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Driving in Colorado

Posted by Jordan Travis | Feb 16, 2023

Colorado is a beautiful state with diverse driving terrain. Read below for basic information on what to know when driving in Colorado's urban, mountain and rural terrains.

Use caution when driving:

  • Bad weather & ice - Slow down to appropriate speeds and do not use cruise control when weather conditions are bad. Colorado requires drivers to obey the tire tread and chain laws that are enforced by State Patrol officers in snow conditions. 
  • Dawn, dusk & night driving - Colorado law requires drivers to turn on their vehicle headlights from sunset to sunrise or when visibility is less than 1,000 ft.
  • Passing other cars on the roadways - When you pass another driver there is a chance for a collision. Make sure to pass only where permitted and do not pass multiple cars at once.
  • Construction zones - Reduced speed limits in construction work zones allow drivers time to react to any complex work zones and ensure the safety of the construction workers and traffic. 
  • Aggressive drivers - The Colorado State Patrol has a phone number for motorists and cyclists to report aggressive drivers. To report aggressive drivers dial CSP (*277).

Driving in urban areas:

  • Interstate etiquette - When driving on the interstate, vehicles that are traveling below the speed limit must move to the right lane to allow other drivers to pass. To allow other vehicles to merge onto the interstate, drivers should move to the left or center lane to allow them to do so. 
  • Entering freeway - On-ramps allow time to build speed to match the interstate traffic. Merge into traffic after the solid white line has ended. Make sure to turn on your blinker to notify the other vehicles that you are merging onto the interstate. When merging make sure you yield to the right-of-way of current traffic.
  • Leaving freeway -  Off-ramps allow time to reduce speed without also being a hazard to interstate drivers. Make sure to turn on your blinker to notify others that you are getting off and maintain your speed until you reach the off-ramp, then begin slowing down to the posted speed limit. Never make a last second turnoff if you missed your exit. There is always an opportunity to turn around at the next exit ramp.

Driving in mountain and rural areas:

  • Down mountain passes - Control speeds and prevent the overheating of breaks by using low gear on steep decents. Never coast downhill in neutral or by withdrawing the clutch. Motorists traveling downhill on steep, narrow roads must stop and/or manuever to the shoulder to allow space for vehicles that are driving uphill.
  • Up mountain passes - Vehicles having difficulties traveling up steep roads must pull of the road at the first place you may do so safely, or stay in the right lane to allow traffic to pass. 
  • Animals & wildlife - Big game, such as elk or deer may suddenly leap into the road and cause damage to vehicles. Keep speeds slower and eyes open when traveling in highly populated wildlife areas.
  • Rural driving - Trees, brush or crops can sometimes obstruct the view of intersections and ranch driveways and roads. Be on alert for farm equipment and animals, railroad crossings and bridges that are narrow and poorly surfaced. 

Knowing what to expect and how to drive in all areas of the state will help everyone arrive safely to their destinations.

For more information check out:

For road conditions and cameras: or call 511

For CDOT customer hotline call:

(303) 757-9011

About the Author

Jordan Travis

Jordan M. Travis - Jordan observed first-hand the practice of law while growing up in Colorado. He attended the University of Colorado Boulder, graduating #1 in his class, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with a minor in Leadership. Jordan also attended the University of Colorado ...

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