Mike from Aurora writes, “What’s driving you crazy? Jayson, I work in Aurora and every morning when I get off Alameda Ave and on to I-225 southbound during the start of morning rush hour, there is a traffic light which every vehicle is to stop at and proceed 1 at a time. I always stop at the red light and then proceed when I get the green light. While doing this I always encounter other drivers who honk at me when I stop or drivers who are in the next lane just run through it. I have had several near misses of being hit either on the side by the person who choose to not stop or being rear ended because I stopped. Does Aurora police traffic unit ever post at this light to enforce running a red light or aggressive driving?”
Those lights on the ramp are officially called ramp metering lights and they are used to control the number of cars from the side roads pouring onto the interstates. It is supposed to keep the highway traffic flowing smother than letting all the cars come down the ramp at one time.
Some drivers think those red lights when they are active are just a suggestion to stop but Chris Carleton, Sergeant with Aurora Police Department’s Traffic Section tells me they are just like any other red light. “Disobeying the meter lights on freeway ramps is treated the same as a signal at an intersection and the driver is responsible for a violation of Failing To Obey A Signal Light, which is a four point traffic infraction,” Carleton said.
What drivers are supposed to do is drive all the way up to the white line painted on the pavement next to the ramp signal. When the signal turns green, one car per lane may go and then merge onto the interstate. Sometimes it is a little awkward to see who will get to go first down the ramp but most drivers figure it out just fine.
As for aggressive driving, I have seen firsthand, and have heard from numerous viewers to my weekly Driving You Crazy Facebook live broadcast, the increase in overall aggressive driving around Denver. Anecdotally, I am seeing more speeding, tailgating, weaving between lanes, smart phone distraction, inconsiderate merging and overall aggressive behavior on and off the highways. Aurora police say they have seen much of the same thing.
“We saw that there was an increase in aggressive driving and crashes to include fatal crashes. In 2015 we created the Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic (HEAT) team and deployed officers that are dedicated to working crashes and enforcing driving laws on the freeways specifically. Since their assignment in 2015, the number of crashes on the freeways has been reduced by 11% and there has been only one fatal crash where aggressive driving was a factor,” Carleton said.
As for the aggressive driving specifically, you see on that ramp you use going to work every day, Aurora police tell me they have not heard that running the metering lights was an issue and will put that on their radar for violations that they will be looking out for.
If you see aggressive driving you can always call the Colorado State Patrol to report it by calling *CSP (*277).
Denver7 traffic anchor Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is over 20 years.) He's obsessed with letting viewers know what's happening on their drive and the best way to avoid the problems that spring up. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or listen to his Driving You Crazy podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, Podbean or YouTube.