FOX31 spoke with Skyler McKinley with AAA Colorado to get some things you can do ahead of time to prepare, especially if you are new to winter driving.
The biggest recommendation was to try and avoid driving if you can. However, for those who cannot, here are some tips.
Make sure your tires are ready
McKinley said people need to heed their vehicle’s warnings about tire pressure.
“Underinflated tires do not provide enough traction, so you’re really shooting yourself in the foot by not filling up to that number and turning off that warning light,” he said.
He said there should be a recommended minimum tire pressure listed in your vehicle owner’s manual.
And even if you’re not going to be driving in the mountains regularly, you might want to consider getting winter tires.
“We see this play out all the time on Denver residential streets which don’t get plowed,” McKinley said. “Winter tires, M+S (mud and snow) tires with enough tread are useful.”
Replace your windshield wipers if you can
McKinley said you should replace your windshield wiper blades every six months on average because Colorado weather is especially harsh on them.
“If your wiper blades have been streaking or squeaking or skipping or just not working, now’s the time to swap them out,” he said.
He said you can buy replacements at an auto shop and install them yourself.
You should also put your wiper blades up before the storm rolls in so they do not end up frozen to the windshield and lead to damage.
Keep half a tank of gas
If you will be driving a lot, you should fill up your gas to at least a quarter of a tank, but McKinley recommended you should have at least half a tank.
“If you get in a traction emergency or you need AAA’s assistance, it’s going to take us a little longer to get to you,” he explained. “You’re going to want to be able to wait comfortably with the heater running and you don’t want to worry about running out of gas while you’re doing it.”
Clear all of the snow from your car
McKinley said you should clear all of the snow from your car before driving.
“It’s a big safety issue for a lot of other drivers when snow is flying off your car,” he said.
Slow down on the road
Even if you have a state-of-the-art four-wheel drive vehicle with winter tires, that will not stop you from potentially getting into a bad situation if you are driving too fast.
McKinley said even long-time Colorado residents are guilty of this.
“Speed is the number one factor with crashes and traction issues, and it’s completely preventable. Just slow down,” he said.