colorado winter driving tipsIf your driving doesn’t change much from July to December, it’s time to brush up on the basics of Colorado winter driving. When the temperature drops, motorists need to step up their game to protect themselves and others on the road. In order to drive safely and courteously throughout the winter, review these Colorado winter driving tips and tricks.

One of the biggest mistakes motorists make is heading out on the road with the assumption that they weather is going to stay the way it is. Colorado winter driving conditions can change in the blink of an eye, shifting from sunny and bright to a driving snowstorm in a few hours or less. Winter road conditions in Colorado can change quickly, so plan accordingly.

There are several things you can do to improve your road safety on slick or snowy roads. Make sure you give snowplowers and sanding trucks lots of extra room, and don’t pass them- the road is probably worse in front of them than behind. Remember that even if you drive a vehicle with front-wheel or four-wheel drive, it won’t stop quickly in icy conditions. Allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the vehicle in front of you.

Don’t use cruise control. It reduces your reaction time to sudden changes, like a stopped vehicle just coming into view. Keeping your speed under your control helps make sure your vehicle won’t do something unexpected while driving on icy roads. If you do need to stop, brake gently to avoid skidding. Keep your lights on and your lights and windshield clean so you’re as visible as possible to other motorists.

If you are stranded in a storm, never leave your vehicle. Periodically run your engine to keep you warm and wait for help. Keeping the top half of your gas tank full improves your traction and gives you a larger margin of error in case you are stranded. Winterizing your vehicle’s safety kit by including sand, a lock de-icer, and jumper cables is a must.

Though exploring the Colorado mountains is tempting, resist during the winter months. Driving conditions in the Rocky Mountains can quickly morph from safe to slick, so know your route ahead of time and stick to it. Using a lower gear can help you to maintain traction on snowy or icy hills, and be especially wary on bridges, overpasses, and less-traveled roads- they’ll be the first to freeze.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember while Colorado winter driving is to slow down. Ice can be deceptively hard to see, and even de-iced roads may be slick. Slowing down, especially in low visibility or whiteout conditions, reduces your chances of skidding and losing control of your vehicle.

If the road conditions are dangerous, it’s best not to drive at all if possible. Take public transportation, or consider spending the day working at home. Use these tips to minimize winter driving risks in Colorado. For more information, or to find a Colorado auto and transmission repair mechanic near you, visit