The Most Dangerous Roads in Colorado

Colorado is well-known for its glorious highlands, alpine villages, and skiing resorts. Still, several dangerous roads in Colorado are prone to accidents. The weather conditions on some of these roads make them even more dangerous. In addition, speeding or reckless driving on these roads can increase the chances of a severe accident. On this page, we have highlighted some of the most dangerous roads in Colorado and why you should contact a Colorado car accident lawyer if you suffer an accident on them.

Colorado 2021 Traffic Fatalities
Source: https://www.codot.gov/safety/traffic-safety-pulse/2022/january/data-corner

Denver Beltway

The Denver Beltway is notorious for being a car accident magnet, and that could be because of the lack of guardrails on the road. Yet, this road is popular with tourists and locals alike.

Denver is one of the most densely populated cities in Colorado, which means you should expect a lot of heavy traffic if you plan on driving through the Beltway. The road can be very steep at certain points, posing more risk to the drivers; however, it is not long at 27 miles total distance. Drivers should pay extra attention when it rains or snows, as the road can get slippery.

Front Range Corridor

The I-25 Corridor, also known as the Front Range Corridor, is one of the most dangerous roads in the state. It is approximately 200 miles long and bisects the state of Colorado. Since the highway passes through at least 80% of the entire state’s population, it is no wonder that the road is typically busy, especially from the north of Fort Collins.

Although the highway has a 75 mph speed limit, that might be too high considering the design of the road and the number of vehicles operating on the route. Reckless driving, excessive speed, and congestion are all factors that can contribute to car accidents. That could be why 200 fatalities were recorded on the Front Range Corridor in the last four years.

Southern Passage

Highway 160 covers the southern side of Colorado. This road is also known as the Southern Passage. The road includes plenty of tight turns and elevations going as high as 10,857 feet. Driving at these elevations during winter poses more threats to drivers. In addition, the Southern Passage is notorious for the most recorded DUI arrests, over 80 fatal accidents, and is nationally ranked 32nd in fatalities resulting from DUI.

Image Of A Highway

The Million Dollar Highway

The U.S. Highway 550 is approximately 10,000 feet high. It is also known as the Red Mountain Pass or the Million Dollar Highway. The highway has stunning views, but it would be perilous to enjoy them while driving because of the steep roads. The road is about 25 miles long and is a shortcut to avoid driving through the cities of Silverton and Ouray.

Although the Colorado Department of Transportation strives to maintain this highway throughout the winter, the persistent icy conditions can still impact its safety. In addition, this road has a limited amount of guardrails, making it more dangerous to drive through, especially with the steep cliffs. Even a slight weather change can make the road significantly more dangerous.

Resort Gateway

Like most routes, the Resort Highway can be high-risk during the winter, especially because it has several twisting turns and steep grades. Typically, people headed toward ski resorts use this highway because it is the primary road from Denver, so it can get congested when it snows.

Car accidents are common on this road as the elevations are very steep from the starting point in Denver. The route takes around 90 minutes to cross, but it can effectively turn into a 3-hour drive during summer because it is used for interstate and local travel. The whiteout conditions in winter are not any better because driving at 55 mph can be hazardous.

Pikes Peak Highway

The Pikes Peak Highway is right outside Colorado Springs and has a summit of 14,115 ft. It offers some breathtaking views of Colorado but is also one of the most dangerous roads in the country. The entire route evolves from winding and long turns to tight ones. Like other dangerous roads in Colorado, the Pikes Peak Highway also lacks adequate guardrails, making it more hazardous for drivers to take turns on steep cliffs.

The best way to travel this route is to drive slowly, limiting the risk of accidents or unpredictable road conditions. There is also a temperature checkpoint for brakes after you have descended halfway through the mountain. Brakes tend to heat up with excessive use, and as a result, they can underperform.

Rabbit Ears Pass

The Rabbit Ears Pass can get a lot of snow during the winter. However, it is still one of the state’s most famous spots for hikers. It is approximately 9,426 ft in elevation and has particularly steep drop-offs that can make it dangerous for drivers to operate their vehicles. It connects Steamboat Springs and Kremmling and covers 56 square miles.

