Denver, CO

How bad are Colorado drivers? Study ranks state in the bottom 10

Sara B. Hansen

By Sara B. Hansen / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) This news won't surprise Colorado drivers who travel Interstates 25 or 70. Coloradans spend too much time sitting in traffic.

A new Wallethub study ranks Colorado at 44 after comparing 31 metrics to determine the best and worst states for driving.

Here's how Colorado ranked:

  • 50th for car thefts
  • 37th for gas prices
  • 35th for auto-maintenance costs
  • 33rd for rush-hour traffic jams
  • 33rd for road quality
  • 32nd for car dealerships per capita
  • 19th for repair shops per capita

Wallethub says U.S. drivers spent an average of 36 hours sitting in traffic during 2021. That's down by 63 hours from pre-pandemic levels.

According to Wallethub, the worst states for driving:

  • 50: Hawaii
  • 49: Rhode Island
  • 48: Delaware
  • 47: California
  • 46: Maryland

The best states for driving:

  • 1: Iowa
  • 2: Oklahoma
  • 3: Kansas
  • 4: North Carolina
  • 5: Texas
While Colorado drivers enjoy scenic routes, they also have to cope with snow and ice. And when the weather warms up, the potholes sprout.

Seat belt use below national average

Colorado drivers fall below the national average for seatbelt use, 86 percent to 90 percent. And men are less likely than women to buckle up.

"Colorado State Troopers responded to more serious injury, and fatality crashes involving improper use or no use of seatbelts with our male drivers between the ages of 20 to 39 than any other group," said Matthew C. Packard, Colorado State Patrol chief.

Troopers issued more than 14,590 seatbelt citations in 2021. Of those drivers, 3,780 were women, and 10,810 were men.

Winter driving

Colorado drivers also tend to drive too fast for conditions and fail to ensure they have the proper equipment for snow and ice.

But despite Colorado's Slow Down Move Over Law, six drivers struck crash responder vehicles on Interstate 70 from Dec. 25 through Dec. 27.

In five of the six crashes, passing vehicles stuck the first responders' vehicles that stopped while investigating other crashes.

"Road conditions can change in an instant, and drivers need to be prepared to stop or navigate difficult conditions," Packard said.

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Sara is the Denver news manager for NewsBreak. She's held editing roles at The Denver Post, The Des Moines Register, and The Fort Collins Coloradoan.

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