PI Editorial: Take an extra minute … two, three … whatever it takes, just please slow the heck down
The frustrations are vented by motorists almost daily on public social media groups such as Roaring Fork Road and Weather and local law enforcement channels.
That’s because it’s become a near daily occurrence for a bad accident on Interstate 70 or Colorado 82 to shut down a critical section of roadway, sometimes for hours on end.
And, in the tight valleys, deep canyons and winding mountain passes of west-central Colorado, that often means there’s no way around it.
Face it, you’re stuck until things clear.
For our part in the news business, even if we don’t report on every single non-injury or minor-injury traffic incident, we will do our best to inform readers of any area highway closures and follow up to find out what happened to cause the closure in the first place.
But, we have to say it’s really getting out of hand out there on our area highways.
Whether it’s locals just trying to get to their job or an appointment in the neighboring town, a traveler passing through trying to get from point A to point B, or commercial truckers trying to keep a schedule and make that next delivery, too many of us seem to be in too big a hurry.
The consequences can range from devastating, as too often serious injuries or death results, to just plain inconvenient, a First World problem compared to the former.
So, here we are again asking everyone out there on the highways, regardless of your purpose, to please slow it down, pay attention and help yourself and those around you to get there safely.
A few years ago, the neighborhood group Imagine Glenwood launched its “Take a Minute — Slow Down in Town” campaign. The effort has grown from yard signs placed around town reminding people to take it slow, to that same message now being occasionally displayed on electronic road signs along I-70 and Highway 82.
The concept is simple. Imagine Glenwood did some research and determined that the time saved by driving 10 mph over the posted 25 mph speed limit along Grand Avenue/Highway 82 through town shaves just about a minute off the time to get from one end of Glenwood to the other.
The same is true out on the highways. How often do you pass someone or get passed yourself by someone going well over the posted speed limit — only to find yourself sitting right next to the same vehicle at the next stop light?
Speeding might make it feel like you’re saving time, but realistically it just doesn’t add up to a worthwhile endeavor. If rushing to get somewhere is the objective, you might want to consider better time management on the front end, instead.
Every lane change to get around that vehicle going the speed limit, or even 5-10 mph over the limit in many cases, is a disaster waiting to happen.
Knock it off.
Given the rapid rise in fuel costs of late, you’ll also be surprised how much money you’re saving just by following the speed limit and not trying to get to 65 in 10 seconds from the stoplight.
When it comes to commercial trucks losing it on the highways — as was the situation in at least three recent multiple-hour I-70 closures — it’s hard to know what to chalk it up to.
We’re still awaiting final accident reports on those incidents and will report on it when that information becomes available.
But we have to ask, is it speeding, inattentive driving, inexperienced drivers, lack of proper signage warning of sharp curves and other mountain road dangers?
It’s probably a little bit of all of the above.
In any case, it’s good reason for our state highway safety and law enforcement officials to step it up in terms of keeping the roads safe.
What we’ve observed as a common denominator in most of these recent highway incidents is excessive speed, especially through Glenwood and South canyons, limited signage warning truckers about the turns, both cars and trucks darting from lane to lane and ignoring what signage there is, and fewer state troopers out there policing things.
This behavior by motorists and this apparent lack of consistent response from our state agencies must change.
The Post Independent editorial board members are Publisher Bryce Jacobson, Editor Peter Baumann, Managing Editor/Senior Reporter John Stroud, and community representatives Amy Connerton and Karl Oelke.
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