News

Prepare for First Widespread Snowstorm of Season

Oct. 13, 2018 - CDOT Crews out in Full Force, Ready to Keep Roads Safe


STATEWIDE—Motorists should be prepared for possibly slick and snow-packed roads through portions of Colorado on Sunday, Oct. 14. CDOT's plow operators are on snow shift, and are ready to keep interstates and state highways safe during the upcoming snow event.

A compact winter storm system will move over Northern and Eastern Colorado tonight through Sunday, bringing the heaviest snowfall to the eastern mountains and foothills. This storm system will bring moderate snowfall to the I-25 corrido,r with generally light snow across the eastern plains. It will be much colder Saturday night through Sunday. Snowfall will decrease from north to south Sunday afternoon and evening.

Areas of most concern are the eastern plains and I-25 from Denver to the New Mexico border. CDOT crews will be out in full force tomorrow and will adjust resources accordingly based on which roads are being the most impacted. CDOT expects roads to stay wet and slushy initially before moving into more snow-packed and icy conditions as temperatures continue to decrease.

Conditions could deteriorate quickly tomorrow; be prepared for potential safety closures on I-70 in the eastern plains, and on I-25 at Monument Hill due to the chance of low visibility and adverse road conditions. CDOT crews have pre-treated and planned for more plows to be in these area, but will need to close the road if conditions worsen to the point where plows are no longer able to keep the roads clear and spin-outs are deemed imminent.

Snow is forecast to decrease by mid-morning/afternoon in Northern Colorado and the Denver Metro area, but temperatures will stay below freezing with cloud coverage through the night on Sunday. Southern Colorado will see snow through the night on Sunday, with the possibility for it to continue through Monday morning.

CDOT crews have been pre-treating roadways around the state in preparation for the storm, and will be using de-icing products and plow blades to remove ice and snow from the road. Even with treated pavement, there could still be slick conditions, and it does not take much for spin-outs to occur. It is critical that motorists maintain slower speeds and leave at least three car-lengths of space between vehicles.

While interstates are CDOT's priority during snow removal, additional plows will be deployed to the arterial roads leading to the Broncos Stadium in preparation for tomorrow's football game. Additional Safety Courtesy Patrol vehicles will also be out on the roadways tomorrow.

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 Goi70.com 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 winter.codot.gov. To find roadway conditions and closures, view CDOT's traveler information site at cotrip.org, or call 511 from anywhere in the state.

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