Summer travel in Colorado is a wonderful thing. The reason why most of us live here is so that we can explore and visit the wonderful places in the mountains and front range attractions. Some things come to keep in mind when traveling our beautiful state has been brought to my attention from clients, potential clients, and the news.
Watch out for rocks on the road. Rockslides in the mountains make headlines. Interstate 70 is not the only road in Colorado where this hazard exists. In spring of 2010 a huge slide in Glenwood Canyon shut down the road for quite some time. It seems that work on the mountainside on I-near westboun70 just west of Georgetown is never ending. Fatalities have occurred on this stretch of road in the past. However, it is rare for a rock to come down on a car. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) reports that, on average, there is one fatality per year from rocks hitting cars. Most slides occur in the spring. Why? The freeze/thaw cycle really loosens things up. Big summer showers can also set rocks moving, as well as bighorn sheep and other wildlife scrambling through the mountains. Although the most dramatic damage usually comes from rocks and stones falling on cars, most damage occurs by driving over hazards already in the road. It’s difficult not to get distracted by the scenery when driving in the mountains. Please, for the safety of you, your family, and others, keep your eyes on the road and don’t drive too fast to react to road hazards.
Wildlife causes more accidents than collisions with rocks. Keep your eyes peeled for animals in the road especially in the early morning or at sunset. Animals are either getting ready to bed down or are up and looking for food. Stay sharp for sudden movements so you can react. It’s wonderful to see deer, bighorn sheep and elk in the mountains. It’s not so wonderful to see them in front of your windshield with no time to react. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that auto-animal accidents account for nearly 200 deaths per year.
Courtesy and (hopefully) common sense. If you want to take in the scenery pull over and allow others to pass. If you are viewing wildlife make sure your car is well off the side of the road. Texting is now illegal in Colorado. If you want to read or send a text – pull over. Watch out for me and my fellow bike riders! Many cyclists don’t follow the rules of the road as they should. Just because they are not riding safely doesn’t mean you should see how close you can get when passing or honk your horn to put a scare into them. People get injured and killed that way. You are driving inside a steel cage to protect you. Cyclists have a thin layer of clothes and a foam helmet to protect them. When bicycle meets car…car wins. Be courteous even if the rider isn’t. They might get the message, ride more safely in the future and return the courtesy.