Winter is Here! Drive Safely and Arrive Alive!
October 30, 2023
Being prepared is the first step to staying safe while on Colorado roads.
Whether you’re a native, a new resident, or a visitor, driving in Colorado winter weather can be dangerous if you’re not prepared. Especially if you are renting a vehicle for your winter vacation. The unexpected can happen when snow and ice are on the road. Winter/snow rated tires and reducing speed are essential to a safe drive in the mountains. Rental vehicles may or may not have appropriate tires for a winter mountain drive, please check with your car rental company to see if they have the proper and required tires to travel Colorado roads when there is a passenger vehicle traction law in place.
What is the passenger vehicle traction law?
During winter storms, or when conditions require, CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) will implement the Passenger Vehicle Traction Law. CDOT can implement the Passenger Vehicle Traction and Chain Laws on any state highway or Interstate. During a Traction Law, ALL motorists are required to have EITHER:
- 4WD or AWD vehicle and 3/16” tread depth
- Tires with a mud and snow designation (M+S icon) and 3/16” tread depth
- Winter tires (mountain-snowflake icon) and 3/16” tread depth
- Tires with an all-weather rating by the manufacturer and 3/16” tread depth
- Chains or an approved alternative traction device
How can you find out if a traction law is in place?
Reducing your speed on snowy, icy, and wet roads will reduce the risks on the road. Having a 4-wheel drive vehicle doesn’t mean you can speed or even maintain the speed limit when road conditions are questionable. Having 4WD or AWD with the proper tires helps with traction at slow speeds.
Other things you should check on your vehicle prior to your departure for the mountains. Make sure you have a full tank of fuel. Check your windshield wipers and washer fluid levels. Make sure you have a snow/ice scraper-brush in your vehicle.
For additional information on winter driving preparedness and suggested items to have in your vehicle during the winter, check www.codot.gov/travel/winter-driving/winter-preparedness