5 Tips To Make Driving Through Colorado Snow More Tolerable

December 15, 2015
Photo: Interstate 70 traffic I-70 (AP Photo)
Traffic along Interstate 70 slows to a crawl due to an earlier tanker leaking on U.S. Highway 6 over Loveland Pass in a file photo.

So you've checked your email half a dozen times, and it looks like your boss isn't going to give you a snow day. And the roads are horrible. 

Not to worry -- with patience and safe driving, you can arm yourself to arrive to your destination unscathed. 

1. Allow extra time to get to your destination

Yes, you've heard it a million times.

That's because it's true -- giving yourself time means that you can address adverse driving conditions with your full attention, not wondering how late you're going to be.

Plus, it takes longer to drive in the snow. Which brings us to the next tip:

2. Know your brakes and use them sparingly

In dry weather, stopping takes about three or four seconds. In inclement weather, that jumps up to at least eight to 10 seconds, says AAA

AAA also advises that drivers don’t stop if it can be avoided. That's because it takes more energy to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes while you're still rolling. 

3. Keep your gas tank at least half full

Having a full tank of gas actually provides extra weight during slick conditions, says the Colorado Department of Transportation. But more importantly, if you get stranded you’ll be able to keep the engine running to periodically keep yourself warm.

4. Check your battery and fluids

A bad battery can leave you stranded. Plus, your engine is harder to start in the winter, and batteries lose power in the cold, says Car Talk. Make Tom and Ray proud by having a mechanic check if your battery's up to the job. 

Likewise, make sure your antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid are in order. Fill up your windshield wiper reservoir for messy days and make sure that you're putting a 50-50 mix of antifreeze and water. For more on keeping the coolant system in check, read Car Talk's explanation

5. Invest in winter tires

If you're about to head to work, now may not be the time to invest in winter tires. But be prepared for the next snow by purchasing tires that follow the CDOT's Traction Law. CDOT is even offering discounts through a partnership with tire companies. 

Photo: Quarter test

Photo: Quarter testAt minimum, the Traction Law means your tires need 1/8 inch of tread. You can test that using the quarter test.

But there's also special symbols now that show whether tires are good in mud and snow, often marked with "M+S." And if you see a snow flake symbol, that means the tires provide a level of traction specifically intended for snow.

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