‘Auto Sock’ devices now available | VailDaily.com

‘Auto Sock’ devices now available

Daily staff report
newsroom@vaildaily.com

EAGLE COUNTY — With the ski season beginning, it’s time to start thinking about winter driving, and the I-70 Mountain Corridor Coalition is announcing a new program that will help drivers travel more safely in snowy or icy conditions.

Through a partnership between the I-70 Coalition and the McGee Company, several retailers along the Interstate 70 mountain corridor will sell the AutoSock, an effective winter traction device that can be used in place of chains.

“Every winter, the Colorado State Patrol sees crashes in which tires that are inadequate for the road conditions are either the primary factor or a major contributor to the crash,” I-70 Coalition Program Manager Margaret Bowes said. “Through this program, we’re giving drivers access to an easy-to-use tool that significantly improves traction in wintry conditions.”

Vehicles with inadequate tires can have a significant negative impact on winter I-70 travel, resulting in accidents, highway closures and unnecessarily long delays. On one snowy day in 2014, the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Courtesy Patrol program moved 22 spun-out vehicles on the eastbound I-70 approach to the Eisenhower Tunnel. Of the 22 vehicles, 19 had bald tires.

A driver’s best defense for winter driving conditions is a good set of snow tires with at least one-eighth-inch tread depth. But for travelers caught in a winter storm without adequate tires, a traction device can save the day.

The AutoSock is a lightweight textile cover designed to help vehicles get traction on snow and ice. The I-70 Coalition has partnered with McGee Company, the U.S. AutoSock distributor, to provide the devices to businesses along the mountain corridor at very favorable terms, with the goal of increasing the product’s availability to travelers.

“The AutoSock is a lighter, faster, more effective alternative to tire chains,” said Chuck McGee, owner of McGee Company. “We’re excited about this partnership with the I-70 Coalition to make the device more accessible to I-70 travelers this winter.”

The AutoSock is currently available at the following locations:

• Shop N Save, West Vail.

• Conoco, Copper Mountain.

• NAPA Auto Parts, Frisco.

• Ski Country Shell, Frisco.

• Downieville Fuel Stop, Dumont

• Mountain Tool and Feed, Idaho Springs

The AutoSock’s retail price is $100, and the Colorado Department of Transportation has designated the device as an approved alternative to chains when chain laws are in effect.

“Having these traction devices more readily available throughout the I-70 Mountain Corridor will hopefully result in better-equipped travelers, fewer spun-out vehicles and a smoother-running Interstate 70 this winter season,” Bowes said.

For more information, go to http://www.i70solutions.org.