Ignorance Is No Defense: Colorado Driving Laws You May Not Be Aware Of
In Colorado, the word on the street is “reasonable and prudent,” meaning that motorists are not to drive faster than what is considered safe under existing road conditions. Speed limits are posted, lanes are marked, and traffic signals are self-explanatory, but there are some traffic laws that may not be quite as well known to all motorists, yet they are obliged to follow them.
- Left turn on red. You can make a left turn on a red light in Colorado from a one-way street to another one-way street after making a full stop.
- When entering a roundabout, a driver is required to yield to traffic already in the roundabout.
- Turn signaling. Drivers are required by law to signal continuously for 100 feet before a turn in urban areas, and 200 feet if they are traveling faster than 40 mph.
- No parking is allowed within 30 feet of a stop sign, traffic signal, railroad crossing, on a bridge, in a tunnel, or within 15 feet of a fire hydrant.
- Passing on the right is legal when there are two or more lanes of traffic moving in one direction. Passing on the shoulder is illegal.
- High beams. Drivers are required to dim their lights within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle or when following a vehicle within 200 feet.
- Steep roads. When driving on a one-lane, steep grade road, the vehicle going downhill is required to yield to the vehicle travelling uphill.
- Cars involved in an accident on a freeway. Drivers who are involved in a car accident on a freeway or expressway in which no injuries were sustained are required by law to move their vehicles out of lanes of traffic, as long as the vehicles are driveable and drugs or alcohol were not involved. They are not required to wait for the police to arrive at the scene of the accident before they move the vehicles.
- Cell phone use. Texting while driving is against the law, and drivers under 18 years of age are prohibited from using cell phones at all while driving.
- Emergency and maintenance vehicles. When there are two or more lanes in one direction of travel, drivers are required to move left for emergency or maintenance vehicles parked on the shoulder. If there is only one lane of travel, drivers are required to slow down and use due care and caution when passing a stopped emergency or maintenance vehicle.
- Wildlife zones. Many roads in the state of Colorado garner higher fines in the fall and winter and feature lower speed limits at night to help reduce wildlife collisions.
And one more: According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, over 20 percent of recreational marijuana users don’t realize that they can be cited for driving under the influence of marijuana. Approximately one of every eight traffic citations issued in 2014 by the Colorado State Patrol for impaired driving involved suspected marijuana use, adding fuel to an ongoing debate about whether Colorado’s legalization of marijuana has made the state’s roads less safe.
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