Travel Safety

Mountain Driving Tips

  • Driving through Colorado’s high country offers unique challenges even without the presence of construction activities. Steep uphill and downhill grades can put an extra strain on your vehicle, and roadway curves and rock formations can affect sight distances. With this in mind, here are some tips for driving through the mountains:
  • To prevent overheating, turn off your air conditioner and roll down the windows when traveling up a steep grade. Running the air conditioner puts extra strain on your engine and might cause your vehicle to overheat.
    If your car is struggling up a hill, shift into a lower gear so you can maintain a consistent speed.
  • If your car is starting to overheat and you can’t immediately pull over, turn your car’s heater to the highest setting as you would on a freezing cold morning. This can help “bleed off” some of the engine’s extra heat which might buy you some time until you can safely pull over.
    When driving downhill, use your engine and transmission to slow the car down instead of continually pushing on the brake pedal which can burn out your brakes. Shift to a lower gear (use “L” or “2” is you have an automatic transmission) before starting downhill to help slow the car down.

Westbound Express Lane Still Closed

I-70 Mountain Creek

  • Keep an eye out for animals, particularly at night.
  • Make sure you have enough gas if traveling through remote areas.
  • If you’re driving slowly, pull into a turnout or move over to the right on a straightaway to let faster moving traffic pass.
  • Give some extra space between your vehicle and the one in front of you since sudden stops can occur at any time.

Traction Law

Anyone driving the I-70 mountain corridor between Morrison and Dotsero from Sept. 1 to May 31 needs to comply with the state’s Traction Law. 

According to this law, no matter what kind of drive train your vehicle has (all-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive), you need to have tires with at least 3/16” tread depth. If you do not have all-wheel or four-wheel drive, your tires need to have a mud and snow (M+S) or winter (mountain-snowflake) designation or have an all-weather designation from the manufacturer. These designations can be found on the tire’s sidewall.

For more information about the state’s Traction Law, visit

Tire Safety