springs and Denver it’s very important – apparently – to be first.   It’s very much a , “Screw you, me first, I’m more important than everyone else” attitude.  People will run red lights to get in front of you; and then drive 10 mph under the speed limit.   If you’re in the left lane approaching a car in the right lane, at the last second the’ll change lanes to get in front of you.  And then slow down.  You’ll have to wait for the opportunity to pass them on the right.  If you happen to be the only car on the 3 lane roadway, people will pull out in front you, in your lane, and force you to avoid them or slow down.   They could pick either of the other 2 lanes and avoid a conflict.  But they’ll pull out in front of you.

When I attempt a pass while driving the Cobra, people will speed up to try and cut me off!   The could be driving the biggest POS in town, but they still feel the need to race me!   They’ve gotta be first.  And, Boy, don’t they get ticked off when I drive around them anyway.  Suddenly, they feel the need to ride my bumper at 15-20 mph faster than what they were doing.  My good friend Dave drives a Corvette, and he’s noticed the same thing.

Which brings up tail gating.  It’s like a hobby around here.  When I’m in the truck, they’re so close behind me all I can see is roof line.  Those people I just ignore.  If there’s a crash, I’m pretty safe.   On the Harley or in the Cobra, it’s a different story.  I try waving them back a couple of times.  I even flash the brake lights a couple of times.  When that fails, I start throwing quarters over my shoulder.   Then they usually back off.

Last summer I took a motorcycle trip through Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.   I rode over 3,500 miles in 10 days.  It was a wonderful trip!  I did not have to make one evasive maneuver the entire trip.  Until I got back to Colorado Springs.  Within 10 miles of my home, I had to avoid 4 moronic drivers!  4 of them!

You’re probably wondering, where are the police?  Yeah, I often wonder that same thing.

Once outside of this I-25 corridor, people suddenly get smart again.   They develop some basic driving skills, and common courtesy.   They become observant, and know how to handle their vehicles.  It’s an amazing transformation.   Driving becomes fun again.