Snow will be falling in the Denver metro area soon! Whether you’re a native or a new resident, driving in Colorado’s winter weather can be dangerous if you’re not prepared. Here are some tips for keeping your car and yourself safe while traveling this winter season:
Check your tires. Tires are the most important investment for winter driving. Worn tires can’t grip the road well, and severely deflated tires can easily contribute to accidents on slippery roads. Each 10-degree drop in outside temps can result in a 1-pound loss of air pressure. Tire tread needs to be at least 3/16”. Remember Colorado’s Traction Law for the 126-mile stretch along I-70 between Morrison and Dotsero. All vehicles are required to either have 4-wheel or all-wheel drive. As an alternative, you can have snow tires or mud tires installed on your car. Tire chains or other traction devices are also traction law compliant.
Check your battery and fluids. Engines are more difficult to start in cold weather, and batteries operate between 30-60% worse in weather under 32 degrees. Before heading out, make sure your antifreeze is rated for winter conditions and is filled up. Also be sure your oil is rated for the cold temps you’ll be driving in. A full tank of gas is always a good idea when traveling in bad weather. You never know when you’ll become stuck behind an accident, road closure, etc.
Check you wiper blades/windshield fluid. Snow, slush and salt can quickly build up on your windshield, blinding a driver if the wiper blades are worn out and/or the windshield fluid is empty. Replace wipers if they leave streaks of liquid on the windshield. Carry a gallon of windshield fluid so you can quickly refill it whenever you run out.
Check you brakes. With snow, ice, water and slush on the roads, your car’s brakes need to be in top operating condition. If your brake pads are worn down, your stopping distance will take longer and could result in an accident. If you hear a grinding noise when you apply your breaks or your car pulls left or right while breaking, head to an automotive service center for repairs.
We hope these tips will make your winter driving more safe and less stressful. Be sure to stock your car with a flashlight, jumper cables, blankets, kitty litter (for traction), water, and an ice scraper. Some of these essentials could save your life! DOC Personal Injury Medical Professionals are here to help you recover if you happen to get injured in a winter accident. Please travel cautiously and safely this winter!