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Invest in Winter Tires, Stay Informed about Conditions on the Road, and Avoid Being Fined

As Coloradans, we are proud of our beautiful state and all its natural wonders. We are lucky to be able to enjoy amazing landscapes on a daily basis; no matter the season, you can easily find a breathtaking view without having to go too far.

Colorado winter driving

The weather can be more unpredictable, though, and it can sometimes change from sunny to blowing snow within the hour. It is also no secret that winters in Colorado are pretty harsh, so it is of vital importance to be prepared for the winter driving conditions ahead of time.

Today, we want to take some time to share valuable information and tips for you to get your car ready for driving in the Colorado winter and avoid any accidents or significant fines while taking a trip through our colorful state.

Before the Trip Checklists

Before leaving on a road trip, make sure that all of these are in safe operating condition:

  • Windshield Wiper Fluid & Wiper Blades Antifreeze
  • Heater/Defroster
  • Lights, Battery, Brakes
  • Fuel System and a Full Tank of Gas
  • Ignition, Exhaust System
  • Tire Tread

Also, make sure you pack these safety and emergency items in your vehicle:

  • Flares/reflectors to signal for help and warn other motorists
  • Sturdy scraper/snow brush/snow shovel to clear snow
  • Battery or crank-powered radio to listen to emergency broadcasts
  • Flashlight with extra batteries or crank-powered flashlight
  • Survival blanket or sleeping bag
  • Chemical hand warmers
  • Extra set of clothes, including coat, hat, mittens, boots, etc.
  • Gallon jug of water and nonperishable food
  • First Aid Kit and essential medications
  • Tire chains and tow strap
  • Non-clumping kitty litter/sand for traction
  • Jumper cables
  • Extra cloth or paper towels for cleanup if necessary
  • Deck of cards or board game for entertainment

Vehicle Traction & Chain Laws

If weather conditions require, the Colorado Department Of Transportation (CDOT) can implement these laws, otherwise known as Code 15 and Code 16 respectively, the latter being the final safety measure before a highway is closed. Drivers will be notified of an active Traction or Chain Law by road signage,, or GovDelivery notifications.

Operation TireSafe

If you have worn tires on your car or even All-Season Tires, things can get tricky and even fatal! Whenever a Traction Law is in effect, your A/S tires just won’t cut it (see image below)!! Also, if you don’t carry the proper equipment during a Traction Law, you could face fines of up to $650!

Operation TireSafe CDOT

Source: CDOT

The Quarter Test

How to know if you need new tires? The Quarter Test is a quick and easy way to see if your tires meet the minimum tread depth (one-eighth inch) during a Traction Law in Colorado:

  • Insert a quarter into the tire tread upside down, with Washington’s head going in first.
  • If the tread covers the top of George’s head, your tires are OK. Do this test at multiple points around each tire.
  • If the top of his head is visible at any point on the tire, they won’t meet the Traction Law minimum, and you should consider new tires.

At Mike’s Auto Spa, we want you to stay safe on the road this winter. We also want your vehicle to be protected from road salt damage as much as possible, so we offer an Underbody Wash with Rust Inhibitor at both of our full-service car wash shops in Lakewood and Westminster.