CDOT shares winter travel tips

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By Nancy Shanks
Special to The SUN

The Colorado Department of Transportation reminds all motorists to respect winter weather, conduct a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle, and leave extra space between your automobile and others on the road (including plow trucks). They have provided the following winter driving tips:

• Log on to CDOT’s Winter Driving web page at http://www.coloradodot.info/travel/winter-driving for road conditions, winter driving tips and other information; or, for I-70 West Mountain Corridor travel, go to http://goi70.com/.

• Be sure you have good snow tires. How do you know if you need new snow tires? Insert a quarter into the tire tread upside down, with Washington’s head going in first; if the top of George’s head is covered by the tread, your tires are OK (do this test in multiple points around each tire.) If the top of his head is visible at any point, you need new tires.

• Always keep the top half of your gas tank full. It can give you better traction and gives you a bigger margin of error if you get stuck and have to keep the engine running periodically to keep warm.

• If you are stuck in a serious storm, do not leave your car. Run the engine periodically and wait for help.

• Carry blankets, water, a flashlight, a shovel, some nutrition bars or other food for sustenance. Winterize your vehicle’s safety kit by including extra blankets, sand to help gain traction in the event you become stuck on ice or snow, jumper cables, an ice scraper and lock de-icer.

• Remember that four-wheel drive does not mean four-wheel stop. A four-wheel drive vehicle will not stop any better in icy conditions, especially if you have inadequate snow tires.

• Know the chain laws. Chain restrictions in Colorado are most often put into effect for commercial vehicles (semi tractor-trailers) and do not usually affect passenger vehicles.

• Drive for the conditions. In poor visibility or even whiteout conditions, don’t drive faster than you can see ahead. High speeds in poor or no visibility can lead to large chain reaction accidents.

• Of course, always buckle up.