Think you don’t need snow tires? You may face a hefty fine.
Colorado’s “Traction Law” – In an effort to reduce accidents during snow storms, CDOT says they will be strongly enforcing regulations that apply to all passenger cars. Before you head to the mountains to enjoy the snow, make sure your vehicle is winter driving road-worthy.
When the “Traction Law” (Code 15 of the chain law) is in effect, all passenger cars must have at least one of the following in order to continue:
- Snow tires with a minimum of 1/8” of tread; or
- All weather tires with mud and snow (M/S) mark with 1/8” of tread; or
- Four-wheel drive with 1/8” of tread; or
- Traction devices (chains, auto-sock, etc.) for two drive tires.
If you don’t have the proper tires or traction devices in use and end up blocking traffic, the fine could be over $600. Even just driving without meeting the requirements could result in a fine over $100, whether you cause a delay or not.
Use a quarter to quickly measure your tread depth
Insert a quarter into your tread and see if the top of George Washington’s head is covered by tread. If not, you don’t have enough tread depth to drive when the Code 15 Traction Law is in effect.
Accidents cause more delays than high volume
According to CDOT, 60% of traffic delays are due to accidents. An accident that takes only 10 minutes to clear up can delay traffic for an hour. On one day, 86% of the vehicles that caused accidents or delays had tires that were too worn.
Snow tires matter
It’s not just the tread pattern and depth – snow tires are made from a different rubber compound that is better at gripping in cold temperatures. Tire studs and siping (the little squiggly cuts you see in this photo) are also a great traction features for your winter tires. Many snow tires, like these Blizzaks, are factory-siped. Check with your tire professional before considering after-market siping.
We have found some great deals on snow tires from The Tire Rack. They have a Denver distribution center at 9690 East 40th Avenue.
By properly equipping your car with snow tires, you can travel more safely on the I-70 mountain corridor this snow season, and avoid getting fined.