(COLO) – With weather forecasts including 80 and 90-degree temperatures on the front range, it’s hard to imagine potential snowfall in Colorado’s high country. Yet, summer snow is not that unusual at higher elevations in our state. That’s why each year, from September 1 to May 31, Colorado Chain laws go into effect for all drivers. Colorado Chain Law is not just for large commercial vehicles.
“Whether a tractor-trailer or a four-door sedan, snow and ice conditions impact your drive,” stated Matthew C. Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “If carrying chains or checking your tire tread seems like a hassle, imagine the inconvenience of being unable to climb up a pass or come to stop on the other side, causing a crash.”
According to Colorado’s current chain law, all vehicles need to be prepared with adequate tires and equipment when traveling in Colorado during winter. Here is what you need to know based on your vehicle type:
Larger Vehicles, Including Recreational and Commercial Motor Vehicles
All motor vehicles with a GCWR/GVWR of 16,001 pounds or more are required to carry tire chains from September 1 through May 31 when traveling on any portion of I-70 between mile point 259 (Morrison) and mile point 133 (Dotsero). The vehicle must be equipped with enough chains or alternate traction devices (ATDs) to be able to comply with the Commercial Vehicle Chain Law if it is put into effect.
Smaller Vehicles, Including two-wheel and four-wheel drive
All two-wheel-drive motor vehicles with a GCWR/GVWR less than 16,001 pounds traveling on any portion of I-70 between mile point 259 (Morrison) and mile point 133 (Dotsero) from September 1 through May 31 must have:
- Tire chains for two or more drive tires; or
- An approved ATD for two or more drive tires; or
- Tires with a tread depth of at least 3/16-inch and which are rated for either “All-weather” or “Mud and Snow” (indicated by an “All Season”, M+S, M/S, etc. on the sidewall) by the manufacturer.
All four-wheel-drive motor vehicles with a GCWR/GVWR that is less than 16,001 pounds traveling on any portion of I-70 between mile point 259 (Morrison) and mile point 133 (Dotsero) from September 1st through May 31st must have tires with a tread depth of at least 3/16-inch and are adequate for winter driving conditions.
Chain law restrictions are announced through the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). At a minimum, they will notify the public on static and electronic variable message roadway signs. In addition, this information is regularly announced through 511 traveler information, the official CDOT travel website (www.cotrip.org), and media outlets.