iResort App - Traffic and Mountain Driving
Traffic and Mountain Driving

How’s the tread on your tires? Find out using the Quarter Test. Insert a quarter into the tread with the top of Washington’s head going in first. The top of George’s head must be covered to confirm the tire has the minimum one-eighth inch tread to be legal when the Traction Law (Code 15) goes into effect during snowy weather! If you don’t have a four-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle, you’ll need to have snow or mud/snow (M+S) tires. If you’re pulled over or block traffic and your vehicle doesn’t meet these requirements, you could get a ticket ranging from $130-$650. #TractionLaw

Here are a few tips to keep you moving and safe during our long winter season.  Start with some simple checks on your vehicle to ensure your vehicle is safe and problem free.

1.   Replace old wiper blades regularly.  Our sun and dry climate tends to be harsh, so purchasing rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up can be a big help.  Fill up on windshield washer fluid frequently. (Plain water won’t work because it freezes.)

2.   Check to see that your heater and defroster are working properly so you can keep the windshield clear and fog-free. 

3.   Wash and wax your vehicle to protect your paint from the harmful corrosive effects of road chemicals.  Thoroughly clean your windows inside and out to maintain optimal visibility.  Keep your windows from fogging up by using an anti-fog window treatment.  Use a water repellent on your windshield to help prevent water from sticking and freezing which could impair visibility, especially at night.

4.   Check your battery. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment.  Stop in one of our auto parts stores and ask if they have a load tester to check the charge of your battery, and replace it if it’s weak.

5.   Worn tires are dangerous in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, and check tire pressure once a month (and don’t forget to check your spare), and be sure your jack is in good working condition. Under-inflated tires or poorly aligned wheels makes your engine work harder and thus use excess fuel. See the Traction Law information below.

6.   When the temperature drops, the oil in your engine will thicken and place a greater strain on your engine. Verify that your engine oil is compatible for cold weather by consulting your owner’s manual or stopping by an auto parts store for some trustworthy advice. Of course check your dipstick to make sure your engine contains the required oil level.

7.   Carry an emergency kit with you: extra gloves, boots and blankets; flares or lights; a small shovel and sand or kitty litter; tire chains; a flashlight and extra batteries; and a cell phone and extra car charger. Put a few “high-energy” snacks in your glove box like almonds, trail mix, or granola bars. A candle and lighter can be helpful in the unlikely event your car is buried in an avalanche – that little light and fire can keep you safely warm without running your engine.


Next are a few tips for driving safely this winter and highlights some new CDOT guidelines.

8.   Keep Your Headlights On.  Visibility is not only important for you to see others, but is also important for other drivers to see you. This safe practice will help you avoid collisions. When the roads are wet and sloppy, be sure and clean off your headlights when you fill your gas tank.

9.   Do Not Be Overconfident.  Anti-Lock Brakes are not a foolproof way of stopping your vehicle when sliding. Anticipate sudden stops.  Traction control does NOT generate traction; it regulates your vehicles power output to the wheels. Gently accelerate from a stopped position so that you don't slide as you begin moving.  4x4/AWD will not increase your braking ability; in fact these vehicles are usually heavier and require more distance to stop. 

10. Drive Gently.  Quick and sudden movements will cause your vehicle to lose traction that could lead to an accident.  Accelerate slowly to avoid spinning your tires.  Turn slowly to avoid sliding or spinning out.  Brake early and carefully to avoid sliding or colliding with someone or something in front of you (if you do, you will be at fault as the one behind). Better to drive slowly and wish you could be going faster than driving fast and wishing you could suddenly be going slower.

11. Roundabouts.  The use of roundabouts is becoming more common because they reduce congestion and are statistically safer at reducing the frequency of accidents at intersections.  Follow these rules to drive like a pro through them (Breckenridge has a couple, as does Frisco):

a.   Yield to drivers already in the roundabout.

b.   Stay in your lane; never change lanes while in the roundabout.

c.   Do not stop or be indecisive in the roundabout.

12. Mixing bald tires with steep grades and hazardous winter weather, and I-70 can present serious safety issues for mountain drivers.  The new Traction Law is implemented during winter weather conditions and requires all motorists to have snow tires, tires with mud/snow (M+S) designation, or a four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicle. All tires, regardless of the vehicle, must have a minimum one-eighth inch tread.  When weather conditions deteriorate significantly, CDOT will implement the Passenger Vehicle Chain Law, meaning tire chains or alternative traction devices (like AutoSock are mandatory on all vehicles (yes, this means passenger vehicles too).  Non-compliance with either law may result in a fine.  For road alerts and updates follow this link to CDOT’s website and the iResort App “alerts” page.

A little preparation is all you need to keep you, your family, and friends solidly on the roads this winter, and safely reach your destination for mountain fun.




FOR INFO 720-273-0245

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