Early-season snowfall a culprit during accident-heavy morning in Routt County

State patrol reports at least six accidents before 1 p.m. on Wednesday

According to data provided by the Colorado State Patrol, there were at least six motor vehicle crashes in Routt County Wednesday morning between 7:50 a.m. and 12:30 p.m, though there were likely additional accidents that were handled by other agencies. 

Colorado State Patrol oversees U.S. Highway 40 and Colorado State Highway 131, which was closed briefly due to multiple vehicle crashes and hazardous conditions, according to a Routt County Alert. 

Elise Thatcher, a spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Transportation, said it’s common to see an influx of traffic accidents during the early snow season. 

“A big part of it is that we have a lot of new residents in Colorado, especially the mountain areas,” said Thatcher, who agreed that longtime residents also experience a readjustment period once the snow starts falling. 

“It is pretty common to have a bump in accidents at the beginning,” Thatcher said. “And so we try to make sure that decreases as people learn more about how to drive in the snow and they’re more snow savvy, if you will, for the remainder of this season.”

Thatcher says people’s top priority in winter conditions is to ensure their tires have at least 3/16 inches of tread. 

“You don’t want to have rubber bands on your wheels,” Thatcher said. 

She recommends drivers to plan ahead and give themselves extra time to reach their destination, saying that slowdowns due to adverse conditions are common. 

She also emphasizes the importance of leaving room to brake when needed. 

“Those of us who have been out in the snow know that, every now and then, you’ll have someone in front of you who suddenly misjudges how close they are to the previous car, or maybe they start sliding and they hit the brakes. And you want to make sure you have as much time as possible to stop before you rear-end them.”

Thatcher recommends people check their fluids and get a tune-up, as well as carry the proper items in case of an emergency.

“Make sure you have certain items like an ice scraper, flashlight, extra batteries, plenty of water, first aid kit, jumper cables,” Thatcher said. “I know this sounds like a long list, but truly these can make sure that you have a better experience out there.”

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