Be prepared for winter weather in Colorado, pack an emergency kit

Posted at 10:07 AM, Nov 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-25 12:07:40-05

A powerful winter storm is making its way towards southern Colorado as well as much of the rest of the state. Activity is expected to begin late Monday afternoon begin ramping up mid-evening. Tuesday will be an interesting travel day for those making the normal commute and people heading out to visit family for Thanksgiving.

Snowfall will be accompanied by very strong winds gusting from 40 to 60 mph for areas along and especially east of the interstate from Tuesday morning through the afternoon. Snowfall totals will vary wildly across El Paso County, with the largest accumulations showing up from Monument Hill to Castle Rock. Driving north of Monument after midnight tonight is not advised and will be extremely dangerous Tuesday morning through the afternoon.

Latest forecast from the First Alert 5 Weather Team

We thought we’d remind you of a few things to remember if you’re on the road in winter weather.

  • Allow extra time. Leave early and plan on needing extra time to get to your destination when conditions deteriorate.
  • Drive slowly and leave space. Driving takes longer when roads are snowy or slick. Lower your speed as needed and keep your headlights on. Leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Slowly speed up and slow down. Apply the brakes early and evenly to stop. Accelerate at a slow and consistent rate. Maintain momentum when possible. All of these will help your tires maintain traction and avoid skidding.
  • Gas up and have an emergency kit. Keep your tank fueled, especially when a storm is coming. The more gas you have, the longer you can run the heater in the car if you’re ever stranded.
  • Have an emergency kit in case you’re ever stuck. This could include water, food, warm clothing, a flashlight, charger, first aid kit, and anything you’d need if you were stranded for any length of time.

Whether you’re a pro at winter driving or it’s your first winter in Colorado, it’s still important to be prepared and take it slow when you head out for our snowy days ahead.

In Colorado, your all-season tires may not be enough. With that in mind, there are two major laws every Colorado driver needs to know for the winter.


Wherever the Colorado Department of Transportation or the Colorado State Patrol puts them into effect all vehicles on the highway or interstate listed must have either snow tires, four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, or another alternative traction device.

If you’re caught without those, or with tires that have less than a 1/8th of an inch of tread, you could be fined up to $650 if you cause an accident or block the road.


Implementation of the passenger vehicle chain law is pretty rare, as it is the last resort for CDOT before shutting down a road.

Under this law, every single vehicle on the road must have chains or an alternative traction device. The fines for violators are again up to $650 if you cause an accident or block the road.

While these laws will be used mostly in the mountains they can be implemented on any Colorado highway by CDOT or local authorities.

For more information on traction and chains laws in Colorado, visit CDOT’s page.

Everyone should carry a Survival Kit in their car year round, but in Colorado, you need to tailor that for winter driving.

  • a shovel (There are small foldable shovels)
  • windshield scraper
  • flashlight with extra batteries
  • battery powered radio
  • water
  • snack food including energy bars
  • raisins and mini candy bars
  • matches and small candles
  • extra hats, socks and mittens
  • First aid kit with pocket knife
  • Necessary medications
  • blankets or sleeping bag
  • tow chain or rope
  • road salt, sand, or cat litter for traction
  • booster cables
  • emergency flares and reflectors
  • Cell phone adapter to plug into lighter

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