Traction Law Activations and Safety Closures Add Up Mid-Winter

Feb. 15, 2019 - Statewide Transportation - CDOT Implements Preventative Measures to Keep Winter Drivers Safe

The I-70 mountain corridor is one of Colorado’s most highly traveled corridors, and traffic increases during busy times like Presidents Day weekend. The corridor is also frequently subject to dangerous winter weather driving conditions. Between October and December 2018, CDOT activated the Traction Law 76 times because of dangerous driving conditions. During this period, 63 spinouts/slideoffs, 167 crashes and 29 mechanical issues were reported — resulting in more than 22 hours of lane-blockage time.

“Presidents Day weekend is a good time to reflect on our efforts so far this season to keep the I-70 mountain corridor and other highways in the state safe and remind drivers about the laws and measures in place to protect them when it comes to winter driving,” said Kyle Lester, Director of Maintenance at CDOT. “Our various operations teams­ — from the snowplow drivers on the front lines to those working in the Traffic Operations Centers in Golden and the Eisenhower Tunnel — work tirelessly throughout the winter to ensure the safety of everyone on the roads.”

When the Traction Law is in effect, motorists must have either snow tires, tires with the mud/snow (M+S) designation, tire chains, an alternate traction device, or a four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicle. All tires must have a minimum one-eighth inch tread. Motorists will be alerted to an active Traction Law or Chain Law by highway signage, or traffic/roadway condition alerts. (Sign up for alerts via text or email).

“Some drivers may feel safety closures and traction law enforcements are an inconvenience at times, but these processes are not meant to burden Colorado drivers,” said Andrew Hogle, CDOT Public Information Officer. “Traction Laws and highway safety closures are implemented to improve the safety of all drivers and passengers.”

Highway safety closures were implemented 84 times on I-70 between October and December 2018. A safety closure is a precaution taken during inclement weather to reduce the probability of traffic incidents, increased congestion or other safety-related factors. During a safety closure, traffic may be stopped on the interstate, turned around or directed to an exit. Safety closures help decrease delay times, and, above all, keep travelers safe.

In addition to safety closures from October to December 2018, CDOT called full closures 17 times on U.S. 6 Loveland Pass, and once on U.S. 40 Berthoud Pass. CDOT also deployed 499 courtesy patrols during this stretch.

Drivers should be prepared for adverse weather driving conditions overnight Friday into Saturday and continuing through Sunday morning in western and southwestern Colorado.  Mountain passes on U.S. 550 between Durango and Ouray, areas along I-70 west and in west central and northwestern Colorado could see another three to five inches of snowfall.  Winds will be strong enough to create blowing snow and reduced visibility, especially at the higher elevations.

Another wave of snowstorms may begin late Sunday into Monday, mainly across southern and southwestern Colorado, including I-25 over Raton Pass and points east.  In the Denver area, drivers can expect one to two inches of snow overnight Sunday, potentially impacting Monday morning's commute.

CDOT’s Winter Wise campaign focuses on education, tools and resources to help keep drivers safe on Colorado’s winter roads. To learn more and view helpful tips for winter driving, visit

For specific information about I-70 and other highway travel conditions, motorists can call 511, check Additionally, drivers can check Twitter for up-to-date travel information via @ColoradoDOT. For more detailed information about the Traction and Passenger Vehicle Safety Laws, safety stats and frequently asked questions, visit

CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees located at its Denver headquarters and in regional offices throughout Colorado, and manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway and 3,429 bridges. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of other agencies including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, and airports, and administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated interregional express service. Governor Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.