According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, 19 people were killed in Denver winter car accidents between December 2021 and March 2022. As the colder weather approaches, roads become more vulnerable to icing and cars are exposed to increased maintenance issues. Here are five ways you can make sure you avoid a car accident this winter season.
Winterize Your Vehicle
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for winter driving is to make sure your vehicle is up for the task. This means taking care of routine maintenance like changing your oil and checking your fluids, as well as making sure your battery is strong enough to start your car in cold weather. Taking care of your car now will help prevent problems down the road and make sure you're prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.
Colorado Traction Law
During the process of winterizing your vehicle, you should also have your tires checked and consider switching to snow tires if you frequently drive in snowy or icy conditions. In fact, when harsh winter weather approaches, the CDOT may implement the Passenger Vehicle Traction Law. This law states that all drivers must have one of the following:
- Four or all-wheel drive vehicle with a 3/16’’ tire tread depth.
- Mud and snow designated tires with a 3/16’’ tread depth.
- Winter tires with a 3/16’’ tread depth.
- Manufacturer rated all-weather tires with a 3/16’’ tread depth.
- Chains or alternative traction devices (cable chains) approved by the CDOT.
Increase Following Distance
It is always important to leave a safe following distance between you and the car in front of you, but it becomes even more crucial in winter weather. Snow and ice can make it difficult to stop quickly, so give yourself plenty of time and space to react if someone unexpectedly slams on their brakes. Additionally, do not tailgate! Not only is it dangerous, but it is also illegal (Class A infraction) in Colorado. If you cannot see the car's tail lights in front of you, you are following too closely.
As tempting as it may be to catch up on emails or return that missed call when you are behind the wheel, it is important to resist the urge. Distracted driving is dangerous under any circumstances but becomes even more so when roads are slick with snow or ice. Stay focused on the task at hand and avoid any activity that takes your hands off the wheel or eyes off the road.
Know Which Way to Steer if You Start to Slide
If you find yourself sliding on a slippery road surface, it is important to know which way to steer in order to regain control of your vehicle. If you start sliding towards the left side of the road (towards oncoming traffic), turn your steering wheel towards the left as well. If you are sliding towards the right side of the road (off the edge), turn your steering wheel towards the right. Remember - turn into the skid!
Be Cautious on Bridges and Overpasses
Bridges and overpasses tend to freeze before regular roads do because they are exposed to colder air from above and below. This makes them especially treacherous in winter weather conditions, so use caution when driving over them. Slow down and allow extra time for accelerating or braking.
If you were involved in a winter car accident, call us today at (303) 327-9988 or schedule a free consultation by filling out our form online.