Drivers should be prepared for winter driving conditions today as a storm passes from west-central to east-central Colorado. The forecast calls for two to five inches of snow from the storm, which began Monday night and is expected to last until at least mid-day today before leaving the state.
Drivers should be prepared for possible slick conditions, especially on bridges, overpasses and interchange ramps. In addition, windy conditions are expected so blowing and drifting snow is possible, reducing visibility, especially on the Eastern Plains.
Maintenance crews from the Colorado Department of Transportation are now on show shift in most of Summit and Clear Creek counties as well as a small area in Grand County. Snow shifts are when crews alternate between shifts of 12 hours on, 12 hours off. A minimum of 20 trucks are operating and will continue until the results of the storm have been safely cleared away.
A vehicle temporarily closed US Highway 6 at Loveland Pass Monday after snowy conditions caused it to run off the road. It took half an hour to re-open the road. CDOT recommends that drivers be cautious and prepared if planning to drive during winter conditions.
Drivers should not pass plow trucks on the right and be aware that the plow blade may be extended, making it unsafe. The safest course of action is to follow behind the plow as it clears the road.
Keeping the top half of the gas tank full can give better traction and a bigger margin of error if the vehicle becomes stuck, requiring leaving the engine running for warmth. Do not leave your vehicle in a storm, but run the engine periodically and wait for help, making sure the tailpipe is clear of snow and ice.
Stay safe by being prepared with blankets, water, a flashlight, a shovel and nutrition bars or other food in case of being stuck and needing to wait out a storm. 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.
Remember that a 4-wheel-drive vehicle will not stop any better in icy conditions, especially if you have inadequate snow tires.
Be 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.
Make 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.
When visibility is poor or there are whiteout conditions, don't drive faster than conditions allow. High speeds can lead to chain reaction accidents. Also remember you can't see around mountain curves and corners either.
It's a good idea to conduct a pre-trip vehicle inspection, leaving extra space between your automobile and others on the road, and never drinking and driving. Always remember to buckle up.
Current information on road and weather conditions by viewing the www.cotrip.org web site or by calling 511. Up-to-date information is available by subscribing for e-mail or text messages. Sign up by visiting www.coloradodot.info, clicking the cell-phone icon in the upper right corner and checking geographic areas of interest. It is free of charge but standard text message rates do apply. Updates also are available via Twitter @coloradodot and on CDOT's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/coloradodot.