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Right now is the time to get your car ready for the Colorado winter

Be sure to not only prep your car but also have an in-car kit for yourself
Posted at 7:42 AM, Oct 23, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Things are starting to cool down here in Southern Colorado as we settle into fall. And with winter weather just around the corner, it’s important to prepare your car for winter driving.

Patterson Brothers Automotive offered guidance on how to ensure your car is prepped properly ahead of winter conditions.

First, you should always make sure your battery is working properly to avoid the risk of breaking down. You should also replace your wiper blades and have your brakes checked, as well as belts, hoses, spark plugs, or other cables.

Make sure you always have an ice scraper available for when you start your trip and beyond. We know the snow can come down quickly so making sure that you are able to see clearly can not only keep you safe but other drivers as well.

"Making sure your coolant system is up to par. Keeping jumper cables in your car, just in case your battery dies, someone could get you started. I recommend having a first aid kit and a blanket. Certain things in your car so that if you do get stuck in the snow, you don't freeze to death."

Having a tow rope is also important in case you have to tow someone out or need to be towed out. You should also include road flares, to make sure that people see you when it is snowing because of the risk of reduced visibility.

Don't forget to have your tire pressure checked before the weather cools down, and also continue to check your tire pressure throughout the winter season. Investing in good, quality tires. Those who drive within city limits can invest in all-weather tires. People with a further commute or those who take rural roads might want to consider investing in winter tires.

"Making sure your coolant system is up to par. Keeping jumper cables in your car, just in case your battery dies, someone could get you started. I recommend having a first aid kit and a blanket. Certain things in your car so that if you do get stuck in the snow, you don't freeze to death."

Make sure you get your tire pressure checked before the weather cools down, and also continue to check your tire pressure throughout the winter season. Schillinger also recommends investing in good, quality tires. Those who drive within city limits can invest in all-weather tires. He says those who have a further commute and take rural roads might want to consider investing in winter tires. Anyone who needs help preparing their vehicles for the winter months can always schedule an appointment at a local auto shop.

Everyone should carry a Survival Kit in their car year-round, but in Colorado, you need to tailor that for winter driving.

  • a shovel (There are small foldable shovels)
  • windshield scraper
  • flashlight with extra batteries
  • battery powered radio
  • water
  • snack food including energy bars
  • raisins and mini candy bars
  • matches and small candles
  • extra hats, socks and mittens
  • First aid kit with pocket knife
  • Necessary medications
  • blankets or sleeping bag
  • tow chain or rope
  • road salt, sand, or cat litter for traction
  • booster cables
  • emergency flares and reflectors
  • Cell phone adapter to plug into lighter

New to a state with winter weather? We recommend checking out our guide to winter weather driving on snow and ice.

Icy Driving Tips
Wintry weather driving tips

RELATED:

What are the guidelines for plowing Colorado roads?

What is Accident Alert or Cold Reporting?

Statewide Road Conditions via cotrip.org

Want to know where the snowplows are? Click here.

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Helpful reminders if you’re on the road in winter weather:

  • Allow extra time. Leave early and plan on needing extra time to get to your destination when conditions deteriorate.
  • Drive slowly and leave space. Driving takes longer when roads are snowy or slick. Lower your speed as needed and keep your headlights on. Leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Slowly speed up and slow down. Apply the brakes early and evenly to stop. Accelerate at a slow and consistent rate. Maintain momentum when possible. All of these will help your tires maintain traction and avoid skidding.
  • Gas up and have an emergency kit. Keep your tank fueled, especially when a storm is coming. The more gas you have, the longer you can run the heater in the car if you’re ever stranded.
  • Have an emergency kit in case you’re ever stuck. This could include water, food, warm clothing, a flashlight, charger, first aid kit, and anything you’d need if you were stranded for any length of time.

Whether you’re a pro at winter driving or it’s your first winter in Colorado, it’s still important to be prepared and take it slow when you head out for our snowy days ahead.
In Colorado, your all-season tires may not be enough. With that in mind, there are two major laws every Colorado driver needs to know for the winter.

TRACTION LAW:

Wherever the Colorado Department of Transportation or the Colorado State Patrol puts them into effect all vehicles on the highway or interstate listed must have either snow tires, four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, or another alternative traction device.

If you’re caught without those, or with tires that have less than a 1/8th of an inch of tread, you could be fined up to $650 if you cause an accident or block the road.

CHAIN LAW:

Implementation of the passenger vehicle chain law is pretty rare, as it is the last resort for CDOT before shutting down a road.

Under this law, every single vehicle on the road must have chains or an alternative traction device. The fines for violators are again up to $650 if you cause an accident or block the road.

While these laws will be used mostly in the mountains they can be implemented on any Colorado highway by CDOT or local authorities.

For more information on traction and chain laws in Colorado, visit CDOT’s page.

Get your car ready for the Colorado winter