City of Colorado Springs / Police / News

Safe Winter Driving - Don't depend on Sand or Sunshine
Thursday, December 18, 2014

It’s that time of year…50 degrees one day and snow and ice the next. The Pikes Peak Region doesn’t have that many consecutive days when the roads are covered with snow and ice, which means drivers can get caught off guard when the roadways change from dry to slick in a matter of minutes. Often, drivers expect sunshine or sand trucks to keep them safe during winter driving conditions.

The Colorado Springs Police Department and their traffic safety partners, DRIVE SMART COLORADO, want to remind drivers that there are several ways to stay in control of your vehicle even on slippery roads.

While applying sand to slippery, snow-packed roadways can increase tire traction, it also poses a hazard once the streets have dried out causing tires to skid decreasing driver control. Please don’t depend on sand and sunshine to keep you safe behind the wheel. Maile Gray, DRIVE SMART COLORADO Executive Director, states, “There are many ways for drivers to take responsibility for their own safety and their family’s safety when driving in inclement weather.”

  • Always make sure that you and all of your passengers are buckled securely in safety belts or child safety seats.
  • Make sure your vehicle is equipped with all-weather or snow tires and that all four tires have good tread. Tires should be properly inflated and never mix radial tires with other tire types (tires of different size designations, constructions and stages of wear may affect vehicle handling and stability).
  • Please remember, four-wheel drive vehicles have no more traction on ice or snow than any other type of vehicle - do not get over-confident.
  • Give yourself extra stopping room between you and the vehicle in front of you (especially on wet, icy and snow-covered roads).
  • Start out slowly from a stop to increase traction and avoid spinning your tires.
  • Have an ice scraper handy and clear all vehicle windows of frost, snow and ice before heading out. Make sure front and rear windshield wipers are like new and fill washer reservoirs with approved washer fluid.
  • Turn on headlights to low beam to increase your visibility.
  • Keep your gas tank full to avoid gas line freeze up and a full gas tank adds weight to your vehicle for extra traction. Plus, you do not want to run out of gas in bad weather.
  • Give snowplows plenty of room and stay back at a safe distance (snow from the plow can literally blind a driver and the sand can chip or crack a windshield).

Kenny Quintana, Highway Maintenance Supervisor for the Colorado Department of Transportation, says, “If you don’t have to go out when it’s snowing, please consider staying home until the roadways have been cleared for safe travel.”