PROMO 64J1 Weather - Snow Snowplow Driving Icy Slick Road Danger Ice - iStock - auerimages

CDOT crews deployed for winter blast of snow and arctic temperatures

© iStock - auerimages

The Colorado Department of Transportation is urging motorists statewide to plan and prepare for a week of snow and bitter cold weather. CDOT advises travelers to keep close watch of the weather and road conditions, avoid driving during the peak of the storm and be prepared for the severe cold should they be out.  

An extended winter storm will bring snowfall to Colorado tonight through Thursday morning. Expect periods of moderate to heavy snowfall in the mountains and snowfall will be light over the plains of eastern Colorado. The heaviest snowfall is expected to occur in the central and southwestern mountains ranging from one to four feet. Winds gusting 45 to 60 mph in the higher passes will produce blowing snow and poor visibility.

Lighter snow is expected along the Front Range, with heavier accumulations west of the I-25 corridor. While plows will be out in force, driving conditions will be slick and hazardous in many areas of the state. Expect snow covered and slick roads Monday night through Thursday morning.  Due to temperatures in the teens and single digits, snow and ice will stick around until the weather warms up toward the end of the week. 

CDOT crews will be fully deployed, working continuously through the storm. Crews will focus first on the interstates and other major state-maintained roadways with the highest traffic volumes. Once the storm subsides, crews will plow other state routes.  

Motorists often believe that CDOT maintains local and residential roads, including neighborhood streets. However, cities and counties are responsible for local and residential roads—not CDOT.

What motorists should know:

  • Avoid or limit driving during a snowstorm if possible.
  • Before heading out, know the latest weather and road conditions and plan accordingly.
  • If you are out, particularly in higher elevations and the mountains, be prepared for severe cold weather and have a winter emergency kit should there be road closures. Items include water, snacks, blankets, extra winter clothes, flashlights, battery cables, extra batteries, fully charged cell phone and other emergency supplies. 
  • Make sure you leave with a full tank of gas and your vehicle should be winter ready as well.
  • Have the appropriate tires for the weather with at least 3/16 inch of tread. 
  • Take it slow and leave plenty of space behind the vehicle ahead.
  • Leave plenty of space behind plows.
  • Most crashes are caused by driving too fast, following too closely and not having the appropriate tires for the weather. 

Bow to the plow:

  • It is illegal to pass a snowplow when it is operating in a tandem formation with one or more snowplows.  Tandem plowing staggers multiple plows to cover all lanes and clear the entire roadway in one sweep.  It is extremely dangerous for motorists to try and pass plows in this formation because you could encounter white-out conditions and ridges of snow between lanes.
  • In general, don’t pass plows because they are pushing snow, slush, rocks and other debris.  That debris could damage your car and temporarily obstruct your view.
  • Don’t crowd plows because they drop de-icer.  Make sure to stay back three to four car lengths.  If you are too close, the de-icer could hit your car.  Also, a plow might need to make a sudden stop, so make sure you have plenty of room to do the same!

Chain and Traction Laws 

When weather conditions warrant, CDOT will activate the Traction Law. If weather conditions deteriorate, CDOT will activate Chain Laws for passenger and commercial vehicles. Motorists will be alerted to an active Traction or Chain Law by highway signage, and traffic/roadway condition alerts. For more information on the Traction Law and Passenger Vehicle Chain Law requirements, visit For more information on the Commercial Vehicle Chain Law requirements, visit To learn more and view helpful tips for winter driving, visit

Know Before You Go

Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts and anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include: