Colorado traffic jam with busses and snow plow Photo Credit: milehightraveler (iStock).

Photo Credit: milehightraveler (iStock).

From the common lack of snow driving skills to inconsistent merging techniques, drivers around Colorado seem to operate under their own 'rules of the road' sometimes. Most won't find it too shocking that a recent ranking puts Coloradans among some of the worst drivers in the United States, based on an analysis that considers the annual number of accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, and citations.

After analyzing more than 2 million insurance quotes, QuoteWizard determined that Colorado drivers are the 3rd worst in the United States, topped only by Wyoming in first and Virginia in second. It's also worth noting that Denver drivers were ranked as the 8th worst among America's big cities in 2019 by the same publication.

RELATED: Theories on why Colorado's drivers are so bad

While the 2020 QuoteWizard analysis might rank Colorado as the third worst state when it comes to driving, this differs quite a bit from another analysis by SmartAsset that considered different factors.

Based on criteria that included percentage of drivers insured, roadway fatalities, and the local frequency of internet search terms like 'traffic ticket,' SmartAsset concluded that Colorado drivers were the 15th worst in the country.

It's no secret among Coloradans that their fellow drivers are often roadway hazards to be wary of. Ideas about why this might be the case include the 'melting pot theory,' overcrowding on roads, and disobedience of traffic laws – Colorado drivers recently ranked the 5th worst in this category.

Do you think Colorado drivers live up to their reputation of being some of the worst in the country? Let us know in the comments.

RELATED: Theories on why Colorado's drivers are so bad

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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(54) comments


Colorado drivers constantly tailgate. They will bully you out of your lane by driving right on your bumper. No regard or care for safety. My husband and I moved out of Colorado. We couldn't take the horrible drivers anymore.


I have been saying this about driving in Colorado so much, that my teen daughter brought this article to my attention. Sadly, I feel it’s like the vehicle changes these nice people into thinking they’re being wronged and therefore they’re going to take what they deserve at everyone else’s expense.

My favorite place to drive is Washington state. Washingtonians live with extremely crowded roads and yet they choose to calm down and let anyone in. And, they notice that we’re all neighbors in a community together!


I believe it is certainly down to the mix of drivers here. People are moving here in droves and the roads don't accommodate the traffic. People come from places with different traffic laws and recognize different customes. Some of the biggest problems I see here are people will not yeild when merging from an intersection, that means if you are taking a right turn and and there is traffic you need to stop and wait for an opening, not force your way in. Another big thing is people pulling out into an intersection and waiting for the light to turn yellow/red to make their left turn, this is straight up running a red light. And people from california don't think they need to stay in the right lane if they are not passing, I know rules vary from state to state but that's a law on highways here. Of course snow is also a big issue but that just had to be learned from experience and tires also make a huge difference, much more than awd.


The worst: CO Drivers with Audi & BMW SUVs, Jeep Cherokees and those brain dead drivers of oversized trucks. As for out of state drivers, FL, GA, CA, TX, IL, NY, NJ. When it comes to these out of state drivers the car is irrelevant. They're all horrible


ok to correct you its the fresh out of state drivers that suck at driving here in colorado. I've lived in colorado my whole life and majority of the people I've seen in accidents or speeding a good 20mph over the posted speed limit are out of state plates. Texans and California drivers are the worst I've seen. yes there are terrible colorado drivers but I have to say it's the outta state drivers that think since they drive an AWD vehicle they can speed around corners and speed on snow/icy roads and bridges and believe they won't lose control. people come to colorado from Texas and its snowing.... obviously their not familiar with driving in snow.


Having been here fifteen years, I can say it is the melting pot theory. We have people from TX and CA primarily then all those from other states and other countries. I was walking one day and almost got hit by a car. I flipped off the driver and he stopped and got out to yell at me. I informed him that pedestrians have ROW at intersections and he informed me he is not from CO and need to get myself straight. LOL and he was driving a vehicle with CO plates at 5:50 in the morning.


Out of state immigrants. Native Coloradans know how to drive on snow and ice. We despise flatlanders from fair weather states that won't either stay off the roads or learn how to drive in adverse conditions. They moved here with legal weed and also think it's ok to drive stoned. Not saying natives don't but...


Wife and I have been here for just over a year. Have to say Colorado drivers are so much better than where we came from. That would be Central New Jersey. To really know how bad a place is to drive looking at citations and insurance does not show the truth. You have to get out and drive there as so much goes on that the police never see or catch. NJ & NY city drivers are the absolute worse I have ever encountered. Born and raised there I became a very defensive driver as so many were bullies and did what ever they wanted to do. I see a lot of kindness in drivers here in NOCO and love the friendly people waving at you, so I now do that to.


I can't drive a mile from my house without seeing road rage, red light running or an accident - and usually all three. Traffic law enforcement in the Denver metro area is non-existent.

The issue is the lack of enforcement and communication. Drivers see no enforcement. The police need to step it up in so offenders know they will get caught. Set up speed traps on a regular basis and start pulling over hordes of speeders. Those new overhead digital signs? Start broadcasting "Stay to the right unless passing" and post spots on TV and radio about it. Flash actual speed of the passing vehicles. Just park an unoccupied police car on the side of the road with a mannequin in it (like Twin Lakes does).

Drivers in the northeast are nuts too, but they are predictable. You will see police patrol, enough to curb obnoxious behavior.


Part of the problem is the guy in the left lane that wants to enforce traffic laws and make the speeder slow down. They call it the fast lane for a reason. Please move over if you're going to just do the speed limit and not a mile an hour over. One of the biggest problems in the Front Range is the timing of the traffic lights and how little time they stay green on the major thoroughfares. I've been to quite a few cities and states in this country in Denver has the most ill-timed and quickest change over from green to red or red to Green. I guess the biggest problem is Denver itself was not built for this many people. And the roads here compared to the suburbs are way too narrow but there is nothing anybody can do about that because the buildings in the houses are so close to the roads you cannot widen them at all. If anybody knows the traffic engineer for the state of Colorado and the City and County of Denver let him know that they are non useful idiots.


Then don't speed! There's a speed limit for a reason. It's not "have it your way." You're endangering others. I drive in the toll lanes daily and I can't tell you how many times some idiot has illegally crossed into the toll lane right in front of me when traffic backs up. If I were going 80 or 90 there would be no way to stop. Slow the F down!


Also recently I had to swerve to avoid a guy who flew across both lanes and was about to hit me. Luckily I had room to get out of his way. Scared the heck out of me, I mean really I nearly had a heart attack, heart was pounding so fast. Never been so scared. Guy was entering the fwy without regard for other cars on the road. My neighbor was run off the road, into a ditch or ravine and she's permanently damaged her leg complete crushed, she is in pain All Of The Time. Hit and run. The guys waited for the ambulance at a distance and then ran just before the paramedics got there while my friend lay in the ditch.


Aggressive drivers who drive up your tailpipe if you don't drive over the speedimit enough. I will usually drive a little bit over if not paying attention and still that isn't fast enough. Since people want to drive 85 mph and will fishtail behind you if you don't join their frenzied state. One guy was so bad I just laid on my horn until he stopped. There was no one else driving around us too and he had plenty of room, dang, Trucked Again. This intimidation and abuse won't be stood for. If HWY patrol doesn't help get this under control I'll repeat my tactic and draw attention to your crime and stupidity. If this is you you've been warned if not there's nothing to say. People with their poor dogs in the back of the truck so if they get into an accident the dogs are probably goners. Smoke stacks that billow out black smoke just for effect. Please grow up.


I'm *shocked* that all the comments are old "natives" whining about transplants. Seems anything not perfect is the transplants fault. Lol. Besides this... I'm not entirely sure how a "native" can tell which CO license plate is a transplant and which isn't, but curmudgeon "natives" won't let that get in the way of a good whine.

I've lived in 5 different states (PA IL, CT, AK, CO) CO drivers are the worst. Hands down. Can't merge into the highway at all. CO drivers seem to think it's the job of the people already on the highway to slow down and accommodate their merging, even if they've only accelerated to 40 mph. They can't drive on side streets in the city. Don't know how wide their vehicle actually is. Only place I've ever driven where people willingly drive below the speed limit on the highway. Seriously people!?! 50 mph in 65 on I-25. None of these behaviors are those of the stereotypical CA driver behavior either, by the way.

But it's all Californians fault. And the wildfires are Californians fault, too!!! Lol.


Yes. True. I am a native 71 years and before me family. So combined over 120 years. I have seen this beautiful a quiet state invaded and don't have a problem with a mass exodus. Saying in the 70s not to Californicate CO was real. The problem today is that many who move here cannot drive in the snow and the idiots who claim they are natives drive like maniacs. We have too many people for the roads previous leaders failed to plan for expansion. It took fights for C470 and Eisenhower and Johnson tunnels while they worked in 1973 cannot support the traffic of today. And while I sm at it, can you numskulls respect our beautiful federal and state lands? Native or not. Just stop moving here.


If we didn't so many idiots and California's moving here we wouldn't be on any list. So please move back!


