Winter driving tips for the Centennial State
The first day of winter is a reminder of what draws so many people to Colorado and has kept so many of us from considering anywhere but Colorado home – the champagne powder others simply call snow.Colorado’s snowfall makes for fun adventures at our state’s many ski resorts and winter playgrounds, but it also makes for hassles on days when we just need to get from home to work safely and on time. As the “safekeeper” of nearly 23,000 lane miles of Colorado roadways and highways, the Colorado Department of Transportation takes winter driving very seriously. We have to. Your safety and that of your family and friends, as well as ours, depends upon safe driving conditions all winter long.While the temperatures and driving conditions vary greatly throughout the state depending upon if you live in the Mile High city or thousands of feet higher in a mountain community, the same winter driving tips are important for every Coloradan to keep in mind. These tips are especially important to share with teenagers driving in winter conditions for the first time, or adults celebrating their first winter as Colorado residents. You can also share these tips with friends and family who visit throughout the snowy months to take advantage of the many winter activities Colorado offers.Here are 10 simple tips to remember as this year’s winter driving season begins: 1. Slow down in winter driving conditions. Most accidents are caused by driving too fast for conditions.2. Use your low-beams in bad weather, especially when snow is blowing or falling heavily.3. Don’t use cruise control on slippery roads.4. Remove ice and snow from windows, mirrors and vehicle lights – both front and rear – often.5. Wash your vehicle after snow storms to remove de-icer residue. Make sure to spray underneath your car to clean the undercarriage. While they can be messy, liquid de-icers reduce the formation of snow and ice on highways and provide a quicker return to bare pavement and higher driving speeds, ultimately reducing the reliance on chain laws and creating fewer highway closures. Statistics show that the use of liquid de-icer has reduced the number of weather-related crashes. We think that’s worth a few additional trips to the car wash.6. Always wear seat belts, regardless of how far you’re driving or the weather conditions.7. Leave extra room between your vehicle and the one ahead of you in poor visibility and slippery conditions.8. The safest place in snowy weather is a considerable distance behind a snowplow, where you’ll find the clearest roads and the best traction.9. If possible, avoid driving in bad weather conditions. Try to stay home until the roads clear.10. A road treated with liquid de-icer is wet and may be slippery. It’s important to watch your speed, particularly around curves and in canyons.If you’d like to share these tips, refer to our Web site at http://www.cotrip.org. You’ll find plenty on winter driving and road condition information. Or, send us an e-mail to info@dot. state.co.us and we’ll send you a Slick Tips brochure. Also, keep these numbers handy to check road conditions: 303-639-1111 in the Denver Metro area or call toll-free (877) 315-ROAD if you are in Colorado but outside of Denver.On behalf of everyone at CDOT, but especially our 1,800 maintenance professionals who patrol and clear the highways, we want to wish you a safe and enjoyable winter driving season.Wayne Lupton is director of staff maintenance for CDOT.
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