Travel Center

Winter Driving Preparedness

Whether you’re a native, a new resident, or a tourist, driving in Colorado winter weather can be dangerous if you’re not prepared. 

The unexpected can happen when snow and ice are on the road — take extra precautions to prepare you and your vehicle for winter road conditions.  Consider the preparedness lists below to stay ready for winter weather.

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Before you begin your drive, make sure all of the following are in safe operating condition:

  • Windshield wiper fluid 
  • Heater/Defroster
  • Wiper Blades
  • Radiator/Antifreeze
  • Lights
  • Fuel System and a full tank of gas
  • Ignition
  • Exhaust System
  • Tire Tread (at least 3/16")
  • Battery
  • Brakes

Consider having the following items in your vehicle in case of an emergency:

  • Sturdy scraper/snow brush/snow shovel to clear snow
  • Flashlight with extra batteries or crank-powered flashlight
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Gallon jug of water
  • First aid kit and essential medications
  • Tire chains and tow strap
  • Jumper cables
  • Flares/reflectors to signal for help and warn other motorists
  • Battery or crank-powered radio to listen to emergency broadcasts
  • Extra set of clothes, including coat, hat, mittens, boots, etc.
  • Chemical hand warmers
  • Non-perishable snacks like granola bars
  • Non-clumping kitty litter/sand for traction
  • Deck of cards or board game for entertainment
  • Take a little extra time to clear your car of snow and ice before leaving for your destination.
  • There are three actions you do most when you drive: accelerate, turn and brake. In winter weather, you should only do one of those actions at a time. Attempting more than one of these actions at once can cause slide-outs, spin-outs and other harmful scenarios.
  • When traveling downhill, if possible, switch to a lower gear, and gently tap your brakes. This helps to avoid burning your brakes, and in winter weather, it helps keep traction.
  • Keep momentum when traveling uphill to avoid getting stuck.
  • When driving at night, keep your headlight beams low. High beams can amplify the appearance of snow and lead to decreased visibility.
  • Slow down – driving too fast for conditions causes most crashes.
  • If you encounter a multi-car collision, stay in your car. You’re safer in your car than outside of it. 
  • Signage is your best friend – look ahead and plan ahead for abrupt turns or stops.
  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Never drive impaired.

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