Tips for Safely Traveling Colorado Roads During the Winter

Winter conditions increases the odds of auto collisions in Colorado, but taking prudent steps can reduce your chances of getting hurt

Colorado saw its first snowfall of the 2014-2015 season on September 12th. Even though the snowfall was barely measurable in most areas, it still brings to light that more intense winter weather is on its way. With winter weather comes hazardous road conditions, which can result in fatal auto collisions.

To avoid an auto collision during this dangerous season, people should:

  • Use extreme caution on icy or snowy roads.
  • Being aware of carbon monoxide risks – when you warm up your car or use heaters and/or grills, they can all create risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Be especially careful to not use grills inside the house.
  • Watch for downed power lines – the weight of snow, ice, and/or falling trees can cause live wires to fall.

Not only do you need to be a little more alert while driving during the winter, it is also harder on your car. Before any intense winter storms hit, make sure that your vehicle is in good working condition since being stranded on the side of the road during blizzard conditions can be very dangerous.

  1. Make sure your battery can handle the cold. Cars are harder to start in the winter because engine oil isn't as fluid as it is in warm weather. Moreover, batteries also lose power as the temperature drops; thus, you're trying to start your car with less power when you really need more power.
  1. Check your antifreeze and cooling system. Make sure to check the level of antifreeze in your car. Generally, cars need a 50/50 mix of coolant and water, but check your vehicle's owner's manual to ensure you're using the right type of coolant for your engine.

The safest idea is to avoid traveling under adverse weather conditions; however, if you must travel, make sure you have packed a winter travel pack. Items to include are:

  • Blanket(s)
  • Snacks (such as power bars)
  • Bottled water
  • Flashlight
  • Kitty litter (for helping to provide traction if stuck on the side of the road)

Ways to avoid winter-time auto collisions

Chances are if you've grown up in an area (like Colorado) that experiences large amounts of snowfall each year, you understand how to drive a vehicle under such conditions. However, knowing how is very different from being able to handle certain conditions in action. Moreover, individuals moving into states like Colorado from warmer regions may not have a full understanding of the risks, and how to avoid them.

Below are the 4 most common ways to avoid winter auto collisions.

Braking

Drivers should be familiar with their cars' braking systems. For one, anti-lock brakes stop differently than regular brakes. In addition, drivers should leave even more room than usual between vehicles they're following. Hitting your brakes on an icy road could cause a collision or force vehicles off the road.

Drive slowly

You can also avoid winter auto collisions by driving under the posted speed limit. Remember, posted speed limits are for optimum driving conditions (i.e. clear skies and above-freezing temperatures). Driving too fast during winter conditions can lead to a whole host of problems, be it sliding off the road into the ditch or colliding with other vehicle(s).

Be vigilant

Winter weather conditions can lead to slick roads and poor visibility—both of which can increase the risk of an auto collision. Therefore, you should pay even closer attention when winter weather first begins in the fall and when it's ending in the spring because there can be numerous thawings and re-freezings during these times. This can create a false sense of security.

Snow and ice removal

You should take care to remove all of the frost and snow from your windshield, mirrors and rear windows before driving. Failure to do so could cause snow and ice chunks to fall off your vehicle and cause accidents. In addition, failure to remove all ice could result in blind spots and poor visibility once you're on the road.

(Read our article Defensive Driving – How You Can Prevent Auto Collisions and Save Money Too for more information about safely following a vehicle on the road, and other general preventive measures.)

Auto collisions can be difficult situations for all involved. If you've been in an accident due to another driver's error or negligence, it's important you discuss your case with an auto collision attorney to ensure you receive the compensation you need for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages and more.

We invite you to schedule a free consultation with R. Mack Babcock and associates at the Babcock Law Firm today. And continue browsing our blog and knowledge center, or download our (PDF) comprehensive car accident guide for more information.

Continue reading these related articles for more information…

**NOTE – this article and all content at Injurylawcolorado.com is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice

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