The Denver area averages 57 inches of snowfall each winter season. Snow and freezing conditions can occur here anytime between September and May, so Denver drivers must be prepared for safe driving in snow.
Although a recent analysis showed that rain causes more fatal car accidents than snow nationwide, Colorado is among 10 states where snow remains the bigger culprit. Among others, those states include Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas and Minnesota.
If you have lived in Colorado for any length of time, you have heard the stories of drivers stranded for hours due to snow and ice. Simply stated, winter driving conditions can quickly turn dangerous or even deadly.
So, what can you do to prepare for safe driving in snow this winter? Below are a few key tips to remember:
In some storms, it is best to stay off the roads entirely. If the Colorado Department of Transportation or your local police recommend limiting your driving during a severe storm, stay home if you can. Visit the CDOT website for traffic alerts, snow advisories and more.
If you absolutely can’t stay home, then choose well-traveled roads that have been plowed or sanded, and remember to slow down.
Before driving anywhere in winter, be sure to prepare your car for potential winter driving hazards. Inflate your tires, as cold air tends to cause air to seep out. Keep your gas tank at least half full all winter to help prevent your gas line from freezing.
Keep an emergency kit in your car that includes a small shovel, water, a blanket, protein-packed snacks, matches and more. Other items to keep in your car: jumper cables, a tire-changing kit, a flashlight, snow chains, sand or kitty litter (for traction if stuck in the snow), and emergency flares.
Keep a charger in your car for your cell phone as well, so you can call for help if needed.
When driving in snow and ice, follow these safety tips:
– Leave a safe distance between your car and others. In the event that you slip and slide on that ice, the extra distance can help prevent a crash.
– Drive slowly. Slower speeds make it less likely you will spin out of control on snow or ice. In snow or ice, aim for 45mph or slower.
– Know when to slow down even more. If your car is sliding and fishtailing, you are driving too fast for conditions. Slow down even more.
– Brake properly. For most cars, it is best to brake with slow, steady pressure.
– Know how to turn. If you do spin out on ice, know how to maneuver your car: Don’t slam on the brakes and turn evenly into the direction the back wheels are sliding.
If your car continues to slide on the ice, it’s sometimes best to wait out the storm. If you can find a safe, warm place to stop and rest for awhile, you could prevent a disaster.
The team at Fuicelli & Lee wishes you a happy and healthy 2018. Stay safe out there this winter, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you are in an accident.
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