The law says you need winter-ready tires on I-70, even if it’s 90 degrees out

Happy September, Colorado.

Fall is just around the corner. You’ve already got your PSL-flavored something or another and while the weather may not be cooling off anytime soon, you already need to bust out those snow tires.

That’s if you’re planning on going anywhere on Interstate 70 between Morrison and Dotsero from now through May -- and you're not in a four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive vehicle. Drivers along that stretch are required to have snow tires or some alternative traction control device, like chains or tire socks.

Four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicles must have a tread depth of three-sixteenths of an inch. Commercial vehicles also need to have tire chains.

Gov. Jared Polis signed the new law in May 2019.

Colorado State Patrol Spokesman Josh Lewis said there are no plans to have checkpoints right now. Troopers will do much of the enforcement when they make contact with drivers if a vehicle slides off the road or if there’s a crash.

“It can be difficult just from a very simple view to see if a tire actually has the adequate tire tread depth or even if it’s a four-wheel drive,” he said. “What we’re hoping for, and with our partners in CDOT, is that people will realize that in these type of weather conditions, staying home or staying where you're at is going to be your best option.”

Non-commercial vehicles who drive without snow tires could get a $100 fine and a $32 surcharge. Fines increase to more than $600 if a driver without snow tires closes one lane of traffic.