Trooper Tips: Is it winter driving season already?


By Master Trooper Gary Cutler

Colorado State Patrol

I guess it’s that time of year to make sure everyone is ready for the impending snow season. This is mostly a list of making sure you haven’t taken anything out of your vehicles that you may need when you are traveling this winter.

Let’s go over the basics. Are your tires in good condition and do they have at least 3/16th-inch of tread as required? I know you don’t take these out of your vehicle, but do you usually run snow tires during the winter? It’s a good time to get ready and make sure the tires are in good condition and there are no cracks or rubber missing from them.

Now to make sure that if we unfortunately get stuck, do we have what it takes not be in really dangerous trouble? If you have read my articles before, you know that I’m a fan of your trusty shovel. I’ve gotten out of a lot of predicaments using mine.

If you have to use the shovel, then you will be wanting water after having shoveled the heavy snow. Have some of it with you along with snacks. You have to keep that strength going.

If it looks like the shovel may not be the answer this time, be prepared to stay the night. Blankets and a flashlight will keep you company through the night. If you plan on using the vehicle’s heater, make sure the exhaust pipe is clear and you have a window cracked to allow airflow in the vehicle.

Try to stay with your vehicle. This is the safest place, since rescuers will be looking for it because you were thinking ahead and told someone your travel plans and route in case something like this happened.

Some other items that should be staples in your vehicle are matches, toilet paper, a coat that is warm enough for a stay in the mountains and a change of clothes in case you get wet.

And, finally, sometimes it’s just safer to stay home if it looks like there might be bad weather in the forecast. The ride might be safer next week.

As always, safe travels.