DENVER (KDVR) — Freezing temperatures are almost here.
Denver’s forecast for Friday hits the upper 50s. While the warmth still lingers in early October, winter is on the way. As the cool weather moves in, it’s time to start thinking about snow tires.
For the Denver metro area, the rule of thumb is to switch to snow tires once temperatures drop consistently below 45 degrees, which happens quicker than you think, according to Skyler McKinley with AAA.
While it can be around 80 degrees when the sun is up, it’s below 50 degrees when the sun sets. Over the past five years in October, Denver has seen anywhere from trace amounts of snow to multiple inches.
But it’s not snow tire season just yet.
Generally, McKinley marks the end of the leaf-peeping season as the time to put on snow tires. While it’s still a little too early, appointments should be booked now, especially if you’ve never had snow tires before.
“You might want to make that appointment pretty soon; the tire shops get swamped. There are still some production and supply chain concerns,” said McKinley. “So, you probably want to get in there sooner than later, at least get that appointment booked.”
McKinley recommends getting two sets of tires, a pair of summer tires and a pair of winter tires. He suggests the snow tires with the “M + S,” mud and snow, designation.
However, this is not always possible due to money and storage concerns. In this case, snow tires are not 100% necessary, said McKinley.
You can get away with all-season tires in the winter if you change your driving behavior and operate much slower, which you should be doing with snow tires anyway.
“You can do everything right, you can have an all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle with top-of-the-line snow tires and then you’re still going to be in a crash because four-wheel drive does not mean four-wheel stop,” said McKinley. “So, just because your car is perfectly outfitted for the conditions, it doesn’t mean you can drive any faster than the folks who don’t necessarily hold all that equipment. The way you drive still really matters.”
Even though it’s almost freezing at night, it’s still a little too early. However, if you are planning on getting snow tires, book the appointment now so that you have your tires for late October when the temperatures drop below 45 degrees.