With winter storms in full swing in Colorado, it is important to know the laws and regulations put in place by officials when driving during heavy winter weather. If you are traveling around Colorado during the winter, you may need to invest in some new tires.

Colorado Passenger Vehicle Traction Law

The Colorado passenger traction law is put in place during winter storms by the Colorado Department of Transportation. During an active Traction Law, all motor vehicles must comply with either:

  1. 4 Wheel Drive (4WD) or All Wheel Drive (AWD) car and a 3/16” tread depth
  2. Winter tires and 3/16” tread depth
  3. Tires with all weather rating and 3/16” tread depth
  4. Chains or another type of traction mechanism
  5. Tires with mud and snow designation (M+S) and 3/16” tread depth

On I-70 from Dotsero to Morrison, the Traction Law is always active from September 1st to May 31st.

Colorado Passenger Vehicle Chain Law

The Colorado Passenger Vehicle Chain Law is put in place to help vehicles effectively dig through frozen and snowy roads. Snow chains can help prevent a driver from losing control of their vehicle. Created in 1996, Colorado’s chain law forces vehicles to have chains or another approved traction device during severe winter weather. The chain law applies to all state, federal and interstate highways. All vehicles weighing less than 16,001 pounds must have chains or an alternative traction device when traveling in an active chain law zone.

Common Fines

If you do not follow the Passenger Vehicle Traction Law put in place, you are not only putting yourself and others at risk, you risk receiving a hefty fine. If vehicles do not comply when a Traction or Chain law is put in place, a driver could be fined more than $130. If a driver blocks the highway due to non-compliant vehicles, they could be fined over $650. It is important to follow the laws put in place by Colorado officials to keep you and others safe on the road during winter storms.

Check the Current Condition of Your Tires

In order to determine the current tread conditions of your tires, you’ll need to perform the Quarter Test. To test the tread of your tires using a quarter:

  • Insert the quarter into the tread upside down
  • Check if the top of George Washington’s head is covered by the tread. Do this multiple times around each tire
  • If the top of his head is covered by the tread, your tires do not need to be replaced.
  • If the top of his head is visible, you will need to replace your tires.

Keep Track of Current Road Conditions

If you are planning on leaving your home during a winter storm, it is important to check road conditions before leaving for your safety as well as other drivers’ safety on the road. In Colorado, you can keep track of current road conditions at https://www.cotrip.org/.

Consult With an Experienced Accident Attorney in Colorado

Driving during the winter can be dangerous, so it is important to prepare your vehicle for winter weather to avoid car accidents. If you get into a motor vehicle accident, consult with a lawyer who has experience handling winter auto accident cases. Thornton car accident attorney Sean Dormer of Dormer Harpring, LLC accepts clients who have been rejected by other lawyers and has successfully won cases in court despite the odds.