Driving Safe in the High Country this Season

Posted by: admin September 30th, 2016

winter-drivingWhether you’re visiting by plane or making the drive yourself, chances are when you visit Summit County you will be driving an automobile at some point during your trip. No matter how good you consider your driving abilities, winter driving in the Colorado mountains can make even the most accomplished of drivers white-knuckle with anxiety and fear. Make sure you enjoy your trip to the fullest. Don't let the warmer weather in the Front Range fool you - prepare before you make the drive up I70 this season!

Check Wiper Blades & Fluid

Wiper fluid is a precious commodity during the winter months, so make sure you have a full tank and some extra on hand just in case you run out mid-drive. Make sure not to use plain water because it will freeze. Additionally, make sure to replace your old wipe blades on a regular basis. Our dry climate tends to wear down blades faster than in milder conditions, so purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to help fight the daily ice build up on your windshield.

Check Heater/Defroster

Whether renting a car or traveling in the comfort of your own vehicle, you will want to make sure that your heater and defroster are working properly. There is nothing more frustrating than an iced over or fogged up windshield when trying to hit the road.

Check Your Battery

The frigid conditions of the Colorado high country can wreak havoc on your car’s battery, so make sure to check your battery before heading out. If you have any doubts, stop in at an auto parts store or repair shop and ask to use their load tester to check the charge of your battery. Make sure to replace the battery if the charge is weak.

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Check Your Tires

Worn tires will not provide your vehicle with adequate traction on the slick roads, so make sure to examine the tread level on all of your tires. You also want to check tire pressure to make sure they are inflated to manufacturer’s recommendations and make sure your jack is in good working condition.

Check Your Engine Oil

In cold temperatures, the oil in your engine thickens and ultimately places a greater strain on your engine. Make sure that your engine oil is appropriate for the cold weather and check that your oil is at the required oil level.

Pack an Emergency Kit

Even if you have followed all of the aforementioned advice, there can still be unforeseen circumstances that can cause you to get stranded in your automobile. So, you want to be ready for anything with an emergency kit stowed in your trunk. Suggested items to include in your kit include; extra gloves, boots and blankets; flares; a flashlight with extra batteries; a small shovel; kitty litter; cell phone with car charger; high energy snacks like almonds, trail mix or granola bars and a candle and lighter in the case your car is buried in an avalanche. Be ready for anything and everything.

Headlights are your Friend

Visibility is not only important for you, but for other drivers to see you as well. Avoid unnecessary collisions by keeping your headlights on during storms and with wet/sloppy conditions. It is also a good idea to clean your headlights often to make sure they are as visible as possible.

Drive Gently

Drive gently as quick and sudden movements will cause your vehicle to lose traction and could lead to an accident. Accelerate slowly, turn slowly and brake early and carefully. It is better to drive slowly and wish that you could be going faster rather than driving fast and wishing you could be going slower. It is better to safe than sorry.

While following all of this advice will not necessarily keep you 100% safe, this preparation will help keep you and your family safer when traveling our mountain roads this winter season.