When Road Etiquette Goes Out the Window

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(COLO) – Colorado roadways see heavy volume every season throughout the year, which only underscores the importance of sharing the road and following simple rules. Yet, based on data from the Colorado State Patrol (2019 – August 2022), aggressive driving is the top reason drivers commit lane violations  - with the only exception being inexperience behind the wheel. Lane violations have proven to be particularly deadly and were deemed the top causal factor for injury and fatal crashes investigated by Colorado State Troopers in 2022.

Lane violations can be anything from switching lanes in an unsafe manner, driving too close to the center line and crossing over, or likewise driving too close to the exterior lane line and crossing over.

“While many of us have been saying that driving in Colorado has gotten very unpleasant since the pandemic and fellow motorists seem more reckless than ever, we now see a consistent and disappointing trend with our data,” stated Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Driving etiquette seems to have gone out the window and it’s time for drivers to bring it back before their aggressive behaviors result in a citation or worse, a horrible crash.” 

Since it may have been two, ten, twenty or more years since you received your driver’s license, the Colorado State Patrol wants to offer their top five driving etiquette rules for all of us to follow:

  1. Use the shoulder only for emergencies – never use the shoulder to weave through traffic, by pass a line to merge again into the lane, eat or go through paperwork, etc.
  2. Don’t tailgate – leave space between you and the car in front of you, it's not only rude, but it could also cause a crash if the driver needs to stop quickly.
  3. Let others merge – courteous driving consists of allowing other motorists to merge into traffic or to get off a highway, by giving them some space to do that safely. Also, practice alternating (zipper merging) in congested areas.
  4. Don’t drive if you are distracted – the only thing you should be focused on while driving is the road. Weaving across a lane line, inconsistent braking or speed, and failing to respond to changing traffic lights due to distraction impacts other motorists around you.
  5. Don’t respond to aggressive drivers – while tempting to react to an aggressive motorist, take a deep breath and just don’t. Give yourself space from an angry or aggressive driver.

Troopers continue to take a low-tolerance approach to lane violations while launching a yearlong campaign called “Stay in Your Lane.” This campaign is designed to remind people to control their lane position based on their current driving environment. This campaign also aims to bring attention to three of the most common and avoidable behaviors that contribute to lane violations – driving aggressively, driving distracted or driving while impaired.


Since our origin in 1935, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) has focused on preserving human life and protecting property within our communities. Our 1,100 members embody the core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect in their daily jobs.  In addition to our expertise in motor vehicle safety on the state’s roadways, the CSP is responsible for the Governor and other dignitaries’ protection, commercial motor vehicle enforcement, hazardous materials, homeland security, communications, investigative services, criminal interdiction, community education, aviation operations, and more.