Complete Guide to Winter-Ready Driving in Colorado

winter-ready driving in coloradoIntroduction

Winter in Colorado brings picturesque snow-covered landscapes, but it also presents unique challenges on the roads. As a driver in the Centennial State, being winter-ready is crucial for your safety and the safety of others. In this guide, we’ll provide you with essential tips to navigate through the harsh Colorado winters and reduce the risk of car accidents.

1. Winterizing Your Vehicle

Ensure your vehicle is equipped to handle winter conditions:

  • Install snow tires for better traction. Some of the major highways in Denver require snow tires or chains when the weather gets dangerous.
  • Check your brakes, battery, and fluids regularly. If you’re going to the mountains, there are often long stretches where there are little to no stopping points.
  • Replace windshield wipers and top up washer fluid.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid fuel line freezing.

2. Safe Driving Practices:

Follow these safe driving tips to navigate icy and snowy roads:

  • Reduce your speed and increase the following distance. During winter months, the roads can be icy and more difficult to break than usual.
  • Use gentle acceleration and braking to avoid skidding.
  • Brake before turns and accelerate gently out of them.
  • Avoid sudden movements and sharp turns.
  • Use your headlights, even during the day, for visibility.

3. Emergency Kit Essentials:

Prepare for unexpected situations with a well-stocked emergency kit:

  • Blankets, extra warm clothing, and gloves.
  • Non-perishable snacks and water.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries.
  • First aid kit.
  • Shovel and ice scraper.
  • Jumper cables.

4. Stay Informed:

Keep an eye on weather forecasts and road conditions:

  • Check local news and weather updates.
  • Plan your route in advance, considering road conditions and closures. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is a great resource for checking current conditions and closures.
  • If conditions worsen, consider delaying your trip or using public transportation. There are several trains and busses that are available for use throughout Denver.

5. Defensive Driving Techniques:

Adopt defensive driving strategies to stay safe:

  • Be cautious at intersections and give yourself extra time to stop.
  • Watch for black ice, especially on bridges and overpasses.
  • Avoid distractions – focus on the road. Nothing is more important than your safety- the phone can wait!
  • Be aware of other drivers and their actions. Even though you may consider yourself a good driver, you can’t always count on others to be the same.

6. Plan for Emergencies:

Know what to do if you find yourself in a difficult situation:

  • If you skid, steer in the direction you want to go. It can be helpful to pulse your breaks in this scenario.
  • If you get stuck, use your emergency kit and call for assistance.
  • Keep a list of emergency contacts in your car.


Winter-ready driving in Colorado requires preparation, vigilance, and a commitment to safety. By following these tips, you can reduce the risk of accidents and ensure a safer journey during the winter months. Stay safe on the roads and enjoy the beauty of Colorado’s winter wonderland.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence in Colorado, please know you don’t have to go through this alone. Call Larson Larimer Schneider at (303) 221-0039 or fill out the contact form online for a free, no-obligation consultation.