What You Need to Know About Colorado's New Winter Traction Law

  • Dec 3,2019
Road icy please use slower speed sign over highway Road icy please use slower speed sign over highway

Are you planning on driving in Colorado this winter? Before you hit the road, you’ll need to know about some legislation that could derail your drive. Colorado has passed a new traction law mandating tire type, tread depth, and more under certain weather conditions, and drivers caught breaking the law are at risk for a hefty fine. To steer clear of traffic tickets, find out what this new law is all about and learn how to stay on the safe side of Colorado’s winter traction law!

What is the new Colorado Winter Traction Law?

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, all motorists traveling on the 126-mile stretch of Colorado highway between Dotsero and Morrison need to have either snow tires, tires with the M+S (mud and snow) designation, or four-wheel or all-wheel drive transmission. This law is in effect from September 1 to May 31 and was enacted due to this specific stretch of highway’s high volume of spin-outs and accidents during winter.

Additionally, as of August 2019, all motorists on Colorado State Highways are required to have tires with a minimum tread depth of three-sixteenths of an inch or have chains or other traction devices on-hand while driving.

Note that Colorado’s winter traction law is not the same thing as Colorado’s chain law, which takes effect during severe winter storms. The latter piece of legislation requires motorists to have alternate traction devices such as tire chains or AutoSock. It is the last safety precaution Colorado authorities take before shutting highways down entirely.

What happens if you break the Winter Traction Law?

With fines ranging from $130 to $650 or more, this law is one you don’t want to risk violating. While the Traction Law is active on the I-70 stretch from September until the end of May, you’ll want to stay in the know when it comes to other Colorado roadways. You’ll be able to find out if the Traction Law is active via signs on the highway, by visiting COtrip.org, or signing up for text or email alerts.

Everyone wants to avoid steep fines. At the end of the day, though, your top priority is safety—no matter how wintry the conditions. Meeting the standards of the new Colorado Traction Law and help ensure your vehicle can handle almost any ice, snow, or slush you encounter.

Are your tires ready for the Colorado Traction law?

If you’re not sure if your tires are up to snuff tread-wise, there’s an easy and quick way to find out. The Colorado Department of Transportation recommends the Quarter Test.

Grab a spare quarter and stick it into your tire’s tread upside down so that George Washington is going in head-first. If you can’t see the top of his head, your tread meets the three-sixteenths of an inch requirement set by the Traction Law. Repeat this test in multiple places on the tire to check for uneven wear. If you can see the top of Washington’s head at any point, it’s probably time to replace your tires.

Whether you need an expert opinion on the state of your tires or you’re ready to invest in a new set of Traction Law-compliant winter tires, we’ve got you covered at Tires Plus. Check out a set of Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 or DM-V2 tires, engineered with enhanced flex, grip, and bite to easily maneuver you through snow, sleet, and slush. Another option is the Firestone Weathergrip, created with Snow Traction Claw Technology that improves your traction in the snow and off-the-road.

Prepare for Colorado winters at Tires Plus

Don’t get stuck with hefty fines by driving on worn-out tires. With a quick visit to your local Tires Plus, you can ensure you’re equipped to meet the standards of the Colorado Traction Law. Stop by to have your tread depth measured for free and see all of our winter tire options.

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