Park County’s weather can change very rapidly. From sunshine one minute to blowing snow with no visibility in just a few minutes. It is not unusual to get ground blizzards with winds up to 70+ mph. Sometimes we experience a high travel volume as the highway is a designated alternate route during closures of I70. Additionally watch for wildlife on the roads as we have a very large population of elk, deer, antelope and a growing moose population. Be prepared for our tricky and sometimes dangerous winter driving conditions. Always check COTrip.org before making the drive up.
Below are a few tips that will help you to be a safer driver during the winter: Please note that 4 wheel drive vehicles do not stop faster on ice or snow than 2 wheel drive vehicles. The heavier the vehicle the longer it takes to stop.
- Maintain traction: Make sure you have good tire tread; start and stop gradually to avoid losing traction; drive at steady speeds; accelerate slightly when approaching a hill, then maintain a steady speed going up; and gear down on downgrades.
- Skids: If your vehicle begins to skid, remove your foot from the accelerator or brake, steer in the direction of the skid and once steady, turn the wheel straight and proceed.
- Braking: Be gentle with braking pressure, know what type of brake system you have – gently pump disc brakes to avoid locking the wheels. Locking your wheels will send your vehicle into a skid (anti-lock brakes will provide this action for you), and avoid braking on a curve by driving through them at a safe, steady speed.
Additionally, take some advice from the experts:
- Always wear your seat belt (everyone in the vehicle should be buckled up).
- Slow down! Most crashes occur by driving too fast for the conditions.
- Use your low-beam headlights in bad weather, especially where snow is falling or blowing heavily.
- Don’t use cruise control.
- Leave extra space between you and the vehicle ahead of you.
Make sure you are prepared for the unexpected by putting together an emergency kit to keep in your vehicle in case you are stranded. If you find yourself stranded, stay in your vehicle, turn on your flashers, call for help and wait until help arrives. Your emergency kit should include the following: flares/reflectors to signal for help and warn other motorists, sturdy scraper/snow brush/snow shovel to clear snow, battery or crank-powered radio to listen to emergency broadcasts, flashlight with extra batteries or crank-powered flashlight, survival blanket or sleeping bag, chemical hand warmers, extra set of clothes, including coat, hat, mittens, boots, etc., water for each person and pet in your car, food items containing protein such as nuts and energy bars; canned fruit and a portable can opener, First Aid Kit and essential medications, tire chains and tow strap, non-clumping kitty litter/sand for traction, jumper cables, extra cloth or paper towels for cleanup if necessary, and the all important deck of cards or board game for entertainment.
In addition to the emergency kit, be sure to check your vehicle now and before any road trip to make sure it is in safe operating condition. Check the windshield wiper fluid, heater/defroster, wiper blades, antifreeze, lights, fuel system and a full tank of gas, ignition, exhaust system, tire tread, battery and brakes.
If you become stranded on Hwy 285 due to hazardous road conditions, ALWAYS stay with your vehicle and wait for help.