Chains required US 160 Wolf Creek Pass

SUN photo/Randi Pierce

SUN photo/Randi Pierce

An early season storm is causing traffic delays on Wolf Creek Pass. The chain law is in effect between milemarkers 157 and 176 requiring all commercial vehicles to chain up. For commercial vehicles not chaining up when the law is in effect there is a $500 fine, while commercial vehicles that do not chain up and subsequently block the highway receive a $1,000 fine.

The Colorado Department of Transportation website, cotrip.org, lists the following winter driving tips:

  • Always keep the top half of your gas tank full. It can give you better traction and gives you a bigger margin of error if you get stuck and have to keep the engine running periodically to keep warm.
  • If you are stuck in a serious storm do not leave your car. Run the engine periodically and wait for help.
  • Carry blankets, water, a flashlight, a shovel, some nutrition bars or even candy bars for sustenance.
  • Remember that 4-wheel drive does not mean 4-wheel stop. A four wheel drive vehicle will not stop any better on sheer ice than a 2 wheel drive vehicle.
  • Be sure of your route. Don’t go exploring in the back country without some local knowledge, especially during a storm or when one is bearing down anywhere near your location. The weather can change quickly and violently in the Rocky Mountains and not necessarily only in the heart of winter.
  • Be sure you have good tires. The Colorado State Patrol recommends at least 1/8 of an inch tread depth. All season radials on a front-wheel-drive passenger vehicle are adequate for most situations. Snow tires on most rear wheel drive vehicles are usually adequate. Chain restrictions in Colorado are most often put into effect for commercial vehicles (semi’s) and usually do not affect passenger vehicles.
  • In poor visibility or even white-out conditions, don’t drive faster than you can see ahead. High speeds in poor or no visibility can lead to large chain reaction accidents. Remember you can’t see around mountain curves and corners either.
This story was posted on September 29, 2014.