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DENVER (KDVR) — The first snow arrived in Colorado on Tuesday, dropping temperatures more than 50 degrees in 24 hours.

Slick roads coated in snow or ice present challenges to drivers but AAA has tips to keep cars on the road and within the law.

Live Updates: Everything you need to know about September snow in Colorado

In addition to common sense practices such as allowing extra time for the commute and keeping an eye on traffic conditions, it’s important to be aware of what it means to drive legally in tricky weather.

Winter Storm Checklist for Colorado

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, these are the rules:

Traction Law (Code 15) 

During an active Traction Law , motorists must have either snow tires, tires with the mud/snow (M+S) designation, or a four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicle.

Pinpoint Weather Alert Day: rain, snow mix to all snow tonight; first freeze overnight

The legislation, which were put in place in August, are aimed at drivers using state highways during winter months. Specifically, it changed the required minimum tire tread for vehicles on snowy roads to 3/16 of an inch. Under the statute, minimum tire tread for dry roads is still 2/16 of an inch. Motorists can also install chains or an alternative traction device (like AutoSock) to be in compliance with the law if your tires aren’t adequate.

Passenger Vehicle Chain Law (Code 16)

During severe winter storms, CDOT will implement a Passenger Vehicle Chain Law (also known as a Code 16). This is the final safety measure before the highway is closed.

When the Passenger Vehicle Chain Law is in effect, every vehicle on the roadway must have chains or an alternative traction device (like AutoSock).


Drivers in violation of the law could be slapped with fines of more than $130. If a vehicle blocks the road because it lacks proper equipment, the motorist could face a fine of more than $650.

The Colorado Department of Transportation serves as a useful resource for staying safe and in compliance with the laws during winter driving.

Road Conditions

  • You can see where snowplows are at any time by visiting here and clicking on the snowplow button.  From there, you can see each plow’s location as well as the speed and direction in which it’s traveling.
  • If you’re looking for the road conditions for a specific area, you can see that on the CDOT Road Conditions map here. You can also look at live feeds from several different locations.
  • You can see real-time travel times here.

Check Colorado interactive radar and zoom in to where you are. Plus, check the radar anytime with the Pinpoint Weather App for iPhone and Android.

Pinpoint Weather has been independently certified as Colorado’s Most Accurate Forecast by WeatheRate.

We’re tracking Denver weather today on FOX31 and Channel 2 News – and when conditions are bad we send out the Weather Beast.