Winter has come to the Mile High City, as it does every year.  While the Denver Metro Area is equipped to handle snow, new comers are introduced to winter driving in Colorado upon moving here.  Sometimes, sooner rather than later.

Don’t Fear the Winter

To be honest, the Denver metro area plan for winter storms and work overnight to clear the roads.  However, even with plowed roads and deicer, roads can be challenging, especially for a new comer who has never driven in the snow.  The first question many new comers have is “Do I need a 4-wheel drive?”, the answer is no.  Most cars are equipped with all wheel drive, which will handle the Colorado winter roads just fine.  It’s important to remember that 4-wheel drives may get you through the deep powder, however they do help stop on the ice.

According to AAA, here are a few tips for Winter driving and how to apply them to living in Colorado.

  1.  Stay Home.  Now this may seem reasonable.  However – outdoor life in Colorado does not stand still when it snows.  With ski resorts a mere 45 minutes away, staying home may not be an option.
  2. Drive Slowly.  This is probably the best piece of advice.  Driving slowly allows for more control when you need to stop.
  3. Accelerate & Decelerate Slowly.  If you accelerate too quickly, you may experience a “spin out” and loose control of your vehicle.  When decelerating or breaking too quickly, you may start to slide, in which case it’s best to keep your foot firmly on the break and steer into the slide.  DO NOT PUMP YOUR BREAKS.
  4. Know your breaks.  Know if your vehicle has antilock breaks, do not be alarmed at the sound it may make when you are applying pressure.
  5. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE.  Always allocate a safe distance between you and the car in front of you.  Remember, it takes a little longer to stop in snow and ice.

Colorado Traction Law

Colorado does have a Traction Law.  This law states that all motorist must either have snow tires, all terrain tires or a 4/wheel drive while driving on I-70 between Morrison to Dotsero to the west.  In addition , tire tread on snowy roads must by 3/16 of an inch.  If you cause an accident and it is found that your vehicle is not to standards – you could be fined more than $650.

Driving in Colorado during the winter months should not be feared.  Once you do it a few times, you’ll become a pro.