Driving tips for Colorado Winter Weather
Millions of Americans choose to drive when visiting friends and family over the holiday season. Colorado is an especially popular state for winter driving due to its majestic mountain scenery. However, not all cars that hit the roads are ready to face adverse weather conditions. In order to get “over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house,” drivers must prepare their vehicles for snow, ice, and freezing temperatures.
Give your Tires a Tread and Pressure Check
Before you start driving in Colorado winter weather, make sure your vehicle is safe to drive. First, check your tires for optimal pressure. Consult your owner’s manual for the correct tire pressure for your specific vehicle. When temperatures drop, tire pressure also drops, and so a tire that was performing well in the fall might not remain properly inflated during winter.
Be careful of driving with worn-down tire treads. The treads are the only part of your car that makes direct contact with the road, and this means your tires should have sufficient groove depth to manage wet or icy conditions. A poorly performing tire can be dangerous to even the most self-assured drivers, so start with examining your tires before you venture out.
Don’t Forget Vehicle Tune-ups and Regularly Scheduled Maintenance
Once you’re confident that the rubber still meets the road, you should make sure your car’s battery, windshield wipers, wiper fluid, and coolant are filled. Routine vehicle maintenance is necessary at all times of the year, but it’s especially important when weather conditions could pose life-threatening risks. Faulty wipers during a snowstorm, a dead battery, or a malfunctioning heater coil can be dangerous during winter weather driving, and are all simple fixes that save significant time and money when dealt with early.
Be Ready for an Emergency
Winter conditions can test even the most experienced drivers and accidents happen all the time. Whether you are directly involved in an accident or not, it’s wise to plan ahead. Basic winter emergency equipment includes a spare tire, jumper cables, roadside flares, a flashlight, windshield ice scraper, a blanket, tire chains, and a snow shovel. People stranded roadside during a blizzard face hypothermia and run the risk of being injured by other drivers who lose control. A safe journey usually comes down to preparedness. It’s always a good idea to have the tools necessary to weather the storm.
Learn How to Drive in Winter Conditions Before Taking a Long Trip
‘Snow, sleet, and ice each demand different driving methods. Knowing what skills to use and how to use them can help you manage wintry conditions. Safe drivers will increase their following distance to allow for extra stopping time. A good rule of thumb is to double your normal following distance when it’s snowing outside. Driving slowly will also keep the car from spinning out through turns and will minimize sliding that can occur from patches of ice.
Stay Off the Road If You Can
The safest way to manage wintry conditions is to avoid them completely if possible. If you have to brave the elements, plan a route that takes you clear of the weather or use a route that is on a high-volume corridor and gets serviced by highway department road crews. Planning ahead with your vehicle and yourself will help you manage difficult winter driving conditions, and following all posted signs and speed limits will help you have a safe winter season behind the wheel.
Mile High Car Company offers full winterization maintenance and tune-up services. Visit our auto repair shop for honest, thorough, and efficient work from certified professionals. From new tires to preventative maintenance, we’re here to support Colorado drivers all year round.