Driving for the Holidays? Plan for Frigid Storm in the Forecast

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(COLO) – As Coloradoans brace themselves for tumbling temperatures anticipated for tomorrow, many motorists may want to consider adjusting travel plans if they were heading out Wednesday evening or Thursday. For those committed to driving during this timeframe, the Colorado State Patrol wants to emphasize the importance of winterizing their vehicle, checking their route and bringing an emergency car kit!

“Frigid temperatures can be deadly and it is important for travelers to take every precaution possible in the event they become stranded along their route,” stated Col. Matthew C. Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Freezing temperatures can impact tire pressure, battery power, and even driving ranges for electric and electric-hybrid vehicles. Plan your route and prepare your vehicle before you go.” 

If you must travel during this timeframe, check your local weather and traffic reports before heading out (www.cotrip.org) and let others know your route and anticipated arrival time.

Before You Go

  1. Gas Up or Plug In
    1. Keep your gas tank close to full whenever possible.
    2. Decrease the drain on electric and hybrid-electric vehicles by keeping your vehicles as warm as possible during freezing temperatures. This means plugging the vehicle in at night to keep the battery temperature at optimal range.
  2. Inspect your tires. Colorado’s Traction Law requires all tires to have 3/16” of tread depth.
  3. When temperatures drop, so does tire pressure. Keep your tires inflated to your manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure.
  4. Refill all your vehicles’ fluids, including a “winter” windshield wiper fluid with a deicer.

What to Do if You Get Stranded

  • Stay with your vehicle
  • Let your car be seen. Put bright markers on the antenna or window. 
  • Be mindful of carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of any snow and run your car only sporadically — just long enough to stay warm. Don’t run your car for long periods of time with the windows up or in an enclosed space.

Finally, travelers should keep an Emergency Car Kit in their vehicles. These kits should be stocked with supplies you may need in an emergency, including:

  • A snow shovel, broom and ice scraper
  • Sand or kitty litter in the event you get stuck
  • Jumper cables, flashlight and warning devices (emergency markers)
  • Blankets or extra clothes for protection
  • A cell phone, extra battery/charger, water, food and necessary medicine.
  • First Aid Kit.

“Ensure your holidays are merry and with the people you love by taking the time to plan for an emergency we hope will never happen,” stated Col. Packard. “And if you are traveling with a child in a car seat, please remove any thick or fluffy coats. Dress them in thin layers, buckle them in snuggly and place the coat or blankets over top of them for warmth and a safe ride!”


Since our origin in 1935, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) has focused on preserving human life and protecting property within our communities. Our 1,100 members embody the core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect in their daily jobs.  In addition to our expertise in motor vehicle safety on the state’s roadways, the CSP is responsible for the Governor and other dignitaries’ protection, commercial motor vehicle enforcement, hazardous materials, homeland security, communications, investigative services, criminal interdiction, community education, aviation operations, and more.