Blizzard Conditions Call for Traction Laws
CDOT Enacts Traction Laws Along Front Range
for the First Time
|Yes, these are my "Blizzard" skis |
and a shot from me skiing at Copper last weekend.
Colorado's traction law was in effect 143 times at various locations on the state's mountain highways between Oct. 22 and Jan. 20 as part of a campaign to unclog traffic through the high country.
- Traction Law and Passenger Vehicle Chain Law Traction Law (Code 15) — Use George’s Head to Check Your Tread. If weather conditions require, CDOT will implement a Traction Law. Under a Traction Law, motorists will need to have either snow tires, tires with the mud/snow (M+S) designation, or a four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicle — all tires must have a minimum one-eighth inch tread.
- Passenger Vehicle Chain Law (Code 16) — Chain Up or Stay Off. During severe winter storms, CDOT will implement a Passenger Vehicle Chain Law — this is the final safety measure before the highway is closed. Under a Passenger Vehicle Chain Law, every vehicle on the roadway is required to have chains or an alternative traction device (like AutoSock).
- Fines: Motorists driving with inadequate equipment during a Traction Law or Passenger Vehicle Chain Law could be fined more than $130. If a motorist blocks the roadway because they have inadequate equipment during a Traction Law or Passenger Vehicle Chain Law, they could be fined more than $650.
- Test Your Tread: Find out if your tires are safe for winter driving by doing the Quarter Test:
- Insert a quarter upside down into your tire tread, with Washington’s head going in first.
- If the top of the head is covered by tread, you’re good to go.
- If the top of his head is visible at any point around the tire (test multiple points), you can’t drive when a Traction Law is called — you also likely need new tires.
- Traffic Facts:
- At 60 MPH on snowy pavement, winter tires require 310 ft. to stop. All-season tires require more than double that (668 ft.).
- In 2014, one of the worst traffic delays on the I-70 Mountain Corridor was caused by unprepared motorists. Severe delays were caused by 22 vehicles spinning out and causing crashes — 19 of those vehicles had worn tires.
- Traffic accidents — not volume — account for as much as 60 percent of all traffic delays.
- A crash that only takes 10 minutes to clear can delay traffic for an hour.
What if I meet the requirements for the Traction Law (Code 15), but mid-trip a Passenger Vehicle Chain Law (Code 16) is activated. If I have no chains, will I be ticketed? Will I be asked to wait until the chain law is lifted?Yes to both questions. During a Passenger Vehicle Chain Law, every passenger vehicle must be equipped with chains or an alternative traction device (like an AutoSock). If you are driving without the proper equipment, you could be fined more than $130. If you block the roadway because you don’t have the proper equipment, you could be fined more than $650. If you aren’t carrying chains or a traction device with you, you will be required to wait until the chain law is lifted.
Do the Traction Law (Code 15) and Passenger Vehicle Chain Law (Code 16) apply to only I-70 or to the entire state?Both laws apply to the entire state, but during the 2015/16 winter, you’ll likely only see if called along the I-70 Mountain Corridor and connecting highways. During the 2016/17 winter, you will see the law activated along all interstates and state highways.
Is there a “limp home” provision during either the Traction Law (Code 15) or Passenger Vehicle Chain Law (Code 16)? Example: if a law goes into effect while at work, can we drive home?There is no “limp home” provision under either law. If you do not have the proper equipment during either law, you can be fined and restricted from the roadway for not only your safety, but also the safety of those around you. The best thing to do is make sure you have safe tires for winter driving and carry chains or an alternative traction device (like an AutoSock) in your vehicle at all times.
(5) (a) No person shall drive or move a motor vehicle on any highway unless such vehicle is equipped with tires in safe operating condition in accordance with this subsection (5) and any supplemental rules and regulations promulgated by the executive director of the department.
(b) The executive director of the department shall promulgate such rules as the executive director deems necessary setting forth requirements of safe operating conditions for tires. These rules shall be utilized by law enforcement officers for visual inspection of tires and shall include methods for simple gauge measurement of tire tread depth.