Mountain Driving Tips: How to Drive Safely to the Slopes

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You have your ski resort reservations and lift tickets. You have packed your bags. Now all you have to do is get there.

So, how do you get safely to the SLOPES? 

S: Slow and Steady 

Keep it slow and steady. Driving fast on Colorado mountain roads can be lethal. The roads are steep and winding. Rock slides are a routine occurrence. Many roads do not have guardrails. You may whip around a curve in the road to have your path blocked by a snowplow or by a tractor trailer that is struggling to make it up the incline.

If you have to slam on the brakes, you might be able to avoid crashing into the back of the tractor trailer in front of you, but the vehicles behind you might hit you and then push you into the tractor trailer anyway.

Colorado mountain roads tend to have snow and ice. Even if the roads look clear and dry, there can be black ice. Black ice is transparent ice found on pavement. It is dangerous because it looks just like to road beneath it. Drivers are often not aware of black ice until they hit it and spin out of control. Driving slowly and carefully is the best way to handle snow and ice on the roads.

The most dangerous factor on the road can be the other drivers. Colorado hosts many out of state tourists who are not familiar with our roads. These drivers often drive too fast or too slow for the conditions. If they drive too fast, they can lose control and end up in collisions. If they drive too slowly, they can clog up traffic, which can result in local drivers taking risks to pass the slower drivers. 

L: Logistics 

Plan your route based on road safety, traffic, road conditions, weather, and most importantly, experience driving on the particular road.

Colorado has some of the most dangerous roads in the world. Many of Colorado’s mountain roads have no guardrails; if you do not have experience navigating our roads, you could allow your nerves or inexperience to make a potentially deadly decision.

Make sure you also plan your drive for daylight hours, to maximize visibility.

O: On Top

Stay on top of any changing conditions in the traffic, roads, and weather. Check for updates. Roads in Colorado, especially I-70: Colorado’s danger zone, can close without warning due to fatal accidents, rock slides, and winter storms.

The State of Colorado’s official website,, provides up to the minute updates on the many factors that can affect the roads throughout the state. Check it before you head out.

P: Pack an Emergency Kit 

Make sure you have an emergency kit packed. While you should always ensure your car is road-ready (e.g., good tire pressure, brakes and windshield wipers in good condition, full gas tank, etc.), you also need to prepared if you get into an accident or break down, or even if you just get stuck in traffic for a while.

Make sure it has:

  • A shovel for digging your car out of the snow
  • Kitty litter or sand for traction
  • A spare tire, jack, and tools for changing a tire
  • Flares or reflective triangles
  • A fully-charged cell phone (Consider getting a charging block or connection that will charge your phone on the go.)
  • Flashlights
  • Water and nonperishable foods
  • A blanket and an extra hat and gloves for each person in the car
  • Battery operated radio

Expect the Unexpected

In most cases, you do not need to consider an avalanche or rock slide when you head out on a road trip. In Colorado, you do.

Do not assume that a sunny, cloudless day will remain so. Always expect a road hazard, snowfall, or an accident, that way you can be prepared if it happens.

S: Safety First

Keep the end goal in mind. The object is not to get to the slopes as quickly as you can, but to get there as safely as you can.

Allow much more time than you think you will need. If you must take a detour around road closures while on the way, you will have built in enough time to get to your destination without rushing or feeling impatient.

If You Were Injured in an Accident, You Are Not Alone

Unfortunately, accidents happen, even if you do everything right. If you have been injured in a car accident up on the mountain, talk with a car accident lawyer from Sears & Associates, P.C. We will investigate your accident, determine who is responsible for your accident and hold that party liable.

Call us today to learn more about your legal options for compensation: 719-471-1984.

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About Lance Sears

Lance has over thirty five years of trial experience. In 2003, Mr. Sears was named a Fellow of the International Society of Barristers (ISOB), a prestigious international organization with only approximately 600 members throughout the English-speaking world. Lance Sear's Google+ Profile

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