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Be prepared for winter weather in Colorado

Posted at 3:42 PM, Mar 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-12 17:43:00-04

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 Wednesday morning and begin ramping up as we move into the late morning and afternoon.

The winds will be gusting into the 50 to 70 mph range around the Pikes Peak region, and this combined with heavy snow will lead to blizzard conditions across most of the city of Colorado Springs. Far less snow is forecast south of El Paso County to Pueblo County and south as well as the plains, but very strong winds will still make travel slow from low visibility.

Latest forecast from the First Alert 5 Weather Team

Weather closings and delays: Wednesday, March 13

As we’re clearly not done with winter for the season, 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.


News5 is Always Watching Out for You. 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.

TRACTION LAW:

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.

CHAIN LAW:

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

RELATED:

Download the KOAA News5 iOS app here / Download the KOAA News5 Android app here

Download the First Alert 5 WX iOS app here  /  Download the First Alert 5 WX Android app here

What are the guidelines for plowing Colorado roads?

What is Accident Alert or Cold Reporting?

Statewide Road Conditions via cotrip.org

Want to know where the snowplows are? Click here.