If you spend much time driving around Colorado during the winter, you’ve likely seen the term “traction law” floating around. It’s important to understand what this means in order to keep yourself and others safe on the roadways.

If there is a “traction law” active, “motorists will need to have either snow tires, tires with the mud/snow (M+S) designation, or a four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicle — all tires must have a minimum one-eighth inch tread,” according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

If a “passenger chain law” is active, “every vehicle on the roadway is required to have chains or an alternative traction device (like AutoSock).”

Fines for breaking this law can be hefty, at potentially more than $130 if a motorist is driving without adequate equipment and possibly more than $650 if a incident occurs that stops traffic involving a vehicle that has been driving with inadequate equipment.

Aside from hurting the bank account, driving with the wrong gear can be extremely dangerous to everyone on the road. All-season tires often require more than twice the stopping distance as snow tires.

Wrecks that occur in snowy weather can also cause major delays with a 10 minute crash clean-up estimated to delay traffic for an hour.

If you’re driving around Colorado in snowy weather, make sure you’ve got the right tires and vehicle for the job before taking to the road.

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