You know how every year in Colorado the first few flakes of snow hit the ground and suddenly everyone forgets how to drive? I always find myself thinking something along the lines of “holy cow, this is Colorado, it snows here, you should be comfortable with this by now”. You may also be thinking something similar when the snow first falls, or you may be thinking something closer to “oh my lord, what is this white stuff, I don’t know what I’m doing, better drive either way too slow or way too fast” like so many others seem to be doing.

Well, according to Colorado State Patrol, this idea isn’t just in our heads. In fact, as reported by CBS Colorado, it can take several months before drivers once again understand how to drive in snow.

“The reality is it doesn’t need to happen. If you have the proper tire, tire equipment, tire tread, and just go slow, you can usually make it through just about anything.” Colorado State Patrol Trooper Josh Lewis to CBS Colorado

In case, like many, you’ve forgotten safe driving tactics for snow, here are a few tips:

1) Quite obviously, slow it down. Snow means slick roads and slick roads make for longer stopping periods and difficult control over vehicles. By slowing it down, you lower your risk of losing control while making it more likely that you’ll stop in time when needed.

2) Use appropriate tires and equipment in the snow. Colorado has traction laws, requiring certain tires for certain vehicles and chains in other situations which you can find here. Learn those laws and follow them. They exist for a very real reason.

3) Leave a lot more space between you and the driver in front of you. I don’t know if this is common everyone, but people in Colorado really seem to love riding the back of the car in front of them, and (as I already mentioned) snow means longer stopping periods for any vehicle. If I gotta hit my brakes for something or someone, and you’re only a few feet behind me, congrats! your insurance is goin’ up. Back it up a bit, for your sake, and for mine.

4) Put your phone down! Look, I get it, long drives can be boring. You’ve been on the road for a couple hours, all you’ve done is stare at the road or talk to your boring passengers, and you haven’t communicated with your friends in a while. It’s tempting to look at your phone while driving, it’s tempting to change the music or send some Snapchats, but it’s dangerous, ESPECIALLY when you already lack a certain degree of control because of the slick roads. Wait until you’re at your destination to pick up your phone or stop at a gas station and switch drivers.

There are a lot more things to know about driving in snow, things better explained by people who aren’t me. For a solid list of tips, check out this guide from Kelley Blue Book.

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