Crossing roads with other drivers: Rates of aggressive driving on the rise in Colorado

Colorado State Patrol is urging Coloradans to keep calm on the roads, as more road rage cases are happening.
Aggressive driving rates are up in Colorado
Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 8:16 AM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Angry honking, tailgating, swerving in and out of lanes and confronting other drivers all can count as aggressive driving.

Colorado State Patrol (CSP) officials say that aggressive driving is a broad category and can happen anywhere, anytime. This includes highways, interstates, local roads and even parking lots.

CSP stated in a press release last month that the most common road rage behaviors are:

  • Tailgating
  • Honking in anger
  • Making angry gestures
  • Passing on the right
  • Showing a weapon
  • Excessive speeding
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Getting out of the vehicle to confront another driver

Here in Colorado, inclement weather and bad traffic often lead to road rage, and rates have been on the rise since the pandemic.

According to CSP, 54% of calls their emergency dispatchers answered in 2022 were related to aggressive driving. Over 2021, aggressive reports increased by nearly 5%.

So far in 2023, CSP says about a fourth of the crashes they’ve looked into last month were due to excessive speeding, which is considered aggressive driving.

”It’s never a good thing to to get involved in this,” Master Trooper Gary Cutler, CSP’s Public Information Officer, said. “It’s always the cooler head prevails. And that’s really what we need on the roadways.”

And when the roads are busy but slow, people try to pass on the shoulder. With weather events, such as snow, cars may get stuck on the roads, slowing down highways and interstates.

CSP recommends always giving yourself ample time travel so that you don’t feel rushed and upset.

”People’s tempers do go up on that, and we got calls on that as well,” Cutler told 11 News. “We tried to go in there and help as much as we can. But there are a lot of people on the road, and we can’t always reach them.”

Cutler added that there’s really no reason to cross roads with other drivers, especially since financial and legal consequences can be hefty.

If you hit another vehicle, you’re held responsible, and officials will consider it an intentional act.

You could, according to CSP, get a reckless driving ticket and lose your license.

“We don’t look at that as a crash or an accident,” Master Trooper Cutler explained. “It’s you ramming somebody, and you could, it depending on what injuries, [be charged with] attempted murder, homicide, things like that. So there’s a lot of ramifications for somebody that can’t control their anger and tries to prove something to somebody else on the roadway.”

If you’re the victim of road rage incident, CSP advises you do what’s safest in the moment. You can call 911 right away or try to maintain a safe distance from the aggressive driver.

Never go somewhere isolated, however, in case the driver follows you.

“If you get into a road rage situation, we always say distance is the best thing,” Master Trooper Cutler said.

To report an aggressive driving incident, you can also call 911 or *CSP (277).

It’s helpful to have descriptions of the vehicle and driver, as well as the license plate number.

Cutler says to take your report a step further: “A lot of times what we have to do is, I like to say it’s like a citizen’s arrest. We may not have seen the actions of that person. So it’s going to come down to you if it goes to court. So you’re going to need to be able to identify all of those things, just like if we went into court, when we write a ticket.”