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Going to the mountains? Expect delays

11:56 AM, Feb 22, 2014   |    comments
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9NEWS viewer Jack Lackey was driving through around that time and sent pictures of the white mess it made on the roadway.

DENVER - The Colorado Department of Transportation is again expecting heavy traffic this weekend on the Interstate 70 mountain corridor.

To help alleviate traffic congestion, CDOT is encouraging motorists to travel during off-peak times. It started a campaign called "Change Your Peak Time" earlier this year.

As part of that program, the agency announced a contest Friday called the "Peak Time Challenge."

The program asks motorists to document their off-peak travels through the mountains and submit it to CDOT for a chance to win a weekend getaway at Copper Mountain.

Drivers are asked to explain in 150 words or less how they spent as little time in their car as possible during their trip.

Entries must also include photos that show the travel conditions.

It's just one of the latest efforts by CDOT to ease the mountain return rush between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekends.

9News Psychologist Max Wachtel offers 10 tips to deal with the frustration that can quickly develop when you are stuck in mountain traffic.


1: Prepare mentally: You know it is going to be awful, so brace yourself for it. You would be surprised how helpful this one step can be. Don't try wishful thinking-maybe this time will be different! It won't be different. If you leave during peak times, you will be sitting in traffic for a long time. Embrace it and prepare to be upset.

2: Recognize it is no one's fault: Everyone is in the same boat. Don't think of the other cars as your enemy. There will always be the errant driver whose tires are bald or who is driving too quickly.

3: Don't give in to the rage: You might want to scream. You might want to punch the steering wheel. You might want to yell at the other drivers. Although tempting, it won't help. It will, however, increase the tension inside your car. Your family and friends will feel very uncomfortable, and your anger will probably increase as a result.

4: Have plenty of snacks: Hunger makes everything worse. If you are going to be stuck in your car for hours on end, at least be full.

5: Bring activities for your kids: movies, music, books and toys. These can all help cut the tension and pass the time. You are going to be a lot more frustrated if your little ones are freaking out in the back seat. Playing family games like I Spy helps too.

6: Don't attack each other: Chances are you like the people who are in the car with you. When you are frustrated, it is easy to start fighting with one another, but this only makes a bad car trip worse. Before you snap, take a deep breath and make the conscious decision to remain nice. It is also important to quickly and assertively shut down attacks coming from other passengers.

7: Remain physically calm: Anger has a huge physiological component, and the calmer you can keep your body, the better the trip will be. Try the 5-7-10 breathing technique to relax. Count to five while you breathe in, then hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale while counting to ten. Repeat this pattern two or three times. It takes a lot of concentration to use this technique, and you will be amazed at how well it can work.

8: Be a nice driver: If someone is merging from another lane, let him. If a driver is trying to exit, slow down for the driver to take the exit slowly. Being nice will actually make you feel a little better about yourself, and believe it or not, it actually speeds up traffic a bit.

9: Stay focused on the positive: You are doing this because it is fun. Remind yourself of that. Frequently.

10: Have something fun planned for the end of the car trip: Order a pizza. Watch a movie. Spend time with friends. The trip will be more bearable if you have something fun on which you can focus.

A huge slab of marble caused problems Friday afternoon, briefly closing Eastbound I-70 near Hidden Valley.

9NEWS viewer Jack Lackey was driving through around that time and sent pictures of the white mess it made on the roadway.

Friday night's drive up to the mountains hasn't been nearly as tough as last Friday night. But as of 7 p.m., westbound from Georgetown to the Eisenhower Tunnel was seeing at least 45 minute delays.
A huge slab of marble caused problems Friday afternoon, briefly closing Eastbound I-70 near Hidden Valley.

9NEWS viewer Jack Lackey was driving through around that time and sent pictures of the white mess it made on the roadway.

Friday night's drive up to the mountains hasn't been nearly as tough as last Friday night. But as of 7 p.m., westbound from Georgetown to the Eisenhower Tunnel was seeing at least 45 minute delays.

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