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Colorado's Traction Law

Posted by Jeremy Rosenthal | Feb 05, 2020 | 0 Comments

Winter in Colorado usually means snow, and while snow is beautiful and brings much-needed moisture to our state, it can also make for hazardous driving conditions. Here in the Rockies, we can have snow as early as September, and we also see winter storms into late May. 

Snow also attracts skiers from within the state and out of state to head to the high country to hit the slopes. While many of us who have lived in Colorado for some time may understand how to drive in snowy conditions, for many out-of-state tourists it may be their first experience driving in snow.

Regardless of whether you are a seasoned winter driver or you are visiting the Centennial state to get in some ski time, all drivers on the road should know and understand Colorado's traction law.

Code 15

Colorado's Code 15 was passed in mind to make drivers on the road more responsible for their actions when there is snow or ice. The law first states that between September 1 and May 31, all commercial drivers traveling on Colorado highways must carry snow chains in their vehicle in case the traction law is put into effect.

When a snowstorm hits, state officials will put Code 15 into effect. Code 15, or the traction law, means that all motorists on the road must at least have one of the following:

  • Four-wheel or all-wheel drive with a tire tread depth of 3/16th-inch
  • Tires that are designated mud and snow tires (an M/S icon will be on the sidewall) with a tire tread depth of 3/16th-inch
  • Snow tires (a mountain or snowflake icon on the sidewall) with a tire tread depth of 3/16th-inch
  • Tires rated all-weather by the manufacturer with a tire tread depth of 3/16th-inch
  • Snow chains or AutoSock®️

When the traction law is put into effect, motorists will be alerted via electronic traffic signage and highway traffic/condition alerts.

Violating the Traction Law

Not having the correct tires or chains is not only dangerous, but it could also cost you. Motorists caught violating the traction law can be fined over $130. That fine goes up to over $650 if your vehicle gets stuck and ends up blocking a lane of traffic.

Be Prepared

Interstate 70 between Denver and the ski areas can often turn into a parking lot during exceptionally bad storms, but all Colorado highways are susceptible to being shut down when blizzard or snowstorm hits. You might want to include keeping some of the following items in your vehicle during the winter months:

  • Collapsible shovel
  • Snow/ice scraper
  • Flashlight
  • Extra car battery and jumper cables
  • Cat litter
  • Extra blankets
  • Dry food and water bottles

Denver Accident Attorneys

Even the most seasoned winter driver can get into an accident during a snowstorm. But if you have been injured in an accident because the other driver wasn't prepared or was not obeying the traction law, you could have a case against them for negligent driving.

The team at can help. They will examine your case and advise how you can pursue getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries, your property damage, and pain and suffering you endured. Contact them today to learn more.

About the Author

Jeremy Rosenthal

Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal is dedicated to helping his clients seek just compensation for their injuries regardless of the lengths he has to go to or the distances he may have to travel in order to get it.


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