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How Bad is Traffic in Denver?

According to the Tom Tom traffic index ranking, Denver was the 33rd most congested city in the United States. In 2021 the average Denver driver lost 41 hours of their life waiting in traffic. 2021 also marked a 20% increase in traffic year over year. This upward trend is likely to continue as the population of the Mile High City continues to grow at an astonishing rate. How fast you ask?

The Denver Metro Area is currently home to more than 3 million people and could reach 3.6 million by the end of the decade. The benefits of living in Denver have contributed to making it one of the fastest growing cities in the country. These benefits include a growing tech industry, desirable lifestyle, and proximity to an international airport according to The Denver Business Journal.

If you commute just about anywhere in Denver, you know how busy many of the interstates can get. I-70 in particular can be quite infuriating as Denverites compete to arrive in the mountains for a weekend getaway. Driving West for the weekend has become one of Denver’s most popular pastimes, with drivers allocating more and more of their weekend hours towards driving on I-70. The traffic has become so pronounced, that an entire subculture has emerged from the infamous interstate. The instagram page, I-70 Things has been incredibly successful in creating a community around the interstate. You might be asking yourself, “A community around an interstate?”

I-70 Things is a news and media instagram page that has over 220K followers and has become one of the most reliable ways to find real time news, traffic conditions, and general entertainment when it comes to I-70. Since the page mostly posts user generated content, you can often get live traffic updates and alerts much faster than the mainstream news outlets. Even The Colorado Department of Transportation, CDOT lags behind I-70 Things.

This growing community does a fantastic job capturing the shared experience and grievances that Coloradans feel when trapped on this infamous blacktop. Unfortunately, clever instagram pages won’t reduce the growing traffic problem that looms over Colorado. Only you can help to do that! By preparing to embark on the mountain drive, we can reduce the likelihood of getting in an accident and prevent further delays. Here are our suggestions for being prepared on I-70:

Ensure your wipers are working properly

Regardless of the season, poor visibility drastically increases your chances of getting in an accident. Ensure that your vehicle has proper wipers installed so that you can drive safely despite inclement weather.

Refill your antifreeze wiper fluid

As a compliment to your wipers, also make sure you have plenty of wiper fluid in your car. Particularly in the winter, if you don’t have wiper fluid, your drive can get harry in a hurry.

Check your tire tread

I-70 Things loves to tease underprepared drivers and there are plenty of videos on their page doing just that. Particularly when one vehicle cannot make it up the inclined grades approaching the Eisenhower Tunnel or Vail Pass. Don’t be that guy! Make sure to check your tire tread regularly and only drive on tires suitable for winter driving conditions. You will save your fellow Coloradan’s hours of time and hundreds of gas dollars if you winterize your tires!

Keep a snow and ice scraper in your car

Here in Colorado, wiping off your car with your hands just won't cut it. Keeping a snow scraper in your car is essential to avoid being caught off-guard when the first flakes begin to fall.

Wear sunglasses

Driving in the mountains at dawn or dusk is sure to deliver harsh and dangerous sun glare. Do not forget your shades before embarking! We recommend keeping a pair or "driving glasses" in your car at all times. These Smith glasses will enable high visibility when driving and also keep you looking fresh.

Bring drinking water

When you eventually get stuck in traffic, it’s always nice to have drinking water on hand. We recommend keeping a spare Nalgene in your car so that you’re never left high and dry, literally. ;)

Don’t camp in the left lane

@i70things rightfully criticizes drivers who spend too much time in the left lane. Take their advice and "camp in the mountains, not in the left lane".

By following these simple steps, it is likely that we will prevent accidents across the Colorado Interstates. If you enjoy reading our blog, please enter your email below to keep up-to-date with each new post!


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