How Commercial Drivers Can Help Keep Denver’s Roads Safe

A gif of highway traffic increasing from 2014 to 2017
A gif showing the increase in Denver’s highway traffic from 2014 – 2017.

Since 2011, fatalities on Colorado roads and highways have steadily gone up each year. This is due in part to the increasing amount of cars and commercial drivers on the road, along with the surge in population. In 2011, there were 447 fatalities compared to 2017 which saw 648 deaths. Three-fourths of the way through 2018 and it looks as if the year will easily surpass 2017 numbers.

While there is no one easy answer to address the problem, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is taking what action they can. There are numerous projects going on around the city at any given time. The ground was just broken on the much needed I-25 South Gap project which will address I-25 from Castle Rock to Monument at a cost of $350 million. The project is expected to take three years to complete.

Denver Highway Traffic by the Years

In 2014, I-25 from Centennial through Denver and up to almost Thornton saw an annual average of daily traffic over 250,000 cars. The only other area that came close during that year was I-70 near the Stapleton/Northfield area.

During 2015 those numbers increased and more highway stretches saw increasing traffic. What had started in Centennial now backed up all the way to Lone Tree, through Denver, and past Thornton. Traffic increased on all major highways, including the Stapleton/Northfield area along I-70.

In 2016 the trend continued. Traffic from the South now began to start long before Lone Tree, closer to Castle Rock, through Denver, but now well into the Northglenn area of I-25. There was also a notable increase in traffic on I-70 near Arvada on up to the Youngfield Road exit in Wheat Ridge.

The trend would continue into 2017 with traffic starting on I-25 in Castle Rock and heading all the way north to the Erie exit, just over a 50 mile stretch of highway along the front range. I-70 would see more increases near the Stapleton/Northfield area, an increased amount near the I-25 and I-70 exchange, and a significant increase in the amount of cars traveling on I-270 from Denver to Westminster.

Commercial Drivers and the Impact on the Denver Area

Commercial drivers are a crucial component to today’s society. Not only do they transport food for us, but they keep the country moving by delivering a wide range of goods for us across town and across the country. Driving on the roads today is not for the faint of heart. Commercial drivers must stay alert, understand traffic flows, know how to avoid accidents, and keep on a tight schedule when things don’t always go as planned.

Semi trucks are more dangerous than cars for a few reasons. They are larger in size and weight and the engine alone is six times bigger than a car engine. A tractor trailer can weigh in at almost 40 tons compared to the much smaller car that weighs around two and a half tons. Considering the weight of the truck alone, it takes more than 40 percent additional time to break than a car does.

4 Safety Tips for Commercial Drivers

So what are some ways to protect yourself and other drivers on the road? Start with some of the safety tips below and you will drastically drop your chances of an accident, whether you’re driving in Denver or over the road for the long haul.

1 – Cover Your Load

It’s not uncommon to see semi trucks with stickers on the back that say STAY BACK 200 FEET, DRIVER NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR BROKEN WINDSHIELDS. However, the truth is that the driver IS responsible for anything he is carrying. These stickers may fool some of the public, but law enforcement knows better. To ensure the safety of all drivers and to keep costs down, always cover your load.


2 – Consider the Weather

Driving in Denver can change from one hour to the next. It’s not uncommon to be driving in sunshine and then be in the middle of a snowstorm an hour later. This can mean hazardous roads at any time, so understand the conditions you’re driving in. One of the worst things for semi drivers is wind. Colorado is known to have high winds especially out on the plains during various times of the year and it’s not uncommon to hear of a semi getting blown over.

3 – Distracted Driving

Everyone has seen the many people still talking or texting away on their cell phones as they drive, even though it is illegal in Colorado. It’s estimated that one in four accidents is caused by distracted driving. In 2015 alone, more than 3,477 traffic deaths were due to distracted driving in the U.S. If you must make a call, find a rest area or use a hands-free device.

4 – Your Health

Being on the road can often mean stopping for fast food, after all, you’ve got deadlines to meet. But repeatedly eating poorly means your health will pay for it. Fast food and sugary soda drinks can wreak havoc on the body and cause fatigue to set in faster than it should. Avoiding unhealthy foods will not only improve your health, but increase your safety on the road. Sleep is another important factor. It can be hard to determine when an accident is caused by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel, but it’s believed that over 800 deaths each year are due to a sleepy driver. It’s important for any driver to get between seven and eight hours of sleep every night to ensure maximum alertness while on the road.

Finding an Attorney for a Commercial Driver Accident in Denver, Colorado

If you sustained catastrophic injuries in a commercial driver accident, it is in your best interest to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Donaldson Law, LLC helps 18 wheeler accident victims in Denver County and the surrounding areas of Boulder County, Jefferson County, Adams County, and Arapahoe County.  Jennifer Donaldson is an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer who will listen to the facts of your situation and make every effort to help you recover damages from your commercial vehicle accident. Call 303-458-5000 or submit an online form for a consultation about your accident with a semi-truck in Denver today.