CDOT Urging Drivers to Prepare for Winter

Nov. 1, 2017 -

CDOT is gearing up to battle adverse conditions this winter and encouraging drivers to do the same. Maintenance crews are taking a number of steps in preparation for the next several months, including stocking ice removal products and making sure snow removal equipment is ready to keep the highways safe for travel.  Plow trucks will carry and distribute sand and salt to enhance tire adhesion and pre-wet roadways with liquid deicer for traction and effective ice-melting

“Just as we get ready for the winter months ahead, we’re recommending that drivers do the same, such as ensuring their vehicle is properly winterized, including making sure that they have adequate tread on their tires or have good snow tires,” said CDOT’s Division of Maintenance Director Kyle Lester.  “We’re also reminding the traveling public to give our plows plenty of room and not pass them on the right so they can safely clear the highway.” 

When a storm is predicted, maintenance crews begin 24-hour operations—rotating 12-hour shifts—until roads return to normal driving conditions. And, when warranted, avalanche control crews will work with forecasters from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center to trigger avalanches along mountain highways before they run naturally. 


REGION ONE: Consists of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Gilpin and Jefferson counties.  It has 394 maintenance workers, 206 pieces of snow removal equipment and oversees 4,530 lane-miles (the combined lengths of each lane on every highway in the region).

REGION TWO: Consists of Baca, Bent, Crowley, Custer, El Paso, Fremont, Huerfano, Kiowa, Las Animas, Park, Otero, Prowers, Pueblo, and Teller counties.  It has 224 employees, 195 pieces of snow removal equipment and oversees 7,682 highway lane-miles.

REGION THREE: Consists of Delta, Eagle, Garfield, Grand, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Jackson, Lake, Mesa, Moffat, Montrose (east), Pitkin, Rio Blanco, Routt and Summit counties.  It is split into two maintenance sections.  The Grand Junction Maintenance Section has 290 maintenance workers, 139 pieces of snow removal equipment, including two tow-plows, and oversees 4,038 lane-miles.  Craig’s Maintenance Section has 96 maintenance employees, 64 pieces of snow removal equipment and oversees 1704 lane-miles.

REGION FOUR: Consists of Boulder, Cheyenne, Elbert, Kit Carson, Larimer, Lincoln, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, Weld and Yuma counties. It has 286 maintenance employees, 274 pieces of snow removal equipment, including 9 tow plows and oversees 9,364 lane-miles

REGION FIVE: Consists of Alamosa, Archuleta, Chaffee, Conejos, Costilla, Dolores, La Plata, Mineral, Montezuma, Montrose (west) Ouray, Rio Grande, Saguache San Juan, and San Miguel counties.  It is split into two maintenance sections.  The Durango Maintenance Section has 106 maintenance employees, 108 pieces of snow removal equipment and oversees 1,750 lane-miles.  Alamosa’s Maintenance Section has 99 maintenance employees, 118 pieces of snow removal equipment and oversees 1,530 lane-miles. 

“Keeping our highways clear of snow and ice during adverse weather is challenging, but our forces are dedicated and well-trained to help keep our highways open and passable throughout the winter season,” added Lester.  “Highway safety is job one and while our crews do their best battling Mother Nature, we’re reminding motorists to drive appropriately for conditions, which means to slow down when driving on wet or snowy roads.  In addition, they should give themselves plenty of time to reach their destination.”

AVOID A FINE!  Motorists should be aware the Traction Law and Passenger Vehicle Chain Law could be implemented if conditions require it.  When either law is in effect, highway signage will be activated.

  • Traction Law  Motorists will need snow tires, tires with mud/snow (M/S) designation, or a four-wheel drive vehicle — all tires must have a minimum one-eighth inch tread.
  • Passenger Vehicle Chain Law  Every vehicle on the roadway must have chains or an alternative traction device (like AutoSock).

Without proper equipment, you can be fined $130. If your vehicle blocks the roadway, you could be fined more than $650.

ROAD CONDITION/CLOSURE INFORMATION: To find roadway conditions and closures, log onto CDOT’s traveler information site at or call 511 from anywhere in the state. Better yet, sign up to receive wireless text alerts and/or e-mails about road conditions on our website, You can also log on to CDOT’s Winter Driving web page at: for road conditions winter driving tips and other information; or for I-70 West Mountain Corridor travel, go here:

Ø Log on to CDOT’s Winter Driving web page at: for road conditions winter driving tips and other information; or for I-70 West Mountain Corridor travel, go here:

Ø Be sure you have good snow tires. How do you know if you need new snow tires? Insert a quarter into the tire tread upside down, with Washington’s head going in first; if the top of George’s head is covered by the tread, your tires are OK (do this test in multiple points around each tire.) If the top of his head is visible at any point, you need new tires.

Ø Always keep the top half of your gas tank full. It can give you better traction and gives you a bigger margin of error if you get stuck and have to keep the engine running periodically to keep warm.

Ø If you are stuck in a serious storm do not leave your car. Run the engine periodically and wait for help.

Ø Carry blankets, water, a flashlight, a shovel, some nutrition bars or other food for sustenance. Winterize your vehicle's safety kit by including extra blankets, sand to help gain traction in the event you become stuck on ice or snow, jumper cables, an ice scraper and lock deicer.

Ø Remember that 4-wheel drive does not mean 4-wheel stop. A 4-wheel drive vehicle will not stop any better in icy conditions, especially if you have inadequate snow tires.

Ø Know the chain laws. Chain restrictions in Colorado are most often put into effect for commercial vehicles (semi-trailer trucks) and do not usually affect passenger vehicles.

Ø Drive for the conditions. In poor visibility or even whiteout conditions, don't drive faster than you can see ahead. High speeds in poor or no visibility can lead to large chain reaction accidents.

Ø In addition to these winter driving tips, CDOT reminds all motorists to respect winter weather, conduct a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle, and leave extra space between your automobile and others on the road (including plow trucks). Of course, always buckle up!