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How to Stay Safe When Driving in the Colorado Rockies in Weather

Posted on February 21, 2022 in

Navigating the Colorado Rocky Mountains is tricky for tourists and residents alike. The Rockies reach an elevation of over 14,000 feet and see all kinds of weather, including snowstorms, ice and hail. The weather can change quickly at such a high altitude, even in the spring and summer months. As a driver in this region of Colorado, use these tips to stay safe and potentially avoid a car accident when driving through the Colorado Rockies.

What Should I Bring When Driving Through Mountain Passes or in Weather?

You should be prepared for anything when driving through mountain passes in the Colorado Rockies. The weather in the Rockies is known for changing quickly and being unpredictable. Even if you check the weather ahead of time, there is no guarantee that you won’t get stuck in bad conditions on your way home. Stock your vehicle with plenty of emergency equipment, both for your vehicle and for yourself. Use this checklist for a general idea of what to bring:

  • Roadside safety kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Battery charger
  • First-aid kit
  • Emergency reflectors
  • Flares
  • De-icer for windows
  • Ice scraper
  • Snow brush
  • Hand shovel
  • Flashlight 
  • Paper map
  • Snacks and water
  • Blankets

It is important to bring ample equipment even if you only plan on going through a brief afternoon drive through the mountains. If you run into bad weather, you may have no way of knowing how long you will be stuck waiting for help. You should also check your vehicle to make sure it is ready for the journey. You should have plenty of gas, your fluids should be topped off and your tires should be at the correct air pressure.

Should I Carry Chains in the Rockies During Summer Months?

Yes. In the Rocky Mountains, summer snowstorms are not uncommon. At such a high elevation, the Rockies are prone to bouts of bad weather, even in the summer months. Take snow chains along for the ride year-round to be safe. Only use tire chains on snow or ice, however – take them off if a snowplow has removed the snow on the mountain road so that you don’t damage your vehicle’s tires or the road. If you encounter snow on your journey through the Rockies, find a safe place to pull over and install the chains. 

Should I Bring Food, Blankets & Other Supplies in My Car When Traveling Through the Mountains?

Yes. It is always a good idea to stock your vehicle with emergency supplies when driving through the Colorado Rockies, especially if you are anticipating bad weather. You never know how long you may end up stuck in your car if disaster strikes. If you get stuck in a sudden blizzard or avalanche, for example, it may be hours before help arrives. It is not unheard of for people to be trapped in their cars overnight, in the most severe cases. Protect yourself and your passengers by being ready for anything. 

Bring food, water, blankets and any other supplies that you may expect to use in the event that you get trapped in your vehicle in the Rocky Mountains. It is smart to keep nonperishable food items and water in your trunk at all times if you pass through the Rockies frequently, such as on your daily commute to Denver. Beef jerky, granola bars, nuts, dried fruit and dry cereal are good options for nonperishable emergency foods. You may also want to invest in an emergency blanket to help you survive cold temperatures in your car.

Remain focused on the task at hand and avoid distracted driving behaviors. This will help keep you and the other occupants in your vehicle safer during a trip across the Rockies.

Involved in a Car Accident in the Rocky Mountains? Contact Us

The Colorado Rockies can be a dangerous and unpredictable place for drivers. If you get into an automobile accident while driving through the Rocky Mountains, contact a car accident lawyer at James L. Finegan, P.C. for assistance. We can provide you with tailored legal services to help you during this time. Let us take over a car accident claim for you. Call (303) 980-5511 for a free consultation.