Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Colorado Thanksgiving Travel Tips

Story by Leila Roche, American Red Cross

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel days of the year. And this year,  Colorado is expecting a wintry mix of weather. So, whether you’re traveling by car, plane or train, we have a few tips to keep you and your loved ones safe on your way.

TRAVELING BY CAR | 91 percent of holiday travel is by personal vehicle

  • Winterize your vehicle. Climate change affects your car, too. Make sure it’s ready by ensuring your battery is in good condition, you have the right oil for cold temperatures and more. Read more: DMV
  • Keep your gas tank above half full. When temperatures are extremely cold, condensation can build up in a near-empty gas tank, potentially freezing fuel lines and leaving you stranded. 
  • Know the conditions. Check the weather and roads before leaving has  travel alerts; route information; interactive maps with road conditions, speeds and road work; and cameras of roads. NOAA has nationwide weather information Read more: COTrip and 
  • Take your time. Allow yourself additional time if traveling on Thanksgiving Day due to traffic and weather. 
  • Map your route. Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads, road work and existing accidents. Read more: COTrip 
  • Have an emergency kit handy. Carry an emergency kit that includes an ice scraper/snow brush; cat litter or traction sand; blankets, food and water; flares; first aid kit; extra warm clothing; snow shovel; and alternate traction devices or chains. Red Cross Emergency Preparedness kits are available in the Red Cross Store.
  • Obey the law: Code 15. When Code 15 of the chain law is in effect, all vehicles must have one of the following in order to proceed: 
    • Snow tires with a minimum of 1/8” of tread
    • All weather tires with mud and snow (M/S) mark with 1/8” of tread
    • Four-wheel drive with 1/8” of tread
    • Traction devices (chains, auto-sock, etc.) for two drive tires
    • If Code 15 of the chain law is put into effect, you could face fines as high as $650 if you don’t have the proper equipment. Read more: CDOT
  • Check your tread. Insert a quarter upside down into your tire tread (with George Washington’s head first). If the top of the head is covered by tread, you’re good to go. If the top of his head is visible at any point around the tire (test multiple points), you can’t drive when Code 15 of the chain law is in effect. You also likely need new tires. 
  • Stay informed. Call 511 for traveler information. Or text CDOT to 25827 or search CDOT mobile in your app store to download the app.
  • Move it. Colorado’s “Move It” law requires motorists involved in minor accidents to move your vehicle immediately out of traffic to a safe location: when the vehicle is driveable, when no drugs or alcohol are involved, and when there are no injuries.
  • Bow to the plow. Don’t tailgate snow plows. Avoid driving alongside them – the driver’s view is limited due to the vehicle’s height and length. And never pass them on the right unless you want a window shield full of ice, snow and rock.
  • Stay safe. If you get stuck in the snow or on the side of the road: 
    • Stay with the car. Do not try to walk to safety.
    • Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna for rescuers to see.
    •  Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour.
    •  Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won't back up in the car.
    •   Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running to help rescuers see the vehicle.
    •   Keep one window away from the blowing wind slightly open to let in air.
  • Keep your technology charged. A portable charger for your phone will let you phone for help.
  • Download the Emergency App. If roads are closed it will help you find the nearest Red Cross shelter. Visit 
PLANE, TRAIN, BUS | 9 percent of holiday travel is by commercial vehicle
  •  Keep it on the down low. Don’t post news that you’re out of town, particularly not on social networks that are open to the public. And lower the volume on your telephone ringer; no need to imply you’re away with the chiming of repeated rings.
  •  Protect your identity. Think about how much information a thief would get his hands on if your wallet or purse was stolen. Avoid carrying Social Security cards, birth certificates or passports unless absolutely necessary. 
  • Stay healthy. Flu season started in October. Carry hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes and use them to wash hands or wipe down surfaces and wash hands with soap and water often.
NOAA/NWS forecast for Thanksgiving Day Visit for updates

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