Zephyr Lodge Condo in the Rocky Mountains


Winter Driving Safety


Winter driving in the Colorado Rockies can be tricky.  The Colorado Dept of Transportation uses the newest equipment and methods to clear snow, and the passes are kept open 365 days a year.  Berthoud Pass has recently undergone a major widening and straightening project to improve safety and driving ease.  Still, we advise caution and suggest following the following tips courtesy of Firestone and Bridgestone tires. 

  • Drive slowly and remember that posted speed limits identify the maximum speed allowed when weather conditions are ideal. Law enforcement agencies can write citation to motorists driving the posted speed limit if weather conditions warrant a slower speed.
  • Be more alert to the actions of other drivers. Anticipate cars coming from side streets and put extra distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. If someone is too close behind you, don't speed up; slow down or let them go around you.
  • To make sure other drivers see you, always drive with your lights on. At night, in fog and heavy snow conditions, low beams may be more effective than high beams.
  • Avoid driving with one wheel on the shoulder of the road unless you are going very slowly. The difference in tread resistance can cause you to lose control at higher speeds.
  • Keep a light touch on the brakes. Even with anti-lock braking systems (sometimes called ABS), you should apply light pressure to avoid locking the brakes and causing a skid. Pumping the brake pedal should be smooth action, going from light to firm in a gradual move. Tip toe to slow is a good motto for winter drivers.
  • Keep both hands on the wheel and keep the wheel pointed where you want your car to go. While it may sound overly-simple, it could help you in a skid.
  • While manual transmissions may provide greater control to assist with braking, be careful when using downshifting as a way to slow the vehicle. Gear changes, particularly abrupt ones, can upset a vehicle's balance and cause a skid to occur, especially in turns.

Want to learn more?
Visit these websites:
www.dot.state.co.us/publications/Brochures/NewSlickTips.pdf  -- contains simple tips and is from the Colorado Department of Transportation. http://www.bb4wa.com/articles/winter.htm -- is written for 4WD users and points out some of the false securities experienced by those drivers.

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