Last week’s storms marked start of CDOT’s winter efforts | VailDaily.com
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Last week’s storms marked start of CDOT’s winter efforts

Enterprise staff report

Colorado Department of Transportation maintenance personnel began their snow shifts this week as the first significant snowfall hits the state.

As winter driving conditions launched for the 2014-15 season, CDOT urged motorists to check conditions and be prepared for winter driving.

“Although it’s been a mild fall thus far, we are more than prepared to battle winter weather this week,” said CDOT Deputy Director of Maintenance Mike O’Neill, who oversees the Denver metro area and the western portion of the Interstate 70 corridor.

Current road and weather conditions are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via reports and traffic cameras on the http://www.cotrip.org web site or by calling 511. Visit http://www.coloradodot.info and click on the cell-phone icon in the upper right-hand corner.

WINTER TRAVEL TIPS

Log on to CDOT’s Winter Driving web page at: http://www.coloradodot.info/travel/winter-driving for road conditions, winter driving tips and other information; or for I-70 West, please see http://www.coloradodot.info/travel/winter-driving/I-70WestTrafficMgmt.html.

Additionally, here are some of CDOT’s safe winter driving suggestions:

Be sure you have good snow tires. How do you know if you need new snow tires? Insert a quarter into the tire tread upside down, with Washington’s head going in first; if the top of George’s head is covered by the tread, your tires are good. Do this test in multiple points around each tire. If the top of his head is visible at any point, you need new tires.

Always keep the top half of your gas tank full. It can give you better traction and gives you a bigger margin of error if you get stuck and have to keep the engine running periodically to keep warm.

If you are stuck in a serious storm do not leave your car. Run the engine periodically and wait for help.

Carry blankets, water, a flashlight, a shovel, some nutrition bars or other food for sustenance. Winterize your vehicle’s safety kit by including extra blankets, sand to help gain traction in the event you become stuck on ice or snow, jumper cables, an ice scraper and lock de-icer.

Remember that 4-wheel drive does not mean 4-wheel stop. A 4-wheel drive vehicle will not stop any better in icy conditions, especially if you have inadequate snow tires.

Know the chain laws. Chain restrictions in Colorado are most often put into effect for commercial vehicles (semi-trailer trucks) and do not usually affect passenger vehicles.

Drive for the conditions. In poor visibility or even whiteout conditions, don’t drive faster than you can see ahead. High speeds in poor or no visibility can lead to large chain reaction accidents.

In addition to these winter driving tips, CDOT reminds all motorists to respect winter weather, conduct a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle, leave extra space between your automobile and others on the road, including plow trucks.

Of course, always buckle up.


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