Your guide to driving correctly in Colorado Springs

Spring and summer are approaching and it’s the time that most drivers forget how to drive, especially in the city. Drivers forget how to drive year-round, but it’s much worse during this time.

This is your guide on how to drive in Colorado Springs, as a reminder that you aren’t the only one driving.

1. A blinker is not for you, it’s for the people around you

You know that stick located on the left side of your steering wheel? That’s the blinker. You pull it up to turn right and down to turn left. The blinker is not meant to remind you that you need to turn, it’s to tell others that you are turning.

This is helpful so others around you can turn early instead of waiting for you until you turn at the last minute. Or, when you need to merge, they can slow down to let you in their lane. Don’t be a deer in the headlights and be unpredictable. Tell others what you are doing. It’s not hard.

2. If you need to merge and it’s open, just get over

You’re a good person if you see someone in another lane signaling to get into yours, so you decide to choose kindness and slow down to let them in. Except they don’t just get over. They continue to wait and wait and wait until there’s 50 yards between them and you and then they get over. If the lane is open and you need to merge, just get the hell over and don’t wait. If the people in the lane already are like me, they are petty, so they will speed up again and not let you in.

Also, when people need to merge over from the exit, slow down and let them in. Don’t be the reason they cause an accident because you didn’t want one more person in front of you.

3. Weaving through traffic doesn’t make you cool

You’re driving on I-25 and its three lanes. Traffic is moving steadily and we’re still going the speed limit which is unusual most days. Everyone is focusing on the road — and here comes that Tesla merging from lane to lane to get to their destination faster than the rest of us.

Of course, you hope there is a state patrol lingering around to catch that guy, but it doesn’t happen. Instead, it makes everyone slam on their breaks and causes accidents. The wonderful thing is you end up catching back up to them anyway, so they really didn’t make much ground. The tip is to chill out and drive with traffic. Don’t cause the rest of us anxiety — learn patience.

4. Left lane equals fast, right lane equals slow

Everyone knows that driving in the left lane means you will drive fast over the speed limit. The right lane is for slower traffic and bigger trucks that can’t run the speed limit. There are even signs that say keep right except to pass.

This rule, although commonly known, goes in one ear and out the other because it’s never followed. The speed limit is 60. If you are not going 65, maybe 70, then get over to the right. The middle lane is not a slow lane either. That is for the people that only go slightly over the speed limit. And, if you want to go 80 in a 60 and I don’t blame you, then get in the excel lane and just pay the two dollars to drive fast and not tailgate others.

5. Stoplights. Look at them

When you drive on highways or main roads, you will encounter an intersection with these giant blocks hanging on cables with colors illuminating from them. Those are called stoplights. They direct traffic, in case you didn’t know. They tell cars when to go and when to stop and not go anywhere.

When the light turns red, you should stop. Some mistaken the red light for “oh I just need to keep going and beat the cars turning on their green light.” No. That’s not how it works. Be patient, just stop and wait your turn.

When you are at a red light and need to turn right, you are more than welcome to as long as cars are not coming. Some think that as cars are coming, you can still turn and cut the other people off. This is also not how it should work. Wait until no cars are coming and then turn right. Better yet, you can even wait until the light turns green as well.

6. Check your blind spots and don’t cut others off

Cutting people off happens a lot when cars are turning. They think they can turn fast enough to beat the car zooming their way and sometimes the execution is successful and other times it is not. Then boom: a car runs into you and you’re mad, but you cut them off. What did you expect?

The worst timing is when you pull out in front of a driver and there are no other cars behind the driver. This means the car that pulled out could have just waited for one more car and then turned risk free.

7. Thank you, and drive with care

If you can’t tell, I am passionate about safe driving. I have road rage and I don’t like when it comes out, but so many drivers are careless and don’t look where they are going. This is where I get mad. I don’t honk or flip people off, where they can see it at least, but the cruse words come out instead. Be patient and drive with care.

Traffic on I-25. Photo by Lexi Petri.