The Dangerous CO-82: Highway Safety Tips to Navigate with Caution

Avant Garde Aspen

If you live in Colorado, particularly anywhere between Glenwood Springs and Aspen, you're likely familiar with the treacherous nature of Highway 82. This 45-mile stretch of road has earned a reputation as one of the most perilous highways in the state. The Colorado State Patrol is stepping up efforts in 2022 to reduce the number of deaths, injuries, and chaos that have occurred on this notorious road. In this blog post, we'll explore why CO-82 is so dangerous and provide essential highway safety tips for those who use it.
 

The Alarming Statistics

The decision to increase police presence along CO-82 stems from a concerning trend of accidents in recent years. Between 2020 and mid-November 2021, there were a total of 385 accidents along this stretch. Shockingly, 91 of these accidents resulted in serious bodily injuries, and five lives were tragically lost. Safety experts are now viewing this stretch of Highway 82 as a potential mini-interstate, similar to Interstate 70.
 

The Most Dangerous Sections

Mile Marker 6 south of Glenwood Springs stands out as the most perilous spot on CO-82, with one fatality and 16 pile-ups recorded there. Additionally, the stretch between Mile Markers 4 and 7 saw 30 crashes, making it the most hazardous section of the road.
 

Why is CO-82 So Dangerous?

  • Excessive Speed: Safety experts and law enforcement officials agree that a significant number of accidents on CO-82 result from commuters traveling at excessive speeds. Drivers not only exceed the speed limit but also fail to adjust their speed according to weather conditions. When adverse weather strikes, slowing down and using extra caution is crucial. Unfortunately, many drivers on Highway 82 neglect this advice, leading to serious injury accidents.
  • Impaired and Distracted Driving: Other contributing factors to injury accidents on CO-82 include drunk driving, drugged driving, and distracted driving. These reckless behaviors pose a significant threat to all road users.

The Role of Increased CSP Presence

To combat these issues, the Colorado State Patrol has decided to increase trooper presence along Highway 82. This proactive measure has already proven effective elsewhere, as demonstrated by the 44 percent reduction in serious car crashes observed when CSP troopers were present on I-70 in South Canyon last summer. The increased police presence on CO-82 aims to deter poor driving behavior and ultimately reduce accidents.
 

Unique Challenges of CO-82

One reason CO-82 is heavily trafficked is due to the closure of Independence Pass between October and April during the winter months. This makes Highway 82 the sole access route to Aspen by road. Even alternative travel via the Aspen Airport is not without challenges, as nearly 50% of flights are canceled during the winter due to inclement weather conditions that make takeoffs and landings in the valley difficult.
 

Highway Safety Tips for CO-82

  • Limit Distractions: Minimize distractions while driving, such as adjusting music or using cell phones. Focus on the road ahead to react quickly to changing conditions.
  • Keep Right: Stay in the right lane if you are driving slower than the pace of traffic to allow faster-moving vehicles to pass safely.
  • Honor Speed Limits: Always obey posted speed limits and adjust your speed according to weather and road conditions.
  • Slow Down in Inclement Weather: Exercise extra caution and reduce your speed when driving in inclement weather. Allow for increased braking distance and avoid sudden maneuvers.

Conclusion

Highway 82 in Colorado between Glenwood Springs and Aspen is undoubtedly a perilous route, but with increased CSP presence and responsible driving habits, we can work together to make it safer for everyone. By adhering to highway safety tips and respecting the road, we can help prevent accidents and tragedies on this challenging stretch of highway. Stay safe and drive responsibly on CO-82.

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