10 types of drivers you’ll encounter on I-70 in Colorado

Traffic on I-70. Photo Credit: milehightraveler (iStock).

Traveling Colorado’s I-70 can be quite the experience, especially during ski season. Here are a few of the most notable drivers you’ll encounter on the road.

1. The Ski Bum-mobile

Easily recognizable by the number of skis ratcheted to the top of the car, every seat of this vehicle is occupied by a slightly sleepy, yet super stoked individual. See those grins turn to sadness as the I-70 traffic starts to slow down their approach to the ski hill. Bonus points if this group is spotted in a Subaru.

2. The Careless Truck Driver

Of course, all truck drivers aren’t reckless, however, I-70 seems to attract its fair share of unpredictable big rig operators. With steep grades, numerous turns, and wild weather, I-70 can be a dangerous road for all vehicles, including commercial truck drivers. It’s easy to see why runaway ramps are found along the side of this mountain highway.

3. The Person from the Plains

This person has never driven on a high-speed mountain road before, thus they’re incredibly timid. You’ll spot them driving well below the speed limit, often giving a look of shock and awe to drivers that pass them at the posted speed. Usually, they’ll have an out-of-state license plate, traveling to Colorado from somewhere flat like Kansas or Texas. Give them some slack and avoid crowding these drivers. Keep in mind that they’re probably nervous and remember that we were all once novice drivers on mountain roads.

4. The Speed Demon

In contrast to the “person from the plains,” this driver seems to believe that they’re one part Jeff Gordon and another part Ricky Bobby. They’ll blast past fellow drivers regardless of the road conditions, utilizing moves that seem to indicate insanity. Posing a deadly risk to themselves and other drivers on the road, avoid being this person. Drive the speed limit and follow the posted rules to keep us all a little safer.

5. The Beater Car

Its engine is smoking. Its brakes are squealing. The tires aren’t even close to the traction law requirements. Frankly, it’s somewhat of a miracle that this car is capable of traveling Colorado’s mountainous stretch of I-70 at all. But it does, zipping along despite slow crawls to the speed limit and the trail of odd smells it leaves behind.

6. The Barreling Tour Bus

Similar to the “careless truck driver,” the barreling tour bus also seems to travel in an unpredictable fashion, albeit filled with often oblivious customers anxious to get to the slopes. Toss snowy roads into the mix and it’s easy to see how things could get dicey. Pass with care.

7. The Amateur Photographer

Watch out for a swerve when passing a vehicle controlled by a very distracted driver. Typically operated by someone that feels compelled to take photos of every scenic views along the I-70 mountain corridor, this driver is unpredictable. They’ll often drift out of their lane and their speed will vary greatly. If you want to take photos, hop into the passenger seat or stop at an official pull-over spot.

8. The Snow-Driving Novice

This driver unfortunately made the assumption that they’d quickly pick up the skill of technical winter weather driving on one of the slickest, fastest, and most technical stretches of interstate in the United States. They’ll likely be afraid and driving well below the speed of the vehicles that seem to be closing in around them, frequently yelling at their passengers to stay quiet so that they can concentrate. They’ll never be more relieved than when they finally reach the ski hill parking lot… until they realize they’ve still got to drive back home.

It's not just winter weather, either. This type of driver can also appear during summer downpours and hailstorms.

9. The Road Rager

Interstate 70 never seems to have a moment of smooth traffic these days and some people really let that get to them. We get it. No one likes to be stuck in traffic for hours on end while road conditions worsen and the highway essentially becomes a large parking lot. These massive delays could literally lead to a life or death situation ( keep these items in your trunk). That being said, don't take it out on other drivers that are in the exact same boat, also annoyed and also frustrated. Don’t be like the Amazon truck driver that beat someone in the head with a tire thumper in I-70 lanes during a road rage incident of December 2019.

10. The Overly Cautious Driver

This driver follows the rules. They stay in their lane. They go the speed limit. Their tires meet all state requirements and their trunk is filled with life-saving essentials if the worst happens during winter travel. Though frustrating to speeders, there’s nothing wrong with being this driver. They help to set the pace on I-70 and act as a baseline for traffic while chaos ensues around them.

Which driver are you? Did we leave a type of stereotypical I-70 driver off of our list? Let us know in the comments below.

Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee is OutThere Colorado's Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to hike, rock climb, and trail run. He's on a mission to summit all 58 of Colorado's fourteeners and has already climbed more than half.


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(1) comment


The Telluride airport is no big deal-if you had flown into Lukla airport (Nepal Himalayas about 7,500’) where, until recently there was only a dirt runway,to actually see in between clouds to weave between the foothills to have visual contact with the runway; now, that was terrifying! 𝐖𝐰𝐰.Pays99.𝐜𝐨𝐦

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