Colorado drivers have always been very courteous. It wasnt until about 10 years ago when our beautiful state was invaded by swarms of Californians. They had to learn to drive on aggressive highways and they brought their bad behaviors with them. But it also depends on who you ask because now young Colorado drivers are learning and getting their drivers licences and because our roads have become so hostile and aggressive, that is how they will learn too. It will only continue to get worse. Plus the median age in Denver are millenials who are just rude in general and that is why insurance is more expensive for the younger generation.


Sorry for driving on your lawn. Lol.


Maybe the drivers in my home state, Colorado, are so bad because the roads in our state are a disaster. The streets in the cities are worse.

We pay extra to have road work done. So in Canon City they tore up six blocks of a city street. replaced the infrastructure buried under the street. So the street had to be completely re-done. And the whole project got paid out of the "road" funds. HUH?

Then, our state undertakes a project like the "gap", between Colorado Springs and Castle Rock. In the power business when we did a plant overhaul its often 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in order to get the power plant back on line. How come this large projects, that totally disrupt traffic, aren't worked 24 hours a day to get them done a whole lot faster?


It isn't the natives who can't drive. I daily drove a Corvette in Vail for years. It's all the transplants moving here. when you see a car flipped on its lid in the ditch, you can almost bet it will have California plates, Texas plates, or "red plates". (Not trying to put down Texas folks. Super friendly bunch, just can't drive in snow or through roundabouts)


I hate to admit it, but we moved from California several years ago. We live in berthoud but still experience a lot of rude drivers. Speed, yes. California stops (just slowing at stop signs), yes. Tailgating, yes. I set my cruise control to the speed limit and can watch drivers a mile back catch up and tailgate. I've learned to ignore those drivers. It's the same just about everywhere even though it wasn't like this in colorado when we moved here. Definitely the influx of newbies from other states. One nice thing...I almost never hear a horn. Maybe 3 in my entire time here. The first one I heard here was at a 4 way stop when the woman in front of me honked because the person to her left had not moved in "the required" 2 seconds. As the bunker drove away I looked and sure enough....California license plate.

Highways are bad here with groups of speeders, way over the speed limit. And Express they ever give tickets to those single person cars in the express lanes? In California you can buy your way into the carpool lanes, but those lanes are becoming congested, too, now. Please don't let colorado be overtaken by newbies from other states.


Newbie from another state whining about newbies from another state. Someone is trying to get on the "natives" good side


i am a colorado native. I am 36 years old. i have never lived in another state but i do feel that drivers in Colorado are horrible, horrible drivers! They lack the common sense when it comes to driving. i mean we all know that driving is mostly common sense and i agree 100% that they definitely make their own rules of the road. It's pretty ridiculous i think. i have been driving for 18 years and have only had a total of 4 tickets. 2 were for speeding and one was for following too close behind a car. i can't remember what the other one was for but I've never had any tickets for accidents or anything stupid. i can say that i know I'm a good driver because i don't lack common sense when it comes to anything in life really!


I moved to Colorado from Tennessee. I Learned to Drive in Memphis. That city has remained on the worst drivers list for decades. drivers in Colorado are not much different from the awful drivers in Memphis Tennessee. Seems like anyone who should wish to get a Colorado driver's license or driver's license in any state really should be administered much more stringent testing including a stringent and mandatory over the road driving test.


I totally agree.


I love all the "I've only ever lived in CO, but despite my lack of anything to compare it to, I know we're the best drivers, it's those guldern Californians who ruined everything*"

And they mean everything. Their toast was burnt this morning, and there's a Californian to blame!


I grew up in SE Michigan and learned to drive in snow and a lot of ice. Winter was from November to May when I grew up. We had ice storms that left everything coated. LOTS of black ice to deal with. Slid off the road twice due to conditions in my life or others slamming on brakes because they were not paying attention. I know how to drive in the winter. It's not that hard, just use common sense, spacing and speed reduction. PAY ATTENTION and PUT THE PHONE AWAY!

Since cannabis has been "pioneered" here in Colorado, the population has exploded. There are now MANY drivers from different states who call CO home, that CANNOT drive. AT ALL. I wonder how they got their licenses?! We are near the four corners and mostly people from NM, AZ and UT are the worst. I wonder where all the BAD Colorado drivers are from originally?

In the last three years I've driven many miles across the country and it's clear the bad drivers are not just here, they're nationwide. It's scary to have a speed limit set (legally) at 70-75mph and I happily drive along in the slow lane.

PittieLvr? I own a gun for my protection. Pretty much everyone has a camera. There are some crazies out there, and a lot of them don't know how to drive, but think they own the road.


4 paragraphs of run on sentences


Four paragraphs of "my state"

Closes with "other people" this I they own something that's not theirs.



