The Colorado Department of Transportation is ready for the winter storm season.
"Although the number of employees and equipment has stayed the same in recent years, we've added other tools to keep the highways safe and open for travel," said CDOT Executive Director Russ George. "By working 12-hour shifts during snow storms, crews will be out around the clock on weekdays, weekends and holidays, allowing motorists to reach their destination."
CDOT's Region Two - which includes all of southeastern Colorado - will have 200 maintenance employees working this winter. In addition, 137 pieces of equipment will be used, including 38 plows that apply de-icers. "We're ready to go when the first big snow storm hits," says CDOT Maintenance Superintendent Jerry Hoefler," and we'll be using all of our available resources, our automatic bridge de-icing systems and opening up the chain station when conditions warrant."
Road reports are available at www.cotrip.org. Citizens can sign up for email and text alerts at www.coloradodot.info.
Drivers can stay safer by:
- Not passing plow trucks on the right. Also, a plow blade may be extended, making it unsafe. Drive slowly and let the plow clear the road for you.
- Always keeping 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. Make sure the tailpipe is clear of snow and ice.
- Carrying 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.
- Remembering 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.
- Being sure of your route. Don't go exploring in the back-country without some local knowledge, especially during a storm or when one is bearing down anywhere near your location.
- Being sure you have good tires. The Colorado State Patrol recommends at least 1/8 of an inch tread depth. Chain restrictions in Colorado are most often put into effect for commercial vehicles (semi-trailer trucks) and do not usually affect passenger vehicles.