Preparing to Drive This Winter Season
Even a simple commute can be treacherous in the snowy conditions. If you must drive in the snow, make sure you are prepared. Check your tire tread, check tire pressure, and rotate your tires often. These are a few things you can do ahead of time to keep your car safe in snow-covered conditions. If you have to drive in the bad weather, here are some reminders to keep you safe.
Be Aware of Other Drivers on the Road
2019 is expected to be a big year for Colorado tourism. In 2017, 86 million tourists spent nearly 2 billion dollars on in-state travel in Colorado and this year is expected to be even higher. More tourists mean more drivers on the road – and this can lead to more car crashes.
McDivitt Law Firm wants you to be safe. Know the law and how to keep your own car safe. Colorado Department of Transportation recently put new vehicle traction laws into effect. This means your tires must have minimum tire tread on snowy roads of 3/16 of an inch.
Unfortunately, we can’t always prepare for the other drivers, especially those who aren’t used to Colorado driving conditions. CBS4 Denver recently did a story on rental cars that do not have the proper tires. This can be a huge hazard when driving to the mountains. Tourism is a huge part of our great state but knowing the law and making sure your own car is safe on the road is critical. Take precautions this winter.
Stocking Your Vehicle
There are many things you can do in advance to prepare your car for traveling in adverse Colorado conditions; these are some of the preparations we recommend:
- Carry extra blankets, a flashlight, a shovel, and even some snacks/water.
- Fill up on windshield wiper fluid rated for low temperatures.
- Get a tune-up on your car and make sure everything is working properly.
- Keep your gas tank over half full. In times that you are stranded, having heat and power will be important.
- Keep a stock of snow removal products; salt, non-clumping kitty litter, etc.
It is important to understand the different types of tires available, and what they are best suited for. For example, there is a common misconception between all-season tires vs. winter tires. Despite the name, all-season tires may not be sufficient for the road conditions presented by the winter weather in Colorado. Here is a breakdown on some of the differences between the two sets of tires:
All-Season Tires– These tires are ideal if you live in a warmer climate that doesn’t see much snowfall, and icy road conditions are rare. Although these tires are designed to provide traction in wet and slippery conditions, they may not be enough for icy and snowy roads.
Winter Tires– If you live in a climate that sees snow every winter, as well as icy road conditions, winter tires are probably for you. These tires are designed with special tread meant to drive in all sorts of winter conditions including, snow, rain, sleet, and ice.
Another important thing to consider when evaluating your tires for the winter weather is the amount of tread left on them.
Snow Plow Safety
Snowplows are on the road to make our lives easier and safer. There are many precautions to take when driving with snow plows present. Here are a couple of suggestions to keep in mind while driving around snowplows:
- Avoid passing on the right side of a snowplow. Snowplows are designed to push all the snow on the road off to the right. Trying to pass an active snow plow could not just damage your vehicle, but also cause you to lose visibility temporarily.
- Make sure you leave plenty of room between yourself and the snowplow. You never know when a plow will have to come to a sudden stop. Also, plows are oftentimes dropping sand, salt or other materials to break down ice on the road. If you are following too close, this debris could cause damage to your car.
It is important to remember that even if your car has 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your vehicle can break any faster than a 2-wheel drive car. Different road conditions can affect your reaction time, as well as the amount of space needed to ensure your vehicle comes to a complete stop. When driving in adverse Colorado conditions, please leave yourself plenty of distance between you and the car in front of you and plenty of time to get where you need to go.
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