I have lived in Colorado my entire life but have traveled extensively across the country and around the world. It is clear that driving skills have eroded over the past decade. Poor planning has resulted in overcrowded roads, maintenance is poor and everything is always under construction. Drivers get frustrated and drive too fast and carelessly. No one knows how to merge or us a signal.. Add to that legalized pot, driving while texting, and drivers from out of state (California and Arizona) who have no idea how to drive on snow and ice, or people who never or rary drive (New York) and you have issues..


Are you frustrated???


Literally anything wrong with CO is "the transplants" fault.

Apparently I showed up too late. 15 years ago everything was perfect. Just as a "native". Lol


I routinely see not one or two, but four or more people that keep going after their light turns red. Turn signals are rarely used. Whipping around people that are driving the speed limit, or close to it, is the norm. I had had three people run into me in the past a speeder blowing a light, one texting, one not realizing that five of us were actually stopped for a light. Yikes.. Where is traffic enforcement? I'm getting a dash cam for protection too.


Certainly has become much worse since covid. When the light turns green I look both ways twice to be sure all the cross traffic has stopped.


No you don't. You saw that once or twice. And now the confirmation bias has set in.

Skip Schweiss

I've lived here 36 years, and agree with the comment above that driving has gotten noticeably worse in the past 5 or so years. While there's no way I can prove cause-and-effect, the timing does seem to coincide with our legalization of marijuana - and being first in the nation to do so on a recreational basis - and the resulting flood of young adults into CO. It now seems that the average speed is 10-15mph over the limit. Stop signs and red lights are routinely ignored especially on right turns. Turn signal use is optional. And when I back off to allow someone to shift into my lane ahead of me, I almost never get a 'thank you' wave any more. Seems trivial, but it tells me a lot.


Marijuana bad because kids grow up


I've lived here for 60 years. Population has exploded with most of the roads ( except denver metro area) unable to handle the capacity. These obsolete roads make people crazy. And stupid inconsiderate drivers from everywhere are the problem.


Out of curiosity do you support legalization? I find most things "wrong" with CO are because of pot if you ask people who didnt want it legalized.

PS - You've illustrated in your comment that you don't know how to merge or change lanes properly. Your job is to maintain a safe speed and be predictable - not to slow down so that you can feel self-righteous when someone doesn't think you're as swell a guy as you think you are for letting them merge (Also how do you know they're changing lanes if they don't use a signal? Hmmm.) But it's all the *transplants* fault!!!! Lol


I live in Cortez and the big problem with the traffic here is that there is no law enforcement. People speed, run red lights, run stop signs and just ignore traffic laws all together. No one ever gets pulled over. I was told once by my attorney in Polk County, Mo. that they had the most worthless law enforcement in the country there. Well they were wrong because they had just never been to Cortez. I have my doubts as to weather these city police can even read or write.


Your attorney is from

Missouri but practices law in Colorado?


Have you ever heard of a lawyer named Frank Azar?


I would like to know if there has been any simple comparison of population size tied to the study criteria. You know do the rankings follow the growth in population. If Colorado really are worse than any other city, I would also like to know if our legalization of marijuana has had anything to do with it.


I've been here for over 19 years and in the last 5 years the traffic has increased dramatically and it's gotten worse. I own a camera for my protection. The amount of bad drivers has increased over the years. Accidents are up on our roads. They use CDOT, CSP, and Insurance data to determine this.


All of the California immigrants drive like they are on the LA Freeways. We don't have the huge fines that they do in California to discourage violators.


Since when as an American citizen moving from state to state is an immigrant?


Over more than 30 years I drive well over 500k miles in California. Í never had to avoid a single wrong way driver. Since moving to CO almost 12 years ago I've had to avoid several each year. It's not California drivers, and the data proves it. Every transplant I know agrees Colorado drivers have zero clue what they're doing.


I don't know or care where they are from but they seem to mostly be men in trucks without brains


Colorado is a state!?


Try driving in LA or NYC or Chicago or Philadelphia

No where in CO compares traffic wise. And having driven all of those other places, I can confirm, Colorado drivers are the worst.

It's not transplants. It's not pot. It's bad drivers. Many of whom were born in this amazing state.




I beg to differ proud. Californians and people from the southern states do not know how to drive in an inch of snow let alone wet roads. I've also driven and all those places and the reason for their traffic is just too many cars on the road like Colorado is experiencing now. At least most people in Colorado know how to use a turn signal. Have a nice day and stay safe on the roads.


I forgot one thing anytime there's a curve coming up everybody has to stop on I-25. For some reason they are afraid of Curves on the highway and have to slam on the brakes which drives me insanely batty.


Another prudent move by smart drivers is to slow down when you come to a curve if you can't see what's around the corner. What is there's an accident and you come up on a sea of brake lights? Hasn't that ever happened to you. Where did you learn to drive?

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