COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO)-- Whether you’re a native, a new resident, or a tourist, driving in Colorado winter weather can be dangerous if you’re not prepared, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.
The unexpected can happen when snow and ice are on the road — take extra precautions to prepare you and your vehicle for winter road conditions.
Last year, there were 23 recorded snow events that called for city plow patrol. The first snow storm rolled in September 8th, 2020. Snow events lasted all the way through April 20th last year.
Before getting on the road CDOT suggests making sure the following is in working order:
- Windshield wiper fluid
- Wiper Blades
- Fuel System and a full tank of gas
- Exhaust System
- Tire Tread (at least 3/16")
You should also consider having the following emergency items in your car...
CDOT classifies these items as essential:
- Sturdy scraper/snow brush/snow shovel to clear snow
- Flashlight with extra batteries or crank-powered flashlight
- Blanket or sleeping bag
- Gallon jug of water
- First aid kit and essential medications
- Tire chains and tow strap
- Jumper cables
- Flares/reflectors to signal for help and warn other motorists
- Battery or crank-powered radio to listen to emergency broadcasts
Here's a list of secondary things to keep on hand:
- Extra set of clothes, including coat, hat, mittens, boots, etc.
- Chemical hand warmers
- Non-perishable snacks like granola bars
- Non-clumping kitty litter/sand for traction
- Deck of cards or board game for entertainment
The big DO's and DON'Ts of driving in the snow revolve around keeping you and your passengers safe. Take the time to clear your car of snow before you start driving. There are three actions you do most when you drive: accelerate, turn, and brake, according to CDOT. In winter weather, you should only do one of those actions at a time. Attempting more than one of these actions at once can cause slide-outs, spin-outs, and other harmful scenarios.
If you're driving downhill, switch to a lower gear, and gently tap your brakes as you go downward. This helps to avoid burning your breaks, and in turn keeps your traction in tact. Going uphill requires momentum to avoid getting stuck or sliding back down.
The biggest tip CDOT shares is to take it slow on icy roads, and of course: wear your seat belt and don't drive impaired.