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Western States Law, P.C. Nov. 25, 2020

The official winter season may start December 21st but Colorado has already received 16 inches of snow this fall, 10 inches being in November alone! So that leaves us wondering, what is the best way to prepare for driving in the inevitable snow that comes with the official winter weather months? Colorado Department of Transportation has provided a short checklist that every driver should follow when driving in winter weather. Regardless if you are a Colorado native, state transplant, or tourist, it is important to teach educate yourself on the basics of winter weather driving.

The Colorado Winter Must Have’s

Snowstorms here in Colorado can move in rapidly, sometimes only leaving folks with hours to prepare their homes and vehicles for its effects. Windshield wiper fluid is not only essential when driving in the snow but also on those messy days that follow a big storm. When purchasing your windshield wiper fluid, ensure that the liquid is 99% isopropyl alcohol to prevent it from freezing on those frigid days. Although the fluid is important, it cannot be effective without efficient wipers on your vehicle. Having old or damaged wipers on your vehicle may result in inadequate windshield cleaning and low visibility with ultimately dangerous consequences. While you continue to examine the outside of your vehicle, ensure all your vehicle’s lights are working properly, the tires have good traction (typically 3/16”), and the gas tank is full. Daylight during the winter months is notoriously low, most days only see about 10 hours of light, so ensuring your headlights have a low beam during night snowstorms can decrease the amplification of snow to increase your night visibility.

Other Winter Essentials

It is well-known by winter weather locals that when storms arise, they can often delay drivers traveling the city and state but it also dramatically affects response times for emergency vehicles. Although the must-haves are vital, there are a few other items to consider having in your vehicle in case you encounter an emergency and response times are slower than normal. Consider having bottled water, a first aid kit, a flashlight, and even a blanket or sleeping bag stored in your car. Especially for travelers heading to the mountains during the winter, the towns can be spread out along miles of the highway making it difficult to find or get help during an emergency. Having items to keep hydrated, warm, and healthy are crucial. Some other items that could be beneficial to keep in your vehicle, even year-round, are jumper cables, a battery-powered radio, and non-perishable snacks. These will help you and your loved ones either get out of the emergent situation or assist you until help arrives!

General Snow Driving Tips

Slow and steady is the name of the game when it comes to driving in the snow. Ensure to plan ahead on winter storm days and the days following so that you can take a little extra time to get to your destination. There is also a need for balance when to maintain speed and when to slow your speed in the snow and ice. When traveling uphill, ensure to keep a steady speed. This does not mean a fast speed; this means enough speed to keep momentum and not get stuck but also slow enough to not lose control. While heading downhill it is beneficial to stay lower gears, this will make it easier for your vehicle to decelerate while also keeping tire traction and avoid burning out your brakes. As in other seasons, it is always important to wear a seatbelt, be aware of your surroundings, including signage, and never drive impaired.

Weather-Related Accidents

Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming have some of the most beautiful weather in the country. Unfortunately, these states are also home to very unpredictable weather. Even well-experienced drivers are caught off guard by a sudden snowfall or thunderstorm. When this happens, severe automobile crashes can occur. It is exceedingly difficult for a negligent driver to simply blame the weather for a collision. Often, the cause is the at-fault driver’s inattention or simply driving too fast for the conditions. While such actions may not have been intentional, the at-fault driver should be responsible for his actions, and your losses.

Experienced Colorado Personal Injury Attorneys

Unfortunately, insurance adjusters and their attorneys will attempt to claim the Act of God, Sudden Emergency, or another weather-related legal defense. It is extremely important to speak to one of our top Aurora Colorado personal injury attorneys before speaking to the adjuster. Do not let an adjuster or attorney trick you into placing blame on the weather. After all, the weather did not make you crash, because you were driving at a reasonable speed based on all of the conditions.

For more information about our commitment to client service in serious car accident cases, contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in Aurora, Colorado at Western States Law, P.C., by calling or texting 303-400-8100. Home, evening, telephone, and weekend visits are available. We also represent individuals and families involved with commercial vehicles or semi-truck wrecks in Utah and Wyoming.