As snow fell near South Park in Park County early Thursday morning, several cars were involved in crashes on U.S. 285.
Colorado State Patrol public information officer Sgt. Blake White said CSP responded to “at least” five crashes in the area, from 6:52 a.m. to 1:24 p.m. That number doesn’t include single-vehicle crashes and minor incidents. He said the CSP had a “ton of motorist assists, too.”
The wrecks they responded to were all listed as having property damage; none were listed as having injuries, White said.
He said snow was “probably” a factor in the wrecks, but the main thing was drivers “not giving themselves enough time and space to slow down properly.”
White said he didn’t receive any notifications that U.S. 285 had to be closed due to any of the crashes.
The high number of incidents was typical for the first snow of the year. “We tend to see that in the first storm,” White said.
According to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, hazardous storms and inclement weather are a factor in half a million crashes and more than 2,000 road deaths every winter. Speed is the No. 1 factor driving winter crashes, AAA reported in a press release.
Dead batteries are the single most common call for emergency assistance to AAA Colorado.
A tire pressure warning light is also a good first warning sign that cold temperatures are coming. AAA recommends people fill up their tires on a cold morning, at least three hours after they last drove.
As far as visibility goes, AAA states that vehicles need new wiper blades if drivers notice streaking across the whole windshield, sections of streaking, wipers that skip across the glass or wipers that are excessively squeaky.
Proper tire tread can also help achieve traction. AAA said those who drive regularly “should absolutely consider swapping out all-season tires with snow tires, or all-seasons with a mud and snow designation.”
Four-wheel or all-wheel drive may also increase traction when people are trying to get moving, but it doesn’t provide any additional braking power, AAA said.