Colorado's traction law can be a bit confusing to some so here's what you need to know about the law in Colorado.

Why Does Colorado Need A Traction Law?

When it comes to traveling during the Colorado winter, the top priority needs to be safety, not only yours but everyone else's as well. A few years ago we experienced one of the worst traffic delays on the I-70 corridor, largely because of bad tires. Major delays were caused by 22 vehicles spinning out and causing crashes. A total of 19 vehicles were reported to have had worn tires.

When Is Colorado's Traction Law In Effect?

The Colorado Department of Transportation implements the Passenger Vehicle Traction Law during winter storms or when they determine it is necessary based on conditions. However, as of 2019, the Traction Law is always in effect on Interstate 70 from Dotsero to Morrison from September 1 until May 31. The traction and chain laws can be put into effect on any state highway.

What Are the Requirements When the Colorado Traction Law Is In Effect?

When the Colorado Traction Law is implemented it requires all motorists to have one of the following:

  1. 4WD or AWD vehicle and 3/16” tread depth
  2. Tires with a mud and snow designation (M+S icon) and 3/16” tread depth
  3. Winter tires (mountain-snowflake icon) and 3/16” tread depth
  4. Tires with an all-weather rating by the manufacturer and 3/16” tread depth
  5. Chains or an approved alternative traction device
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What Happen If Your Vehicle Doesn't Meet the Minimum Requirements?

It also can be quite costly if your vehicle doesn't meet the minimum standard requirements. Violators can be fined $130 for not driving with adequate equipment. If you are in an accident and your vehicle blocks even one lane of traffic because of inadequate equipment, the fine could be more than $650.

How Is The Colorado Traction Law Enforced?

The Traction and Chain Laws are known as secondary offenses, which means you can't be pulled over for having non-compliant tires. However, if you are in an accident and/or cause traffic delays, you will be ticketed and fined.

Understanding the Colorado Traction Law

The Colorado State Patrol has created a video demonstrating how to do the quarter test on your tires. It truly isn't complicated. President Washington may be telling you it's time for new tires - or he might give you the green light to make it through another Colorado winter. You can see the video at the bottom of this post.

Ultimate Colorado Winter Survival Guide


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