Colorado’s majestic mountains and snowy landscapes are postcard-perfect in winter. But that winter wonderland can quickly become a not-so-charming reality for drivers: an increased risk of winter car accidents. Snow-covered roads, ice patches lurking like hidden enemies, and reduced visibility transform our beloved mountain paradise into a treacherous landscape.
In 2021, Colorado ranked 11th for winter driving dangers, making winter driving a serious predicament. But by equipping yourself with knowledge and taking proactive measures, you can steer clear of winter storm mishaps and significantly reduce your chances of becoming another winter storm car accident statistic. Here are 13 tips to keep you safe on those icy roads.
If you have been involved in a car crash involving snow or ice in Colorado, please contact the Colorado personal injury lawyers at Tenge Law Firm today.
Switch to Winter Tires
Car accidents on ice are frequently caused by the wrong tires. Swapping your all-season tires for winter ones can be the difference between gripping control and careening into a ditch. Winter tires feature deeper treads and softer rubber compounds that hug the cold pavement, enhancing traction and control on snow, ice, and slush.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Pack a shovel for those inevitable snowdrifts, jumper cables for battery blues, flares for roadside emergencies, and a first-aid kit for any bumps or bruises. Don’t forget cozy blankets, water, and non-perishable snacks. They’ll keep you warm and comfortable while waiting for help. A trusty windshield scraper with winter-grade windshield washer fluid and de-icing spray are your icy allies, ensuring clear visibility even when the snow flies. Remember, preparation is key.
Check Your Lights
Don’t let winter storms be the Grinch who steals your visibility. Before hitting the road, give your car a quick light check. Ensure your headlights, taillights, and brake lights are clean and functioning. On those white-out days, seeing and being seen is your ticket to safe travels. Consider upgrading to brighter halogen or LED bulbs for extra illumination.
Slow Down, Way Down
Winter roads demand a graceful waltz, not a speed race. Snow and ice significantly reduce traction, so adjust your speed according to the road conditions. Gentle acceleration, smooth braking, and slow, wide turns are key to maintaining control. Reduce your speed significantly, leaving ample distance between you and the car ahead. Braking distances double or triple on snowy or icy roads. Arrive safely, not just on time, and savor the magic of a winter drive.
Pump the Brakes, Not the Panic
If you feel your tires start to slide, keep calm and take a deep breath. Gently ease off the gas pedal and steer in the direction you want to go. This allows your tires to regain traction on the slippery surface for you to regain control of the vehicle.
Know the Chain Law
During certain seasons and on specific mountain passes, Colorado’s Chain Law mandates all vehicles carry winter traction devices like tire chains on two or more drive tires or alternate traction devices (ATDs) like mats. Tires on vehicles must have a 3/16″ tread depth. Chains and other ATDs help avoid cars slipping in the snow.
Use Cruise Control Cautiously
Cruise control can be dangerous on slippery roads. Sudden changes in terrain or unseen patches of ice can catch you off guard when using cruise control. Adapt your speed manually to the ever-changing road conditions.
Stay Alert and Avoid Distractions
Winter driving demands laser focus. Put your phone away, resist the urge to adjust the radio, and keep your eyes glued to the road. Even a momentary lapse in concentration can lead to disaster in snowy conditions. Remember, your eyes are your snow tires. Keep them focused for a smooth and safe journey.
Winter Weather Wisdom
When traveling in severe weather, it is critical to prioritize safety and make informed decisions. Check the weather forecast, road conditions, and closures before you hit the road. Reschedule, postpone, or find an alternate route if a blizzard or storm is expected. You should also stay current on any emergency alerts or advisories issued by local authorities to ensure a safe and smooth journey. A late arrival is preferable to a collision.
Keep your Distance
Black ice can transform seemingly safe gaps into collision zones. Increase your following distance from the vehicle in front of you. Maintaining a three-second cushion in clear weather and double or triple that in snowy conditions is a good rule of thumb. This space gives you more time to react and slow down if someone suddenly stops or there are dangers on the road. It also reduces the possibility of rear-end collisions, resulting in a safer driving experience for everyone on the road.
Defrost Your Windshield Before You Depart
Car accidents due to low visibility can be disastrous. Don’t underestimate the risks of driving with a partially defrosted windshield. Before getting on the road, thoroughly clean all windows, including mirrors and rearview cameras. Taking a few extra minutes to defrost and clear your windshield properly will ensure a safer and more enjoyable journey.
Seek Assistance If Necessary
Never be afraid to ask for assistance if you have any car problems or become stuck in the snow. Roadside assistance is widely available, and staying in a cold car for extended periods can be dangerous.
Tell Others Your Travel Plans
Share your travel plans and estimated arrival times with loved ones. This way, someone knows your whereabouts if you encounter trouble.
For more information on preparing for winter driving in Colorado, check out the Colorado Department of Transportation’s winter driving preparedness tips.
Involved in a Winter Storm Car Accident? Contact Tenge Law Firm
Colorado’s winter wonderland can become a white-knuckled roller coaster on icy roads. Did a sudden blizzard wreck your holiday cheer with a car accident? You deserve more than a cookie-cutter legal response. The Tenge Law Firm is not your average law firm. We’re a boutique powerhouse specializing in personal injury cases like car and motorcycle collisions. Forget settling for crumbs; we focus on recovering what matters most, with unrivaled support and expertise tailored for our clients, who deserve the best. Contact Tenge Law Firm, today. We’ll navigate the legal blizzard while you heal and reclaim the compensation you deserve.