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Interstate 70: A Winter Traffic Nightmare in Colorado

Colorado is home to some of the world’s best skiing mountains, and thousands flock to the state every year in order to hit the slopes. The increase in tourism each winter also means more workers are needed to accommodate ski resorts, restaurants, hotels, and other related industries.

Interstate 70 is a transcontinental highway that stretches from Cove Fort, Utah to Baltimore, Maryland, passing through Colorado as well. It also serves as a popular route to get to Colorado’s popular ski country, including areas in Aspen, Basalt, Vail, Winter Park, Keystone, and Breckenridge, from other nearby cities.

Whether you’re a regular traveler or commuter on I-70 or you are planning a visit to the slopes, it’s crucial to understand the unique dangers that lurk on this stretch of highway.

Why I-70 Is So Dangerous

I-70 is notorious for high congestion, particularly around ski season. It’s no surprise that many major highways see more collisions than less heavily-trafficked areas. In almost every situation, more vehicles on the road will mean more car collisions and resulting injuries.

This is especially true on this resort highway because there is a combination of other risk factors, including:

  • Steep grades
  • Slick and icy roads
  • Quickly changing weather conditions
  • Hindered visibility
  • Twisting turns
  • Out-of-state drivers
  • Potential avalanches

There have already been several crashes on I-70 just this year. A multiple-vehicle collision involving a semi-truck occurred on November 9 when the truck hit a guard rail near the Eisenhower Tunnels, causing another vehicle to subsequently crash.

Several days later, on November 14, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) closed both directions of the highway between Georgetown and Silverthorne because of multiple vehicle crashes and spinouts amid “white out’ snow conditions.

Tips for Traveling on I-70 During Winter Months

Winterize Your Vehicle Against the Cold and Snow - Klein Frank [infographic]If you’re headed to the mountains for a weekend ski trip or for your usual commute, plan for more traffic than usual. Additionally, when weather conditions warrant, the CDOT implements vehicle traction and chain laws, which requires truck drivers to have chains and motorists to have one of the following:

  • 4WD or AWD vehicle and 3/16” tread depth
  • Tires with a mud and snow designation (M+S icon) and 3/16” tread depth
  • Winter tires (mountain-snowflake icon) and 3/16” tread depth
  • Tires with an all-weather rating by the manufacturer and 3/16” tread depth
  • Chains or an AutoSock®

When driving on Colorado roads this winter, here are a few other precautions to always follow:

  • Reduce your speed
  • Leave extra space between your vehicle and the ones around you
  • Keep an extra blanket in your car
  • Keep plenty of windshield wiper fluid in your vehicle
  • Know how your brakes work
  • Have a backup plan (AAA, extra car fuel, etc.)

If you or a loved one is injured on I-70 this season, turn to Klein Frankto get 60+ years of dedicated legal experience in your corner. Contact our firm at (303) 448-8884 to get started with a free, personalized case reviewtoday.

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