PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. --
With winter’s icy grasp around the corner, it’s important for Airmen, Guardians, DoD civilians and their families to know and understand proper winter driving safety.
“The weather here is unpredictable,” said Senior Airman Gavin Carpenter, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter. “It’s important to be prepared and always have a plan.”
The Colorado Department of Transportation conducted a report that showed from 2005 to 2019, 60% of crashes caused by weather in Colorado occurred when snow, sleet or hail were present.
While driving during the winter months, drivers should have an emergency kit in their vehicles in case they are stranded. The kit should include a flashlight, jumper cables, sand or kitty litter, a shovel, an ice scraper, warning devices such as flares, a blanket, food, water, needed medication, a phone and charger.
“It’s a good idea to have tire chains and/or tire socks in your vehicle if you intend to drive in locations with lots snow or ice, but more importantly reduce your driving speed from the posted speed limit,” said Wade Woods, Peterson-Schriever Garrison Safety occupational safety and health technician.
According to the CDOT Traction Law, all motorists are required to have one of the following during winter storms or when conditions require:
- A four or all-wheel drive vehicle and 3/16 inches of tire tread depth.
- Tires with a mud and snow designation and 3/16 inches tread depth.
- Winter tires and 3/16 inches tread depth.
- Tires with all-weather manufacture rating and 3/16 inches tread depth.
- Tire chains or an approved alternative traction device.
Failure to abide by these laws can lead to a citation of more than $650.
“Tires with proper tread will aid in bringing your vehicle to a stop and can prevent accidents caused by improper tire tread, but it is more important for drivers to be fully aware of their surroundings and give themselves plenty of space to stop,” said Woods.
Drivers should be aware of their stopping distances. According to CDOT, while traveling at speeds of 60 mph on snowy pavement with summer tires, the stopping distance is 800-plus feet, with all-season tires it’s 668 feet and with winter tires, the stopping distance is 310 feet.
“If you are inexperienced in driving while the road conditions may be hazardous, practice and sharpen your skills in a safe parking lot to help understand the hazards,” said Woods. “If you are unsure or have doubts of your driving ability inform your supervision that you may need a ride or assistance.”
During adverse weather, Airman, Guardians or DoD civilians who do not feel safe commuting should contact their chain of command for guidance.
For more information about winter driving safety contact the P-S GAR Safety office at 719-556-4392/7771.