The little 4-door sedan that seemed just a little too clean, kept edging to the left, putting me that much more on edge. Doesn’t he know he’s driving in the lane of oncoming traffic? Why didn’t that truck just pull over? The outdoor supply truck had Florida plates on it, belying the fact that he is obviously not a seasoned winter driver of the Rocky Mountains. More and more cars pile up behind me, getting ever closer. Sensing their antsiness to overtake me and the truck that is driving ever slower with every switchback, just stresses me out even more.
Then suddenly, the Honda SUV behind me makes a run for it. Gunning his engine, he overtakes me, the little rental car and the truck on the double yellow, on the snow-packed road while approaching a switchback. I can hardly bear to watch, thinking a horrific accident is sure to ensue. Trying to avoid becoming collateral damage myself, I edge as far to the shoulder as I can, trying to give myself a buffer between my Subaru and the car in front.
The Honda has now started a trend, as another car pulls the same stunt and just barely dives back in as a car is approaching the opposite way. This has now become the drive from hell. Why do people have to be in such a hurry? I feel a bit of a hypocrite, as I’m sure there have been many a day I have shared that rush to get down Boulder Canyon. The difference is that I am also a major rule follower, and am super cautious about passing safely. Being that as it may, I would never pass on a double yellow, but especially not on a snow-packed, icy road.
The strangest part of all this is at 7:45 a.m., why do people feel the need to take such terrible risks, putting themselves and others in harm’s way? Maybe, if they are successful, they will arrive 5 minutes sooner to the ski area. But since the lifts don’t actually open until 9 a.m., what’s to gain? A better parking spot?
I’ll never know, but what I do know is by the time I arrived at Winter Park for work, I felt completely frazzled and utterly stressed out. People normally associate road rage with urban areas, and traffic jams. But I have just witnessed mountain road rage in all its glory. People jockey to get in the right spot, sailing along at 60 mph on the curves of Berthoud Pass. One of the most humorous parts of the drive is when you approach the top of the pass where the extra passing lane ends. I’ve literally witnessed a human game of chicken, where two cars will battle to get in front of each other, neither willing to back off before the 1-lane descent into Winter Park.
What could I have done differently today? Use one of those turnouts myself, pull over and let the crazy people drive on by. Better to protect my sanity, serenity and safety then participate in the mountain madness myself.