Ski season has just begun in Colorado and the weekend rush to mountain towns will soon be in full swing. According to CDOT, Eisenhower Tunnel sees between 27,000 and 37,000 vehicles per day from November to March, with the heaviest of traffic occurring Friday through Sunday. If you are heading to the slopes and plan on driving yourself, it is important that you adjust your behaviors to help ensure everyone makes it safely to their destination.
When driving on I-70 during ski season, you are contending with heavy traffic and, more often than not, pockets of wet and icy conditions. From the valley of Clear Creek around Georgetown where ice may never fully melt through the higher elevations of Western Slope towns where streets may not be snow-free for months on end, wintertime driving in Colorado can be treacherous. However, with a little care, you can greatly reduce your risks of being involved in an auto accident on your way to and home from your favorite ski town.
Winter Driving Tips
First and foremost, before heading to the slopes make sure your car is in proper working condition. Ensure brakes are working properly, all lights and signals are functioning, and that your car is ready to tackle mountain driving. Tires with good traction or snow tires are absolutely essential for safe wintertime driving in the Colorado High Country as well. You should never drive with worn tires – not even during the warmer months.
Once you have ensured your car is up to the task of winter driving in Colorado, take a look at your driving behaviors to see where you can adjust for safety. When driving in traffic during the cold winter months, allow extra space between yourself and the car in front of you. Even in stop-and-go traffic, try to allow at least four-car-lengths when in motion and two-car-lengths when stopped. This will help give you time to respond appropriately to changing traffic patterns while driving and help prevent your rear-ending another vehicle while stopped – even if you are struck from behind.
Safe driving distance is essential. So too are safe driving habits. These include:
- Refraining from alcohol and marijuana consumption if you are going to be driving
- Not using your cellphone at all while driving
- Obeying all traffic signs and signals
- Avoiding aggressive behaviors
- Signaling your intent
- Adjusting speed in poor weather and heavy traffic
By taking your time, driving carefully, and allowing plenty of space for other vehicles, you reduce your risks of causing an auto accident and improve your chances of avoiding one being caused by someone else’s negligent behavior.
It is also a good idea to have a winter road safety kit handy in case of emergency. These can be purchased inexpensively at most sporting goods stores, but are just as easy to make yourself. A good kit will include blankets, flashlights, candles and matches, nonperishable foods, and flares. Kitty litter, tire chains, tow ropes, and jumper cables are also good to have on hand in case of winter driving emergencies.
Ski and Snowboard Safety
Once you safely arrive at your destination, don’t forget to practice safety on the mountain as well. Check out our blog from last year on how to avoid ski and snowboard accidents and test your knowledge about ski accidents and how to handle them with the short quiz below. If you have questions or need help, get in touch with our Colorado ski accident attorneys to learn what we can do for you.
No matter if you are injured on your way to the mountains or once you’ve hit the slopes, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries. Call Leventhal Sar LLC at 720.667.3030 to schedule a free consultation and learn how our Denver personal injury attorneys can help.