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How to Drive in Denver Winter Weather

Each year, Denver, Colorado, is blanketed in a winter wonderland. The snow is beautiful to look at for many, but winter weather shifts essential things like what your car needs for you to drive safely. In this article, we discuss things you can do to get your vehicle ready for winter weather, how you can drive safely in the snow in Denver, CO, what to do if your car gets stuck in the snow, and build out our perfect winter emergency roadside kit. 

What to Do to Prepare Your Car for Winter

Here are the top six things to do each year to prepare your car for winter. 

  1. Change Your Tires – If you live in Denver, Colorado, experts recommend you switch to snow tires for the winter season. Snow tires ensure a tread of at least 4/32, granting better traction in wintery road conditions. 
  2. Check Your Car Battery – Have your battery fully vetted by a professional checking the operating system, the cables, and fluids, before the cold settles in. 
  3. Heater & Filter Maintenance – Winter is the perfect opportunity to change the air filter in your car’s air system, removing the allergens from the warmer seasons. Enjoy a warm car on the first cold morning of the year when your car’s heating system is serviced ahead of time. 
  4. Review Oil & Antifreeze – A different viscosity oil may be best for your vehicle during the colder months. Ask your trusted mechanic or consult the owner’s manual for recommendations. 
  5. Swap Windshield Wipers – Changing your wipers to specific heavy snowfall wipers creates a safer, clearer view for driving during a snowstorm. 
  6. Exterior Auto Protection – Consider adding a layer of protection to your vehicles, such as wax, paint protection film, or ceramic coating. Schedule your free estimate with Capital Dent Masters and learn more about your exterior auto protection options in Denver, Colorado. Regular washes are one of the best ways to protect the exterior of your vehicle from winter contaminants like road salt. 

How to Drive in the Snow

The top tip for driving in the snow is only to go out if it is absolutely necessary. For many, driving in the snow is a regular part of the winter season, especially in Colorado. If you are driving in the snow, be sure you are a safe snow driver. Here are the four best things you can do when driving in the snow. Bonus tip, use 511 for Colorado road conditions to help you be better prepared as you journey along the roads. 

Prepare Your Car to Drive

Even if you regularly park your car in a garage, chances are you will walk out to it covered in snow at some point during winter. When the time comes, remember to include preparing your car for the drive when getting ready. 

Cold days free of snow may also require some preparation. Allowing the engine to warm is especially recommended with older cars. The engines in newer vehicles require less warm-up time and should run smoothly as long as you go slow while the engine warms. This preparation also gives your car time to warm up inside so you get into a toasty car to drive to your next destination. As always, buckle up!

Give Yourself Extra Time 

Snow creates slippery conditions for driving, making it extra dangerous for anyone driving in a rush. When we rush, we often operate with less awareness- a dangerous way to drive in the snow. 

What is the best way to avoid rushing? Give yourself extra time! Time to drive slower than usual, clean the snow off your car, and shovel your car out. You may arrive early with all of that extra time. 

Leave Extra Space 

Even with regular salting and scraping, the roads become pretty slick during the winter. If you are driving without snow tires, all the more reason to leave extra space between your car and any vehicle in front of you. Experts recommend you stay 8 to 10 seconds behind the car in front of you. This extra space allows you to brake or make moves to avoid an accident further down the road. 

Always Drive Manually 

The slickness of the roads creates a climate where cruise control is not a good idea. Manually pushing the gas gives you a feeling of the car’s connection to the road. In slick conditions, the element of feeling can make the difference between crashing on cruise control or making it there smooth sailing. 

What to Do if Stuck in the Snow

You can be a defensive driver and still find yourself in a snow bank during the course of winter. Black ice is hard to spot, and slick patches are typical when snow is on the road near Denver, CO. So, what do you do if you get your car stuck in the snow? Let’s explore expert recommendations. 

If you are stuck in the snow in a city like Denver, Colorado, you can walk to the nearest warm place. Otherwise, going for a walk is not recommended. Anytime you are stuck in the snow, calling for help is your top priority. 

If you are going to spend time in your vehicle, check the exhaust pipe. Ensuring the exhaust pipe is clear of snow and other debris from the slide is vital for the carbon monoxide to exit your vehicle. A clogged exhaust pipe could send carbon monoxide into the car’s interior, where you will be waiting.  

Dive into your winter roadside kit for essentials and make yourself comfortable waiting for help to arrive! 

Winter Roadside Emergency Kit Must Have’s

Having an emergency roadside kit in your car can make the difference in a situation being an inconvenience or an incredible stressor. If you do find yourself stuck in a snow bank in a remote place, having the right emergency kit can save your life or get you back on the road. You can assemble your own or buy one like this kit on Amazon. We have compiled the top items every Coloradan needs in their winter roadside emergency kit. 

  • Extra Winter Wear – Hats, scarves, gloves, socks, long johns, you name it! Ensure everyone in your car is covered in emergencies. 
  • Blanket – Blankets bring warmth and comfort while waiting. Consider a thermal blanket, like the compact ones backpackers carry, if you do not want to take up much trunk space. 
  • Food and Water – Being hungry is one of the quickest ways for a situation to go from a bummer to sour. Having snacks you enjoy, and extra bottles of water will hold you over until you can eat a nice, warm meal. 
  • Charging Battery – A portable charging battery with your phone cable can save the day and greatly assist your safety if wrecked in a snow bank. 
  • First Aid Kit – A first aid kit always comes in handy when you need it and are easy to buy. Consider including heat and ice packs, such as hand warmers, in your first aid kit to be prepared for any weather. 
  • Ice Scraper with Brush – It is always handy to have a good ice scraper and brush to remove the snow from your vehicle.
  • Battery Cables – Make sure you are ready to jumpstart your vehicle if needed. Plus, you never know when someone else may need a hand!
  • Portable Shovel – Foldable shovels fit well in small trunks and can help you dig out of the snow. 
  • Flashlight & Batteries – Keeping a flashlight, or a few smaller ones, with an extra set of batteries, can help keep everyone safe and comfortable if waiting in the dark. 
  • Roadside Safety Alerts – Safety alerts such as vests, hazard triangle signs, and flares increase your safety while waiting for help to arrive. 
  • Tools & Chains – For those who frequent remote locations outside of Denver, Colorado, consider including the tools required to make minor repairs yourself. Tools could include repairing tire chains, a towing rope, and a bag of rock salt.
  • Customize for Comfort – Have a favorite book or puzzle? Love the convenience of a good pocket knife? Consider including items in your winter roadside emergency kit that can comfort you in a time of stress. Waiting for help may be necessary, and your choice is to do so anxiously or graciously. What small items bring you joy? 

Capital Dent Masters, Local Denver Auto Body Shop

Driving in the winter presents a unique set of challenges; however, it can be done safely. Preparing yourself and your vehicle to drive in wintry conditions in Colorado is the best thing you can do. The best preparation also includes being ready for the off-chance the winter weather road conditions in Denver score a point. 

Find yourself needing repairs after a winter weather mishap? Reach out to Capital Dent Masters for your auto collision repair in Denver, Colorado. Our auto body experts will take care of your vehicle like it was our own. Let our auto insurance claim experts walk you through the process of your Denver auto body repairs. 

For exceptional customer service and auto repair quality, you can trust Denver, reach out to Capital Dent Masters today. 

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