Although driving in Denver isn’t as challenging as in most U.S. cities, the population has steadily risen, leading to significant traffic. With traffic comes challenges on the road which can lead to accidents. In addition, Denver has unpredictable weather and unique terrain, presenting another set of challenges on the road. To ensure you drive safely, here’s what you need to know about driving in this area.
Denver metro has grown in the last few years, affecting several areas, including traffic growth. More cars are on the road, leading to congestion and longer commute times. Because of this, it’s important to plan for traffic when planning a trip. Leave home early because being in a rush can make you engage in risky behavior, increasing the risk of an accident.
In addition, pay attention to the road even during heavy traffic. Just because you’re at a standstill doesn’t mean you should start tuning the radio or responding to a call. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, over 50% of accidents leading to injuries or death happen at intersections in urban areas, while 30% occur in rural areas. One of the reasons for this is distracted driving. Paying attention lets you move at the right time and avoid accidents.
Drive Carefully Around Cyclists
A lot of Denver residents are outdoor lovers, and some ride their bikes to work during warm weather. Colorado traffic laws allow cyclists to use the roads with cars. In fact, drivers and cyclists share the same rights and responsibilities. As such, be careful and respectful when a cyclist is riding a bike next to you. Don’t assume you have more rights, as you may act recklessly and hit a cyclist.
Understand the Terms Used to Refer to Cities and Areas
In casual conversation, Denver can mean several things, including the city of Denver, the Denver Metro area of the County of Denver. There are about 20 adjacent cities that consist of the Denver metro area. Downtown refers to Denver City, which has huge skyscrapers, while Lakewood refers to the west side of the town. There are also other popular areas like Aurora, Littleton, and the tech center. Knowing which direction these areas are located will help you get around easily.
Expect Sudden Weather Changes
Colorado is known for sporadic weather. One minute it could be sunny and breezy, and the next, it’s raining heavily. It’s best to prepare for sudden changes to avoid getting into accidents. Before heading out, ensure your tire pressure is good. In addition, ensure your wipers are working because snow and rain storms can happen anytime.
Be particularly careful during severe weather, as the roads can be tricky. Avoid distractions and keep your eyes on the road. According to Driver Knowledge, drivers are 23 times more likely to get into accidents while texting and driving. It’s especially worse in bad weather because your attention is divided, and you may miss hazards on the road.
Understand High Elevations Will Likely Affect Your Car
Denver is 5,280 feet above sea level, which is why people refer to it as the Mile High City. When driving on top of one of the mountains, you may experience shortness of breath. It’s not just you affected by the altitude. Your engine can be affected, too, leading to diminished acceleration. Consider using an all-wheel drive SUV or truck to experience less reduction of power.
Assume You’re the Only Sane Driver on the Road
You’ll be sharing the road with all sorts of people. Some are reckless, others text while driving, and others have anger issues. As such, be careful. Don’t assume a driver or even a passenger has seen you and will act rationally. This is to protect yourself. Remember that over 70% of car accident victims are usually inside the car. Stay alert to avoid being another statistic.
If you’re planning to move to Denver or just acquired your license, these tips are especially for you. Practicing them will help you reduce the chances of getting into an accident in this city.