Colorado was one of the top ten fastest growing states in the nation last year with more than 80,000 people moving in. 

Colorado Springs’ population has risen from 420,000 residents to 472,000 over the past eight years.  Some people living here now will likely be driving in snow for the first time this winter.  

Driving in snow can be frightening and dangerous if you don’t know how to do it.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, winter storms, bad weather, and sloppy road conditions are a factor in nearly half a million crashes and more than 2,000 road deaths every winter.

If you, a friend, or a loved one has never driven in snow before, then please send them this list of helpful winter driving tips so they can stay safe on the road.

Tips for Driving in the Snow

  • Keep cold-weather gear in your car. This should include extra food and water, warm clothing, a flashlight, a glass scraper, blankets, and medications.
  • Check your tires. Make sure your tires are inflated and have plenty of tread. If you’re driving in the mountains, you may also need tire chains.
  • Fuel up. Make sure your tank is at least half full at all times.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area. This could lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide, leading to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Do not use cruise control. Winter conditions need your full attention. If your wheels lose traction and start to spin, cruise control will continue to accelerate and may cause you to lose control of the car. 
  • Drive slowly. Adjust your speed to account for lower traction, and apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids.
  • Increase your following distance to five to six seconds. In case your car starts to slip or skid, having extra space could help you avoid a crash.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have anti-lock brakes or not, keep firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal when stopping. Do not slam on your brakes
  • Don’t power up hills. Before you reach the hill, try to gain some momentum to carry you to the top. Once you reach the hill, slow down and carefully proceed. On a narrow road, the person going up has the right away.

Tips for Long-Distance Winter Travel

As we get closer to the holiday season, there’s a chance that you could be traveling during a winter storm. It’s best not to drive during bad weather, but sometimes that’s not possible.

So if you’re planning any road trips during the winter, here are some quick tips to make sure you get to your destination safely:

  • Be prepared. Get your vehicle checked before traveling to make sure everything is working.
  • Check the weather. Check the weather along your route and delay your trip if bad weather is expected. You can even opt-in for alerts on a smartphone or navigation system that will notify you about the weather.
  • Stay connected. Before hitting the road, tell others that you’re traveling, and let them know your route, destination, and estimated time of arrival. If anything happens, at least someone will know where you may be and can help find you if you get stranded or lost.

If You Get Stuck in the Snow…

No one wants to be stuck in the snow, but here are some tips if you find yourself stuck:

  • Snow Removal – The first thing you want to do is remove any snow and ice away from the drive tires. Clear a path a few feet in front and behind the tires for when you rock the car back and forth. Also, remove any snow that’s higher than your vehicle’s ground clearance.
  • Rock Your Car – This process involves carefully switching your car from drive to reverse. It’s designed to clear out some of the snow around your tires and build momentum to get unstuck. When you’re rocking the car, don’t floor the gas and don’t switch gears too fast or you can potentially ruin your transmission.
  • Improve Traction – You can use sand, salt, kitty litter, and dirt. Put this down in front of your drive tires if you’re having trouble getting traction. Put down handfuls at a time and then try the gas. You may have to repeat this multiple times.  Snow chains can also improve your car’s traction.
  • Ask For Help – Sometimes asking for help is the quickest method. If you have a passenger, ask them to drive or push. If you’re by yourself, you may have to ask passersby. Just make sure your car is in drive when people are pushing.

In addition to the tips above, here’s what you should do if you are on a less busy road:

  • Stay with your vehicle. Your vehicle is temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Don’t try to walk in a severe snowstorm. It’s easy to lose sight of your vehicle and get lost.
  • Be visible. Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna of your vehicle or attach one at the top of a rolled-up window to signal distress. At night, keep the dome light on if possible. Dome lights only use a small amount of electricity and will make it easier for rescuers to find you. You can also light flares in front of and behind the car.
  • Clear the exhaust pipe. If your exhaust pipe is clogged or blocked, it can cause a deadly carbon monoxide gas leak.
  • Stay warm.Pack blankets and heavy clothing to use in case of an emergency.
  • Conserve fuel. If possible, only run the engine and heater long enough to take a brief break from the chill. This will help to conserve fuel.

At Norton Frickey P.C., your safety and wellbeing are our top priority. Representing clients throughout the Colorado Springs metro area, we focus on helping injured victims secure comprehensive compensation for damages caused by someone else’s negligence.

If you’re injured in a car accident this winter, contact our Colorado Springs law firm to schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer.

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