CDOT, key safety partners assemble to deliver critical winter safety messages

News Release

December 12, 2023 - Statewide - December historically has most passenger vehicle crashes on I-70

El CDOT y los socios clave de seguridad se reúnen para transmitir mensajes críticos de seguridad invernal en español

Statewide — CDOT, the Colorado State Patrol, the I-70 Coalition and AAA gathered this morning to deliver a collective caution to Colorado drivers ahead of the upcoming holiday travel rush: Winter is here, and drivers must prepare accordingly for winter road conditions.

“December historically sees the highest number of passenger vehicle crashes on the I-70 mountain corridor because of the influx of holiday drivers,” said Andrew Hogle, CDOT communications manager. “Vehicle and tire preparation is crucial to keeping I-70 and other roads in the state flowing. It only takes one unprepared vehicle to spin out or crash and cause hours of delays.”

Last December, 46 crashes occurred on the I-70 mountain corridor, accounting for nearly 23% of the total crashes from October to April. Passenger Vehicle Traction Law infractions caused 26% of those December crashes.

Colorado’s Traction Law requires that all motorists have 3/16” tire tread depth and an all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle, winter tires (mountain-snowflake icon), tires with an all-weather rating, or mud/snow tires (M+S icon). If a vehicle has neither all-wheel, four-wheel drive or the adequate tires mentioned above, it must have chains or an approved alternative traction device. For more information about the Traction Law requirements, visit

Lengthy travel times along the I-70 mountain corridor are nothing new during the holiday season, and crashes and spun-out vehicles exacerbate delays. On I-70, Traction Law violations caused nearly 288 hours of lane closures last December. December count data shows 1,052,496 motorists traveled through the Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnel last year, averaging 33,951 vehicles per day.

CDOT recommends avoiding travel on I-70 during peak times, which are typically Friday afternoons between 2 and 7 p.m. (westbound), Saturday mornings between 8 to 10 a.m. (westbound), Saturday evenings between 2 and 5 p.m. (eastbound) and Sunday evenings between 3 to 6 p.m. (eastbound).

“Driver safety on Colorado winter roads begins with Traction Law awareness and compliance,” said Sgt. Troy Kessler of the Colorado State Patrol. “It’s important to drive slowly and ensure that you have ample space to stop behind the car in front of you. The combination of adequate tire tread and slower speeds will lead to more Coloradans getting home safely this winter.”

“Coloradans look out for one another,” said Skyler McKinley, regional director of public affairs for AAA - The Auto Club Group. “This strengthened Slow Down, Move Over law takes that spirit to the roadside with a straightforward message: If you see any vehicle on the side of the road with its hazards on, slow down and move over. It’s always been the right thing to do, and now it’s the law, too.”

About Winter Wise

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 or check Additionally, drivers can check Twitter for up-to-date travel information via @ColoradoDOT. For more detailed information about the Traction Law and Passenger Vehicle Safety Law, snowplow laws, safety stats and frequently asked questions, visit

Winter Travel Tips for Motorists

  • Avoid or limit driving during the brunt of the storm
  • If you plan to travel, know before you go by checking out the latest weather conditions and visiting for road conditions (see info sources below)
  • Make sure your vehicle is winter-ready with the appropriate tires for the weather and have a snow emergency kit
  • Once you are out on the road, take it slow, no sudden stops and leave plenty of following distance
  • Give plows space! Stay back three to four car lengths from snowplows

Safety Closures

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. & COtrip Planner App

Visit and download the COtrip Planner app ahead of time. Motorists can sign up for travel alerts through to see if there are any highway closures or impacts along their favorite routes. The COtrip Planner app also offers a “Trip Planner” feature that allows motorists to map out their routes and receive updates about road closures or incidents along the way. Motorists can turn on the “Hands-Free, Eyes Free” feature to receive these alerts via voice notifications and avoid routes with impacts.

The free COtrip Planner mobile app was designed to meet the growing trend of information on mobile and tablet devices for the traveling public. The COtrip Planner app provides statewide, real-time traffic information and works on mobile devices that operate on the iOS and Android platforms. Visit the Google Play Store (Android devices) or the Apple Store (iOS devices) to download!

Know Before You Go

Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts and anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include: