8 Winter Driving Tips For Colorado Drivers
Anyone who’s weathered a Colorado winter knows something about our unpredictable climate; from abrupt heat waves to jarring temperature drops, sudden gales and blizzards, ice storms followed by flash melts — and sometimes all of the above in one day. Like all winter sports, driving in the Centennial State’s colder months takes preparation, savvy, and patience. Here are some useful driving tips for getting safely through the storms ahead.
1. Know your vehicle — and its limitations.
With the advent of antilock brakes and traction control, many of the old rules about winter driving, such as pumping your brakes in a skid, no longer apply. But drivers still need to know what kind of technology they’re equipped with, and what it can and can’t do. In the depths of winter, many mountain roads shouldn’t be attempted without all-wheel drive, high clearance, and/or tire chains; and, contrary to some drivers’ beliefs, even all-wheel drive can be useless if you happen to be on a friction-free stretch of ice.
2. Bring the right tools.
At the very least, you should have an ice scraper and snow brush, proper winter clothing, and cell phone (no texting, please) along for the ride. For long-range trips across Colorado, blankets, food and water, an emergency kit, any needed medications, and a snow shovel should be on board, too, and keep plenty of gas in the tank to help keep the fuel line from freezing.
3. Brush up on visibility.
Slippery roads aren’t the only problem. A major hazard in many winter driving situations is limited visibility, thanks to blowing snow and the icing of windshields and wiper blades (which should be replaced every year). Incredibly, drivers often compound the problem by not bothering to clear their windows (particularly their back windows) before hitting the road, figuring the defroster will eventually take care of it. Taking a few extra minutes to scrape and defrost before setting out greatly increases your prospects of being able to see what’s going on around you and avoid a crash.
4. Don’t be a statistic.
Cars that offer keyless ignitions and remote starting features have compounded a common problem — people leaving cars to “warm up” in closed garages, which can lead to potentially fatal levels of carbon monoxide overpowering drivers or other family members. Never leave your car idling in a closed garage — or, for that matter, idling unattended in your driveway, which could be in violation of local “puffer” laws and encourage car thieves.
5. For serious winter driving, get serious winter tires.
All-season tires are intended to competently handle a variety of middling road conditions. But “all-season” doesn’t mean “all-winter.” If you expect to be routinely facing extreme winter conditions, such as heavily snow-packed roads, you should talk to your tire store about tires that are specifically designed to offer superior traction in snow and ice. That means having to switch tires in the summer in order to extend the life of your winter grippers, but if you are facing months of serious snowfall and frosty nights, it could be worth it.
6. Easy does it.
In icy winter conditions, accelerating, braking, and maneuvering through traffic should all be done at a gentler pace, with frugal use of the gas pedal and the brake. Don’t gun it from a stoplight, unless you like spinning your wheels futilely. AAA recommends that “the normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds,” to give you more time and distance to brake if needed. Going slower takes longer, but it greatly increases your chance of actually getting somewhere.
7. Use your momentum.
It’s best to avoid flooring it to get up a hill or jamming on the brake going downhill; if you let the car’s own weight help to regulate your speed going up and slow you coming down, there’s less chance of a skid. It’s also important to turn off the cruise control in wet or snowy conditions, since it can cause surges of acceleration at inconvenient times and lead to hydroplaning or worse.
8. Avoid unnecessary trips.
If the weather alerts are screaming about an impending Colorado blizzard, ask yourself one question: Is this trip really necessary? Sometimes the safest option in extreme weather conditions is to put another log on the fire and wait for the plows to make things a bit more bearable.
The Keys to a Successful Car Accident Claim
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Colorado, there are probably plenty of questions running through your mind:
- How am I going to deal with the medical bills?
- Who’s responsible for repairing or replacing my vehicle?
- Will I have to go to court?
Fortunately, most car accident cases aren’t as complicated, or as full of surprising twists and turns, as your typical television courtroom drama. On average, only a small percentage of car accident cases actually end up in a courtroom; even if a lawsuit is filed, the opposing parties often reach a settlement on their own, sparing the expense and uncertainty of a trial. We recently published an article to explain the car accident court process in Colorado.
Every case is different, of course. But whether they end up in the court system or not, car accident cases that have successful outcomes tend to have certain key elements in common. Attorneys talk about the necessity of establishing liability, proof of damages, and, in some cases, obtaining solid expert testimony.
But what it comes down to is this: having the law, the evidence, and professional expertise on your side.
Here are some significant factors that can improve your chances of getting your car accident claim resolved in a fair and timely manner.
The Importance of Prompt Medical Care
It’s surprising how many Colorado residents decline to get checked out by paramedics or other medical personnel in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. They may think they’re “just shook up,” but certain injuries from a car collision, such as a head injury or whiplash, may not be apparent right away.
“We do see delayed symptoms,” says Bill Marlin, a Colorado car accident attorney with FDAzar. “Immediately after the event, some clients feel like they’re okay — and the next day they’re in pain or nauseous.”
Sometimes people who’ve been involved in a car accident decline an ambulance trip to the emergency room because they are worried about the expense involved. But even if you don’t take that ride, it makes sense to go see a doctor right away, preferably the same day as the car accident, in order to receive proper care.
Such a move is not only good for your health, but it helps down the line, in any possible car accident claim you might have. Insurance companies have been known to use a delay in care to try to justify reducing the value of your claim.
Calling the Police and Gathering Evidence
Your first priority should be medical care, but it’s also important to summon the police after an accident. The police will investigate the circumstances of the accident, and the evidence they gather can be important in determining who’s at fault in the car crash.
In Colorado, the police will file an accident report if the accident involves injury or death or the property damage exceeds $1000, and that record can also be important to your case.
In addition, you can do some evidence-gathering yourself in the wake of an accident. After checking everyone for injuries, you should exchange insurance information with the other driver, get contact information for any witnesses before they leave the scene, and, if possible, take photographs of the damage involved and the scene surrounding the accident.
Getting the Professionals Involved
If you believe you’ve been injured or suffered property damage through no fault of your own, then you’re probably going to be pursuing an accident claim against the responsible party and his or her insurance company.
And that may well mean consulting with a qualified Colorado personal injury attorney, one who specializes in car accident cases, to determine the best way to proceed.
A knowledgeable Colorado car accident lawyer can review the police reports and the insurance coverage involved and make a detailed assessment of the impact the accident has had on your daily life.
The car accident attorney should also have an array of resources to draw upon to resolve your case as effectively as possible, from ways to help with your medical bills to calling in credible experts, who can assist with everything from accident reconstruction to evaluating lost wages and rehabilitation costs.
In addition, a skilled car accident lawyer will know what procedures and deadlines you’re facing in filing a case — a particular concern if a government entity is involved, as in some bus accidents — as well as what actions to take to preserve evidence that might otherwise get lost. To navigate the complexities of your auto accident claim in Colorado, it’s crucial to seek the guidance of an experienced auto accident attorney in Colorado who can protect your rights and advocate for your best interests.
No one can guarantee that an accident victim is going to prevail in every instance. But having the law, the evidence, and qualified professionals on your side can greatly increase your chances of success.
Meet Chris and learn about his Car Crash & Workers’ Compensation Experience
The Car Accident Lawyers At FDAZAR
For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise in serious injury cases have allowed us to grow into the largest personal injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Aurora, Thornton, Fort Collins, Greeley, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a bus, car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call the car accident attorneys at FDAzar day or night at 800-716-9032, or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.
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