COLORADO DRIVERS NICE
Kars4Kids ranks state’s drivers 7th most courteous
Colorado drivers rank seventh for extending courtesy, a report says, trailing front-runner Idaho and far surpassing last-place New York, according to Kars4Kids, a New Jersey-based nonprofit. »
If you’re a slow or nervous driver, then Colorado may be the state for you. A recent nationwide survey indicates you’ll find some of the most courteous and patient drivers in the country here.
Colorado drivers are the most polite in the U.S., according to Kars4Kids, a New Jersey-based nonprofit that’s funded by vehicle donations. The group’s study revealed Colorado drivers are more likely than most in the nation to let another car merge in heavy traffic and to practice patience when someone is tailgating.
However, Colorado drivers might steal your parking spot. Kars4Kids awarded each state a letter grade for various driving habits, and granted Coloradans a “B” for parking spot swiping. California, Oregon and other western states had an “A” average in that category.
Colorado drivers ranked seventh for extending courtesy, the report said, trailing front runner Idaho and far surpassing lastplace New York. The rankings were based on responses from 50 drivers in each state to a series of roadway scenarios. For example: “There’s a line of cars waiting at a red light. You’re continuing straight past the light. The right-turning lane is empty. Do you use that lane to go around them?”
Most Colorado drivers who completed the survey said no. But Ben Baron, the owner of Denver’s DriveSafe driving schools, said the real answer is more likely to depend on circumstance.
“In Colorado, we have very different conditions if you’re driving in a rural area versus downtown Denver,” Baron said. “If you’re driving on Colorado Boulevard on a busy time of day, I suspect we would lose that seventh ranking very quickly.”
Colorado State Trooper Josh Lewis echoed this sentiment, noting that, “Driving close to Denver metro area is different from the Eastern Plains — they’ll have different types of etiquette.”
Common road courtesies vary by state, Baron said. When merging onto an interstate, for example, drivers in some states consider it rude to speed ahead in the merge lane before cutting into the flow of traffic. But in other states, like New York, this is standard operating procedure.
“Sometimes being courteous is not necessarily being the most efficient, but it is being nice,” Baron said. “Different areas of the country have different norms in terms of how to handle traffic.”
The West ranked by far the most courteous region, politely outpacing the similarly ranked
Northeast, Midwest and South. The study also tracked politeness by gender and age. Women were far more courteous than men, while drivers age 24 or younger proved to be the least polite.
Ari Finkelstein, a spokesman for Kars4Kids, said the nonprofit launched the survey to promote courteous driv- ing.
“Once you step into the car you don’t see the other car as a person behind the wheel,” he said. “There’s that anonymous feeling that you’re not dealing with other people.”
Finkelstein said the worse their state was ranked, the more residents seemed to agree with the study.
“Most people just think that everyone driving around them is rude and impolite, which verifies the need for this campaign,” he said.
Courteous driving often means safer driving, said Sam Cole, a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Transportation.
“It’s great news for traffic safety in Colorado if we truly have some of the safest drivers in the country,” Cole said. “With Colorado growing as fast as it is, there’s more congestion. So I think that the fact that people are remaining calm and patient … speaks volumes of the people that live here.”