Mount Evans Scenic Byway

Mount Evans Scenic Byway is one of the few mountains with a paved access road that leads tourists as high as 14,000 ft. It is a massive tourist attraction, but the byway also features huge cliff drops with narrow roads. In addition, drivers should be on the lookout for inclement weather because the absence of guardrails makes driving more challenging.

Anyone traveling the Mount Evans Scenic Byway should also be on the lookout for wildlife. Although the route is shut down during winter to prevent serious accidents, it can be just as dangerous in summer with more vehicles and crossing wildlife.

Imogene Pass

People traveling south from Ouray to Telluride typically access this pass to reach the renowned skiing resorts, but driving on the Imogene Pass can be tricky. This route is known to be very narrow at certain points, and if that is not enough of a challenge, it also has an elevation of 13,000 ft. In addition, a large part of the route has high winds and icy roads, making it a tough drive.

Loveland Pass – Highway 6

During winter, most people prefer taking Highway 6 to go to the mountains rather than being stuck in traffic on I-70. It is a 17.5-mile round trip and approximately 11,990 ft high. The highway has many steep and narrow turns, which is challenging for most drivers. As a result, accidents and traffic jams are common on the Loveland Pass.

Common Causes of Accidents On Dangerous Roads

  • Distracted Driving: There is no room for distracted driving on icy, narrow, mountain roads. Distracted driving often results in severe injuries as the driver may not react in time to reduce the impact of the collision.
  • DUI: a drunk driver is the biggest threat to all road users, and that threat is elevated when the weather and road conditions are challenging.
  • Speeding and Reckless Driving: Many highways have a speed limit to ensure safe driving, and any driver who does not comply is at an increased risk of a car accident.

Car Accident On A HighwayHow to Drive On a Dangerous Road?

Regular Inspection of the Vehicle 

Regular vehicle inspection can help you identify any components or systems that need attention. Safety-related components, such as brakes and lights need extra attention if you drive on dangerous roads.

You should also regularly check the tire pressure, as underinflation or overinflation can be hazardous. You should also keep a roadside emergency kit with you in case of any inconvenience. If you don’t carry the tools or have the experience to inspect your vehicle, it is best to get assistance from a professional mechanic.

Plan Your Route Carefully

Avoiding certain dangerous roads in inclement weather can save you from accidents. A longer route might be safer in those cases. Weather in Colorado can be unpredictable, but it helps to check the forecast before leaving. In addition, some roads in Colorado might not have cell phone coverage. This means that if you get involved in an accident or get lost, you might not be able to contact anyone for help.

Maintain Distance 

If there is traffic, maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. Icy and slippery roads can lead to accidents, so it is best to keep your vehicle at a safe distance that gives you enough time to apply the brakes. Also, always use low gears while driving downhill to maintain control.

Pay Attention to Road Signs

Checking road signs can help you avoid many potential hazards, such as rock falls or wildlife. Always take your time to read the road signs and markings before proceeding.

Do Not Overtake 

Another risky thing to do on a dangerous road is to overtake another vehicle or cross into another lane on a blind spot if there is no traffic. Overtaking without clear visibility of oncoming traffic could be life-threatening.

How Can a Colorado Car Accident Lawyer Help?

Car accidents are common on roads that are steep, narrow, or tend to get a lot of rain and snow, and there are plenty of such roads in Colorado. The most common types of car accidents on dangerous roads include rear-end collisions, rollover accidents, and multi-vehicle pileups.

Car accidents on dangerous roads can result in severe injuries or death. In addition, serious car accidents can impact your ability to earn an income. You may also have to pay substantial medical expenses that could add to your stress and prevent you from focusing on recovering from the accident. Therefore, you should contact a Colorado car accident lawyer after a crash. Your lawyer can guide you on your legal options after the accident, such as seeking a lawsuit against the at-fault driver or negotiating with your insurance company for maximum compensation. Call Casares Law today!

Dale G. Casares

Colorado, Idaho, and Montana
Personal Injury Attorney

Free Consultation

We won’t charge a fee until
your claim is settled.

Best Law Firms 2023
Best Lawyers. Lawyer of the Year
Find The Top Local Experts In Your Area