Colorado winter weather combined with heavy traffic and tractor trailers on the roads can make driving a challenge, especially on US 24, I-70, and I-25. The weather changes rapidly, roads are subject to closures, and road hazards are frequent. To make sure you stay safe in while driving in Colorado, read through these winter driving tips and share them with your friends and family.
Winter Safety Driving Tips: Know How to Drive in Colorado
Use the Resources Available to You
Before you head out on your next trip, check COtrip, the official Colorado State portal for road conditions. On COtrip, you can check:
- Construction on the roads: Contains information on road construction, repairs, maintenance, striping, fiber optic installation, and bridge work.
- Alerts for specific highways and statewide alerts: Searchable by the road (e.g., US 24, I-70, etc.) and type of alert (e.g., chain requirements, road work, routes closed for the season, and other safety alerts)
- Road conditions: Informs by mile marker of road conditions as snow, icy spots, snow packed spots, scattered showers, wet in areas, slushy, etc.
- Speeds: Data on the speed at which traffic is traveling on the roads. You can check by highway or road. Alerts posted for specific sections of roadways by mile marker, the speed of the flow of traffic, and the time it is currently taking to drive specific routes. This is critical for I-70.
Stay away from snowplows. They require a lot of space. They are wide, large masses throwing snow and slush, and can extend into more than one lane of the road.
If you are driving near a snowplow, be especially cautious. Expect that you must drive defensively, so stay alert.
Do not tailgate a snowplow. Snowplows apply chemicals to the snow and ice or to the roads. These chemicals can spray on your car if you are following too closely.
Colorado Statute requires all drivers to maintain a safe distance from a snow plow that is operating its flashing lights.
Control Your Speed
Posted speed limits are for ideal, dry road conditions. When there is snow or ice on the roads, slow down. Road conditions and visibility in Colorado can change quickly. You must drive at a speed that is safe for the conditions.
Drivers of other vehicles may not see your vehicle. They may not have their vehicles completely under control. Allow them extra space in case they slip or slide.
You should be driving three to four car lengths behind another driver in dry conditions. In icy or snowy conditions, increase this length.
Driving at an appropriate speed and remaining far behind other cars will allow you to more safely handle a situation such as black ice which is present in the mountains.
Focus on Driving
It is easy to let your mind and your eyes wander when taking in the sights around Vail and Colorado Springs, but this can lead to a deadly accident, especially on US 24 and I-25 where wrong-way and head-on crashes are common.
Always focus entirely on driving; keep your cell phone tucked away, limit conversation with passengers and make sure you have your radio station or playlist set before putting your car in drive.
Know How to Handle Weather Crises
The best way to handle a weather crisis is to avoid one altogether. Keep an eye on the conditions further down the road than usual, so you can start reacting earlier or avoid the hazard entirely.
For example, black ice, common on I-70, US 24, and I-25, is notoriously difficult to see and avoid. However, if you know how to spot it (look for glossy black pavement or shaded area) and you are constantly on the alert for it, you can help keep yourself and other drivers safe.
If you cannot avoid a hazard on icy roads, you need to know how to handle it. Do not slam on your brakes; instead, lift your foot off the accelerator and slowly press the brake. Do not overcorrect; steer into the skid.
Overcorrecting, especially on icy roads, can lead to rollover crashes, which are all too common occurrences on I-70.
Keep Your Car In Motion
Stopping on a hill in the winter can endanger your safety and the safety of all drivers around you. Instead of stopping, try to lower your speed and roll until you can speed up again.
Sears & Associates, P.C. Helps Car Accident Victims
Even if you take the time to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you, not everyone will. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash in Colorado Springs or Vail, or anywhere in Colorado, the car accident lawyers at Sears & Associates, P.C. will evaluate your claim, determine liability, help you prove negligence, and negotiate for a fair settlement.
Call us today at 719-471-1984 to schedule your free consultation with one of our car accident lawyers.