Snow and plunging temperatures make for dangerous driving

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DENVER -- The falling snow and temperatures have already prompted an accident alert in Boulder, meaning drivers are responsible for reporting minor accidents without police response.

As conditions continue to deteriorate overnight, experts say drivers need to follow some important advice on the road.

"I wasn't expecting this tonight," said Casey Lybbert, who found herself driving in the snow on her way back from work in Louisville on Tuesday evening.

Lybbert pulled into a nearby gas station before making her trip so that she could make sure her car was ready for the challenge.

"When it gets cold like this the tires leak," Lybbert said.

According to the Colorado State Patrol, the extra attention and time is the most critical factor in avoiding accidents in winter weather.

"That speed limit sign that you see on the side of the road is for dry roadways," said Sergeant Mike Baker with the Colorado State Patrol. "It's not for snowy roadways, wet roadways, icy roadways. They have to adjust their speeds accordingly."

In addition to speed, driving instructor Bob Lightfoot said being safe on snow and ice comes down to space as well.

"You want to keep a 3-second following distance on good roads," said Lightfoot, an instructor for Learn to Drive.

On bad roads, Lightfoot says there should be more like four to five seconds between you and the car in front of you. He says the extra room will greatly reduce your chances of an accident. To separate yourself he says it's almost always better to simply ease off the accelerator instead of hitting the brakes.

"The intuitive thing is to use your brake a lot, and that's not necessarily the smoothest strategy," Lightfoot said.

As the weather began testing drivers for real Tuesday night, Lybbert shared her own strategies.

"To not drive if I can avoid it or to just go slower and not take risks," She said.
"Like low tires."