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As Spring Arrives in Colorado, Roads Can Get More Dangerous

Winter driving conditions are hazardous across the entire country, but on Colorado mountain roads, winter often extends into spring, adding an extra element of risk. Not only is the weather icy, snowy and windy throughout much of the season, but there's also an influx of drivers and travelers in the area who are navigating their way through the mountains in order to reach their favorite ski resort for one final late-season weekend.

While some of these drivers are local and used to the treacherous conditions on the mountain roads, many of them are from out-of-state and are not exactly accustomed to operating a vehicle in winter conditions. The fact of the matter is, driving in the winter is dangerous, and more accidents happen during this powdery season.

According to an article in the Denver Post, the Colorado State Patrol noted that about 5,300 motor vehicle accidents occurred during winter weather conditions in 2011. The bottom line is, drivers have to take extra precautions when they are traveling on snow-covered roads and icy mountainsides. It's not a time for texting your friend about when you plan to arrive at the resort, or adjusting the GPS in order to select an alternative route.

These tips can help drivers make the best decisions as they head to the resorts for a last-minute, late-season ski trip:

  • Drive cautiously. The best thing to do is stay in your lane, particularly when you are on the mountains. Try not to stop suddenly, as this can startle other drivers around you, prevent you from being able to brake properly and potentially cause an accident.
  • Take a course on mountain driving. This may sound excessive, particularly if you are going to a Colorado ski resort for the weekend, but it's well worth it if it helps you arrive safely for your time on the slopes. Out-of-town travelers also might consider this option, especially if they are going to be coming back for more ski and snowboard trips in the future.
  • Learn the threshold braking technique. Most people who learn how to drive are taught to pump their brakes in snowy or icy conditions. While this may work well on standard paved roads throughout the country, the Colorado mountain roads are more difficult to navigate. Threshold braking is similar to techniques used by professional race car drivers, and allows drivers to brake quickly without skidding out of control.
  • Don't tailgate the person in front of you. In fact, it's better to leave extra distance than you would normally. In the event that you are not able to stop because you hit ice, you won't risk an accident with the person in front of you.
  • Invest in snow tires. Snow tires are designed to provide drivers with better traction on the road, and they will run better in the snow than traditional tires.
  • Avoid driving during snow storms and winter weather advisories. This can be disappointing, especially if you have been dreaming of getting back onto the slopes for one last time this season, but it's pivotal that drivers stay off the road in the event of inclement weather. This significantly reduces the risk of accidents and minimizes emergency incidents during the weather event.

Don't Drive Scared. Do Drive Carefully.

Of course, all of these tips make the snowy weather that creates wonderful ski trips sound intimidating. There are dangers and risks associated with taking the road, but if you use caution you are likely to arrive safely at the ski resort.

In the unfortunate event of an accident, it's important that you know your rights as a driver. If you are injured in an accident on the icy mountain roads in Colorado, you should know that personal injury laws can protect you. You may be eligible for compensation if the driver who caused the accident is determined to be at-fault and was negligent in their actions. Distracted driving, driving under the influence or driving recklessly all may be considered negligent in the courts.

If You Get Injured In A Car Accident, Hire A Local Attorney

A Denver personal injury attorney can provide you with the information you need about personal injury law and motor vehicle accidents in the state. Your attorney will counsel you and offer you assistance as you navigate through the legal system in order to get the compensation that you deserve. Note that compensation may cover not only your medical costs, but also any costs associated with lost income or minimized quality of life.

Have Fun, But Use Common Sense

Don't feel like you can't hit the slopes one last time this season just because the roads might be difficult to navigate. Instead, check the weather report, prepare yourself and drive with caution. This is the best way to approach your commute along the mountainside. If you do get into an accident with another vehicle, you can feel confident knowing that you have access to the legal guidance you need during a chaotic and stressful time.

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