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Tips for Safer Driving in Colorado's Mountains

If you're a native Coloradoan or have lived here for years, you may consider yourself skilled at driving in the mountains. However, if you're still new at navigating the state's mountainous areas or just aren't comfortable doing it, we've got some important tips to help make your travels safer. These are things that everyone -- no matter how comfortable they are driving in the mountains -- should remember.

Before you head out, make sure that your vehicle is in good shape. A check-up at your local repair shop or car dealer may be in order. You don't want your oil or other fluids to run out. Make sure your brakes and tires are in good condition. Be sure you have the proper tires and chains to comply with Colorado's chain and traction laws. Also, be sure to have emergency supplies in your vehicle, including plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration.

Plan your route. Have a map or directions handy just in case your GPS doesn't work in remote areas. Then check the weather and road conditions. You may want to change your schedule or choose a different route if snow or other weather is expected and you aren't comfortable driving in it.

When you're driving in the mountains, remember the following:

  • Yield to vehicles going uphill. They have the right-of-way.
  • Stay away from the center line on two-lane roads. You don't want to get dangerously close to the edge, of course. However, since some vehicles may need a little extra space, you don't want to be a "road hog."
  • Use lower gears. They help you better maintain your speed and place less strain on the brakes. Learn how to shift to lower gears in your vehicle before you head out if you don't already know or are in a rental vehicle.
  • Avoid "riding" your brakes. This can cause them to overheat. By staying in a lower gear, particularly on steep grades, you can avoid having to do this.

By following these safety precautions, you'll minimize your chances of being involved in an accident. Of course, you can't control what other drivers do. If you suffer injuries due to another driver's negligence or actions, find out what legal recourse you have to seek the compensation you need and deserve.

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