Crews Prepared for Winter Storm to hit Front Range, Foothills & Higher Elevations

Nov. 10, 2018 - Make Sure Your Vehicle & Tires are Winter-Ready

DENVER—CDOT maintenance teams have been pre-treating roads and are geared up for snow expected to begin tonight along the Front Range, the foothills and higher elevations.

According to the National Weather Service, the winter system will move north to south through Sunday, leaving southern Colorado by midday Monday. The urban corridor and Palmer Divide are expected to get two to four inches of snow, with higher amounts closer to the foothills and over Monument Hill.

The heaviest snow of up to a foot is in the forecast for the northern, central and southern foothills and mountains. About one to two inches of snow are expected for the eastern plains, with minimal road impacts expected due to higher road temperatures. Blowing snow with gusts up to 50 mph are expected for the northern mountains, the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnels, Loveland Pass and Berthoud Pass.

When a storm is predicted, maintenance crews begin 24-hour operations—rotating 12-hour shifts—until roads allow for 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.

Winter-Driving Tips & Guidelines

  • Check your tires.
    • Worn tires can't grip the road well and can be extremely hazardous. Check your tires by preforming the Quarter Test. 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.

    • Invest in safety by getting a set of snow tires. When it comes to stopping safely on snow and ice, all-season tires simply don't compare to winter tires.

    • If your tires don't have at least a one-eighth-inch tread when a Traction Law is called, you are in violation of the law and could end up with a fine.

  • Leave extra room.
    • Leave extra room between your vehicle and others on the road at all times.

    • Even vehicles with four-wheel/all-wheel drive will not stop any quicker on icy roads, especially if you have inadequate tires.

  • Drive for conditions.
    • In poor visibility, don't drive faster than you can see ahead. High speeds in poor visibility can lead to dangerous chain reactions.

  • Bow to the plow.
    • Snowplows need space to work, so unless you want to cause a crash, delays or be stuck on a snow-covered road, don't crowd the plow!
    • If you must pass a snowplow, do so on the left and with extreme caution.

  • Be I-70 smart.
    • Check to see travel forecasts for the I-70 mountain corridor, road updates, rideshare and parking information, deals on lodging, food and entertainment for travelers and more.

    • Remember to avoid peak travel times whenever possible, and consider carpooling or alternative transportation.

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

    • Prepare a winter-driving vehicle kit. 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 and an ice scraper.

    • Additionally, all motorists should be familiar with Colorado's Passenger Vehicle Traction Law and Passenger Vehicle Chain Law. These laws are implemented when weather and road conditions require it, at which time highway signage will be activated to alert drivers.
      • Traction Law—When the Traction Law is in effect, motorists must have snow tires, tires with mud/snow (M/S) designation, or a four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicle. All tires must have a minimum one-eighth-inch tread.
      • Passenger Vehicle Chain Law—Reserved for severe winter conditions as the final safety measure before an interstate is closed, the Passenger Vehicle Chain Law states that 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.

To learn more winter-driving tips and about the strategies CDOT implements during winter storms, visit To find roadway conditions and closures, view CDOT's traveler information site at, or call 511 from anywhere in the state.